Talking to aircraft operators, from large fleets to individuals, the new normal is extracting data from the aircraft and using it in a myriad of ways. Some use it for Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA), in the pursuit of improving cockpit decisions, some airlines are testing programs that use the aircraft data for real-world predictive maintenance and are seeing fabulous results.
The aircraft data source can be the FMS Bus, the GPS Bus or a FDAU, and a Quick Access Recorder (QAR) being fed by those sources through ARINC 429 or 717 connections, suggesting this is not a complex or expensive installation. L2 achieved a Part 23 Approved Model List (AML) STC for Avionica to provide the installation of Avionica’s miniQAR MkIII in 2018. The AML aircraft include over 20 different Part 23 turbine aircraft.
While this acceptance of collecting data to improve all aspects of flight is a milestone by itself, it is the recognition that the real value of this endeavor is the data itself, not the hardware required such as a miniQAR. Airlines, Part 91 and Part 135 operators and third-party service providers are beginning to see the “True Value” of data and are finding ways to monetize it. This realization changes the discussion from “What does it cost to buy and install it?” to “What can I do with all this data?” That transformation is often referred to as Crossing The Chasm.
"This project has taken us places that we never expected. The upside is, we have a much more capable product to offer our customers. We at Rockwell Collins appreciate the efforts of all involved. "