Wired Magazine has an interesting story in its current issue about the data streaming technology that Bombardier will introduce with the CSeries in 2013, and how it can provide much more than the data currently gleaned from “black boxes” (which I’ve never understood the name of because they are orange) in aircraft crashes. The technology exists today, and could provide the industry with a significant increase in information when compared with the data received from recovery of today’s flight data and cockpit data recorders, and of course provide that information instantaneously rather than after months of searching in the ocean, as with AF447.
While the Wired story focuses on safety, it glossed over the main economic benefit of real-time data streaming for an airline — lower maintenance costs. By monitoring the condition of components on board, and being able to anticipate problems through degrading performance parameters prior to a more costly failure. This could even allow parts to be dispatched while an aircraft is in flight and significantly reduce ground time for maintenance, and the lost revenues often associated with it.
Bombardier is projecting significantly lower maintenance costs for the CSeries when compared with existing aircraft, and this new technology is an integral element in that cost savings.
While Wired focuses on the safety issue, which is a great headline grabber after the AF447 search in the South Atlantic, it glossed over the latter, which is where the real cash flow benefits will occur for airlines. The CSeries promises a double digit reduction in overall maintenance costs, and the data streaming technology is one of the key elements in moving the MRO function squarely into the information age. The full article is here, which we think you will find interesting.