THE CLIENT PROBLEM
Our client, a large airline, met its OEM/FAA compliance obligation to maintain a current electrical load analysis (ELA) for every aircraft in it’s fleet by tracking every change to the electrical load using spreadsheets. A typical spreadsheet for a single aircraft held 100+ tabs each with hundreds of rows of data, project notes and OEM prescribed calculations.
Updates to an aircraft’s electrical load for changes made to an aircraft or a fleet – whether driven by Service Bulletins, Airworthiness Directives, Supplemental Type Certificates, and custom modifications (e.g. the addition of wifi, galley reconfigurations), some impacting an entire fleet, took days or weeks to be reflected the spreadsheets. When vendors were contracted to complete a modification, hard copy pdf documents were reviewed and the data transposed manually into spreadsheets. Using complicated spreadsheets as a baseline occasionally resulted in engineering design rework. Change history was tracked but identifying errors and their source was problematic. Regular reviews by senior electrical engineers, specially trained in each OEM’s Electrical Load Analysis methodology, were required.
The effort associated with managing spreadsheets represented a material cost to the business and the complexity of electrical load analysis required specialist skills and training. Other firms had been engaged to provide or develop a software application that managed ELA maintenance but failed, unable to deliver a solution that met the challenge of making ELA maintenance simple, intuitive, controlled, and transparent.
THE CLIENT BENEFIT
Realtime visibility of every aircraft in the fleet and a complete aircraft change history and confidence the airline is in compliance with regulators and the OEM.
Reduction in the time and effort to setup the ELA for an aircraft entering into service
Reduction in the cycle time for a ELA update. Documentation and meetings were made redundant by the application workflow. Accountability was delegated to Avionics and Interiors engineers, including vendors, who author projects, test the impact of different designs and receive design approval.
Reduction in Engineering time spent updating ELAs, releasing Electrical Engineers who previously updated project ELAs for days and weeks to do more value-added work.
THE SEATEC SOLUTION
SeaTec was given the challenge of developing an application that could:
- Ingest large volumes of data (millions of individual electrical load values) from multiple OEM aircraft baselines and unique customer modified formats for newly inducted to decades old aircraft;
- Codify the 1000’s of calculations unique to each OEM, fleet type and sub-fleet type, and individual configurations required to re produce OEM analysis and an accurate ELA;
- Provide intelligent validation and error checking to enable continuous real time analysis of modifications being affected;
- Be so easily usable that technicians and engineers not trained in OEM ELA could understand and use the application without reliance on wiring diagrams, spreadsheets and senior electrical engineer guidance;
- Incorporate design guidance that simplified the design process and reduced the time taken to design review and approve a modification.
A rigorous analysis of OEM and customer data, user experience, and customer processes was conducted. A plan encompassing development, data migration and validation, and change management was developed and executed which resulted, after a DER review, in the successful launch of the ELA Manager or ELAM, SeaTec’s first cloud based Software as a Service (SAAS) application.