In the run-up to the 2023 Predictive Aircraft Maintenance Conference in London in November, MRO Management asked David Miret Mora, technical director at AJW Group, who will be speaking at the conference, his thoughts on the landscape of predictive maintenance and why this event is important for the industry.
What is your assessment of the current state of predictive maintenance in MRO?
I think predictive maintenance technology holds immense promise for the future, but its current deployment has been marked by a lack of structure due to the absence of acceptance within airworthiness regulations.
When our current Aircraft Maintenance practice (MSG) was deployed back in July 1968, the FAA expressed frustration about maintenance practices to identify failure modes and ensure higher reliability and safety. This led to the creation of MSG-1 and the evolution of MSG-3. This dramatically improved maintenance planning, safety and economics.
However, to move forward, I think there is a need to undertake a pioneering and formal predictive maintenance research project, with collaboration between authorities, airlines and OAMs/OEMs, to support establishing a modern and coherent framework to redefine the basic maintenance programme approach.
The competitive commercial aviation market remains dynamic with new and innovative operational approaches. The rapid development of the low-cost carrier market to cater for affordable flying, at the same time as significant R&D for new engine types to reduce fuel burn and achieve a cleaner, quieter and more efficient operation, are prime examples of the commoditisation of air travel.
There has also been increased economic pressure for European airlines when the binding law for travellers’ protection via EU regulation 261 was issued in 2004 compensating travellers if a flight is delayed over three hours which can dramatically influence the profitability of an airline.
These changes in commercial aviation represent a departure from challenges seen in previous maintenance generations, necessitating an evolution of airline business models and strategies to ensure sustained or improved profitability.
How can predictive maintenance solutions lead to meaningful MRO actions?
There is no doubt that predictive maintenance is currently bringing meaningful action at airline level.
However, the next crucial step is to establish clear boundaries and consensus. For instance, a notable challenge arises when some OEMs reject warranty claims for components removed based on
Predictive maintenance should be embraced by all OEMs and treated with the same regard as any type of removal. This necessitates a revision of the Component Maintenance Manual (CMM)
to incorporate relevant algorithmic failures detected before a unit becomes fully unserviceable.
However, in practice, there are instances where the interests of OEMs and predictive maintenance providers are not aligned, particularly concerning costs and algorithm acceptance.
Furthermore, I have seen cases where predictive maintenance did not prevent catastrophic unit failures, resulting in situations classified as ‘Beyond Economical Repair’ (BER). How should
such events be addressed?
The landscape of predictive maintenance is still marked by many unknowns and unintended consequences. While these challenges will naturally evolve over time, a proactive approach to their resolution is vital.
How can the barriers that are holding back the industry in fully realising the potential of predictive maintenance be overcome?
I think it is essential to establish a task force comprising key stakeholders to implement appropriate frameworks. While there have been notable efforts, such as the G-34 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation Committee, which is responsible for creating and maintaining SAE Technical Reports on the implementation and certification aspects relate to artificial intelligent (AI) technologies inclusive of any on- or off-board system for the safe operation of aerospace systems and aerospace vehicles, and the release of EASA’s AI Road Map 2.0, these documents – in my opinion – do not seem to offer a clearly defined path for predictive maintenance within the aircraft maintenance context.
You’re speaking at PAM 2023; why is it important for you to take part in the event, and what topics are you looking forward to seeing most?
The event is an important one to bring industry together, and I would like to see how this conference can foster the creation of a robust framework.
I believe it’s imperative to involve a diverse array of aviation stakeholders at PAM 2023. For instance, companies like AJW, renowned for their expertise in the supply, exchange, maintenance, repair and leasing of commercial and business aircraft spare parts, will bring valuable insights. Additionally, engaging with trade organisations and various distributors and line stations will be essential.
My observation is that while predictive maintenance providers have developed remarkable tools, there might be aspects that haven’t received sufficient attention. It’s crucial to thoroughly examine the unintended consequences of predictive maintenance, whether commercial aspects such as economics or operational considerations from different key players within the industry.
The conference presents an opportunity to collaborate, share knowledge and work towards refining our approach to maintenance and drive positive change.
What does predictive aircraft maintenance look like to you in 10 years’ time?
I would like to see a new hybrid aircraft maintenance philosophy deployed (i.e. MSG-4) combining the current MSG-3 plus predictive maintenance technology. While MSG-3 has served the industry well, integrating predictive maintenance technology takes it a step further. This combination allows for a proactive approach to maintenance, where potential issues can be identified and addressed before they become critical, enhancing overall safety and reliability.
This feature was first published in MRO Management – August/September 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.
PREDICTIVE AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE CONFERENCE 2023
On November 27-28, MRO Management and its parent company Real Response Media will host the Predictive Aircraft Maintenance Conference 2023 at the Ham Yard Hotel in London, to explore the future of predictive maintenance, bringing together senior level executives from airlines, OEMs, MRO specialists and big data experts.
Attendees will discover how to get the best out of predictive maintenance while overcoming the greatest challenges. Case studies will highlight best practices and explore how companies are successfully collaborating with industry partners, while panel discussions will explore the major topics from the perspective of all stakeholders.
To learn more about the event and for more information on how to register, visit predictiveaircraftmaintenance.com