20 August 2013

Airbus will monitor all A350 XWB delivered to customers “around the clock”.

AiRTHM, Airbus’ Real-Time Health Monitoring which falls into Customer Services function. AiRTHM provides real-time troubleshooting, which monitors system health to anticipate failures and enables customer spares provisioning.

This system was available at the A380′s EIS and it is part of the A380 Flight-Hour-Services for customers. The solution is also on the A350XWB. The following chart lays out how this system works.

The A350 has more communications capabilities than the A380; this is necessary because the A350 XWB has over 400.000 parameters measured for aircraft in service. That is a 60% increase between generations over about 5 years.

Moreover, by using ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System), Airbus is now able to collect those parameters and analyze the system data from a remote location.

Thanks to this technological evolution, AiRTHM will be available to provide a new and innovative ‘real time health monitoring’ for A350 XWB aircraft. It is based on new processes developed by the Airbus AIRTAC-MIT (Maintenance Innovation Team) with the objective to improve the A350 customers’ Operational Reliability and maintenance scheduling, whilst reducing the associated costs

Boeing has similar capabilities with the 787; Boeing is monitoring them around the clock.

There are tens of thousands of things that can be measured and tracked on 787, and that's just what they're doing inside the company's 787 Operations Control Center in Everett, Wash.

Boeing has 2 giant maps showing the location of each 787 currently in flight. The maps also show the planes' speed and altitude.
Equipped with highly sophisticated onboard monitoring systems, the planes send back massive amounts of information while in the air. Computer software sifts through the data, and anomalies or potential problems pop up in yellow or red on giant computer screens.

"So a red item ... [means] there is a maintenance action that needs to go out and be cleared on the airplane before you have it depart," Boeing explains.

With real-time monitoring, Boeing and the airlines are more likely to have replacement parts on hand even before the plane lands.
Boeing says it can offer a level of customer support it couldn't deliver before. In an extreme case Boeing experts talked directly to pilots who had questions while in flight.

Monitoring an airplane while in flight is nothing new, but the sophistication here — and the amount of data being reviewed — is. United Airlines is pleased; "Boeing created the aircraft, they designed it [and] they know it from the inside out, so it helps to have both of us monitoring it at the same time," says United Airlines spokeswoman Christen David.

What's more, since Boeing can track data from every flight simultaneously in real time, the airplane maker can spot trends or problems across the entire fleet much sooner.

That is especially important when a new plane like the 787 or the A350 goes into service.

Based on the article “Airbus communications technology evolves” published in AirInsight, and based on the article “Dreamliner Returns, And Boeing Is Watching Its Every Move” published in npr.

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