Those of us that have been in the business of aviation for a while remember what it was like to maintain aircraft B.C. (before computers). Ah yes, the good old days, no cell phones, computers or golf carts. The tools of our trade were pencils, pens, typewriters, correction fluid, carbon paper by the ton, and a bicycle to get around the flight lines. They were the only things we needed to keep aircraft flight-worthy and aircraft records accurate. I know that some of you out there have probably never seen some of the items I just mentioned. No cell phones or computers, how did we survive? We did, it was not pretty or sophisticated, but we did what had to be done just the same.
In today’s world of rapidly changing technology, it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way to do the record keeping and make it web based. No more carbon paper and correction fluid. Now you just sit at your computer, select your internet browser, log on and let the games begin.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services has created the ultimate aircraft management system for these times. Called the HELOTRAC 2X™ Maintenance Management System, it is a completely web-based system that is accessible from any place you can access the internet. The following interview is with Ray Lemoine of Sikorsky’s Aerospace Services, Analytics & Technology Group.
HeliMx - Good morning Ray. I believe the best place to start is to tell our readers just what is the purpose of the HELOTRAC 2X system?
Ray - The HELOTRAC 2X system serves as an interactive maintenance management tool that records, manages and reports essential aircraft compliance information. HELOTRAC 2X reduces the maintenance department’s management labor hours by providing a faster, easier way to access up-to the minute airworthiness information on their aircraft. Compliance data on inspections, life limited parts, overhaul, servicing, lubrication, conditional maintenance, Alert Service Bulletins, Customer Service Notices and more are available via the HELOTRAC 2X™ system. The system is completely web-based which reduces the infrastructure and cost to the customer. Sikorsky maintains the information directly on our website, where our customers receive the latest information each time they log on.
HeliMx - What are its functions?
Ray - HELOTRAC 2X has many features to aid in the proper maintenance of the customer’s fleet:
• Airframe and Component Updates
• Daily Aircraft Status and Availability
• Discrepancy Management
• Scheduled & Unscheduled Maintenance Requirements
• Maintenance Due List
• Maintenance History
• Operations Packages
• Aircraft Enrollment
• Automatic Database Updates
• Onsite or Web Training
• Advanced Sikorsky Analyst Program (ASAP)
HeliMx - Which aircraft can currently use the system and which are planned for in the future?
Ray – Currently using the system are the Sikorsky S-434™ (light helicopter), Sikorsky S-76® and Sikorsky S-92® commercial helicopters, and the Sikorsky S-70i™(international Black Hawk), as well as the Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota and Beechcraft Super King Air family. Almost any aircraft, fixed or rotary wing, can be added to suit a customer’s needs.
HeliMx - Where is the system currently in use?
Ray - In over 20 countries, by a diverse customer base. Commercial VIP, utility, government agencies, medical, search and rescue, and military operations.
HeliMx - How much work is required by the operator to input the starting data into the system?
Ray – None. Sikorsky logs all the initial aircraft data into the HELOTRAC 2X system for the customer. That includes all the starting data, airframe and engine logbook data.
HeliMx – What are the benefits of the system for the maintenance professional?
Ray – There are benefits for both Sikorsky and non-Sikorsky produced aircraft. Let’s first look at the HELOTRAC 2X benefits for Sikorsky produced aircraft:
OEM Support: Unlike other maintenance management systems, our analysts are Sikorsky employees, not third-party support firms. Our analysts have years of experience with military and commercial aircraft and are predominantly A&P licensed professionals. The OEM analysts have access to the latest engineering and compliance information to better assist our customers in the daily management of their aircraft.
Sikorsky offers an optional Advanced Sikorsky Analyst Program (ASAP) where a technical analyst reviews the maintenance data that the customer enters into HELOTRAC 2X. We provide customers with a series of monthly or quarterly electronic reports. These reports are designed to maximize efficiency and improve aircraft availability. More importantly ASAP gives the Director of Maintenance a “birds-eye” view of past, present, and future maintenance activities. It is a direct link to OEM technical support.
Integration with Sikorsky Products: HELOTRAC 2X interfaces with many Sikorsky business systems including the Interactive Electronic Technical Manual (IETM).This unique interface allows the Director of Maintenance to predict scheduled maintenance activity and link directly to the approved Sikorsky Airworthiness or Aircraft Maintenance Manual procedure in the IETM. For those maintainers who prefer paperwork card procedures, Sikorsky has developed Electronic Work Card procedures (E-cards). Using E-cards an inspection/ maintenance activity is streamlined by viewing or printing all applicable information in a single or selected request. The E-card information includes a report header that provides the current publication number and revision, a signoff form that is pre-populated with the applicable part number and serial number, the scheduled maintenance requirements from the Airworthiness Manual, maintenance manual task procedure text, and related (referenced) information. The E-card enables a mechanic to work on an aircraft with all the applicable OEM–approved information combined in one package without carrying multiple manuals. E-cards reduce man-hours because they aggregate procedures from various chapters and manuals, reducing lookup and copying time.
Data Accuracy and Timeliness: The HELOTRAC 2X support team works closely with Sikorsky Global Helicopters and Sikorsky Technical Publications to provide accurate data from cradle to grave. The HELOTRAC 2X enrollment process includes logbook coordination with Sikorsky Quality Assurance to ensure we receive your records when your aircraft is delivered. Our audited HELOTRAC 2X enrollment includes logbook entry, research, aircraft configuration recording and applicable Inspection Package setup (Hourly, Equalized or Progressive). Additionally, the HELOTRAC 2X system includes rapid database updates. Typically, updates to Temporary Revisions, Service Bulletins and FAA Airworthiness Directives are accomplished within 24 hours. The customer is automatically notified via email when updates have been made to the database and is prompted to review and comply with Airworthiness Tasks.
Now let’s look at the HELOTRAC 2X benefits for all aircraft supported, including other OEM produced aircraft:
Web Accessible: The HELOTRAC 2 X system is completely web-based. There are no software installations or downloads required. The system is accessible from any internet-enabled computer at anytime. The customer merely logs in with his or her password to the secure system for the latest maintenance information.
Helicopter and Aviation Specialist: Again, unlike other maintenance management systems our analysts are Sikorsky employees, not third party support firms. Our analysts have years of experience with military and commercial aircraft and are predominantly A&P licensed professionals. The analysts have access to a vast library of maintenance and compliance information to assist our customers with the daily management of their aircraft. Our non-Sikorsky customers also have access to the optional ASAP program and its benefits.
Integration Ready: HELOTRAC 2X is more technologically advanced than other maintenance management systems. The powerful yet flexible architecture allows integration from HELOTRAC 2X to the customer’s aircraft and business applications. Interfaces to aircraft Heath and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS), inventory, and flight dispatching programs are all available.
HeliMx - How does the system improve aircraft readiness tracking and availability?
Ray - The system provides the maintenance professional with single aircraft or fleet wide visibility into aircraft readiness, maintenance inspections, part replacements coming due and the top maintenance removals. The system improves readiness by alerting the customer of pending maintenance. This allows the operator to preposition parts (inventory), and manpower. Most importantly the system ensures an aircraft is airworthy, preventing overdue maintenance and improving safety.
HeliMx – How does the system help the operator manage working on discrepancies?
Ray – The Discrepancy Management feature allows the user to enter aircraft discrepancies into the system. The system records the type, discrepancy number, status (open, deferred, closed), the description of the discrepancy, aircraft type, serial number, person reporting the problem, activity when the discrepancy was found, and the hours, landing, and date of the occurrence.
HeliMx – Does the system help the operator in keeping up with maintenance compliance?
Ray – Compliance record keeping is very important to efficient aviation management. The HELOTRAC 2X system has a multitude of reports that can show everything from compliance to a specific airworthiness requirement all the way up to the entire aircraft’s current maintenance status and configuration. Moreover, advanced search capabilities provide the user with fleet-wide or aircraft-specific compliance status of Airworthiness Directives, Alert Service Bulletins, Customer Service Notices, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) directives, Service Letters and more. Status is reported as complied with, deferred, not applicable, open, rescinded and others.
HeliMx – Does the system keep track and inform the maintenance professional of required upcoming maintenance tasks?
Ray – Yes, the HELOTRAC 2X Maintenance Due List program features a ‘Dynamic Due List’ generator. The program allows the user to generate a due list using their projection values for Hours, Landings, Engine Cycles, APU time, Date and other values. The user may project by an interval from current values or to future total values. During the generation process, the user will see a Maintenance Due List for one aircraft or their fleet that shows the last compliance, next due and time remaining values. Additionally, the program can calculate the total cost and labor hours required to complete the projected maintenance coming due. This is a great aid to the financial forecasting process for small and large fleet operators.
HeliMx – Does the system provide an output of maintenance history on the aircraft it is tracking?
Ray – Absolutely. An aircraft is airworthy, preventing overdue maintenance and improving safety the maintenance portion of the program allows the user to find and view historical component installation and removal information, and compliance history records, on one easy-to-use screen. Records may be searched on Task Code, Part Number or Part Number/Serial Number combinations. In essence, HELOTRAC 2X tracks all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance actions from the day of delivery until retirement.
HeliMx - Is the system linked to any outside data sources?
Ray - The HELOTRAC 2X system also allows the user to check Sikorsky Aerospace Services’ inventory. By clicking the Part Inventory Check button, the user is provided with a screen that shows the Part Number, Alternate Part Number, Description, Condition and quantity on hand.
HeliMx - Can the system generate reports and if so, in what form?
Ray - The HELOTRAC 2 X system provides more than 250 different reports. These include reports on Flight Hours, Aircraft Configuration, Compliance Status, Daily Aircraft Status, Discrepancies, Fleet Availability, Historical Reports, Logbook inserts, Maintenance Due, Maintenance Planning, Open or Closed Technical Bulletins and many more. Reports can be in PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel and other formats.
HeliMx - Does the system integrate with any other systems, i.e. HUMS as an example?
Ray - HELOTRAC 2X is integration ready, and its powerful yet flexible architecture allows integration to your aircraft and business applications. Interfaces to aircraft Heath and Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS), Inventory, and Flight Dispatching programs are all available.
For example, Sikorsky can collect aircraft flight information directly from HUMS and automatically update the HELOTRAC 2X system. This interface reduces manual entry of data (reducing man-hours) and improves the quality of the data (preventing human errors). HUMS provides a more accurate record of flight times than human entry, which often rounds up numbers. Over the life of an aircraft that rounding can add up to hundreds of hours.
HeliMx - Is there a minimum number of aircraft required to make the system cost effective?
Ray - There is no minimum number of aircraft required to be enrolled in the system. HELOTRAC 2X is priced on a per aircraft basis making it cost effective for both single aircraft and large fleet operators.
HeliMx - Are there system options?
Ray - The HELOTRAC 2X Maintenance Management System has three standard options and multiple custom options:
Standard Options are:
1. HELOTRAC 2X Maintenance Management System software license. This service provides the operators web access to the software application and data revision services (automatic updates to Airworthiness Information).
2. HELOTRAC 2X system with quarterly Advanced Sikorsky Analyst Program (ASAP). The ASAP program utilizes a technical analyst to review the maintenance data that the customer enters into HELOTRAC 2X and provides the customer with a series of monthly electronic reports. These reports help maximize efficiency, readiness, and aircraft availability. This oversight provides the customer and Sikorsky with real-time parts removal and maintenance information, thereby allowing proactive customer support.
The ASAP service includes:
• Sikorsky examination and analysis of the changes the customer has made by running specific date-range searches. The analyst reviews each record for part number, serial number, and aircraft complied-with hours, landings, and date.
• Analysts review records for relationships, i.e. if a customer replaced the Sonic Locator, did he update the Sonic Locator Battery task in HELOTRAC 2X?
• Analysts provide customers (at their request) with predetermined electronic monthly reports, such as a Transaction Log, Due List, and Compliance Reports.
3. HELOTRAC 2X system with Monthly Advanced Sikorsky Analyst Program (ASAP) reports. This option provides all the service of the quarterly service but on a monthly basis.
Sikorsky will soon be offering Inventory, Maintenance Work Order and Ground Support Asset Tracking (GSATS) modules.
In addition to the standard options, Sikorsky offers multiple custom options. For example, Sikorsky has a Fleet Management Dashboard option which provides a single interface for displaying HELOTRAC 2X data for the flight department manager to monitor fleet-wide metrics for aircraft readiness, maintenance coming due and top maintenance removals.
Features of the Fleet Dashboard include:
1. Availability Tab. Color coded fleet view that displays aircraft availability, Operational, Fully Mission Capable, Partial Mission Capable or Non Mission Capable.
2. Aircraft Status: The Aircraft Status Report provides a list view of Aircraft Hours, Next Due Inspections and Reasons.
3. Trending Status: Graphically shows the cumulative Flight Hours over the past 12 months.
4. Reporting Tab: Graphically displays the top 10 removals by Part Number over entire program. Good for projecting parts consumption and allows prepositioning of high use items.
Sikorsky’s HELOTRAC 2X Maintenance Management System is truly a tool whose time has long been overdue. For those of us in the business of maintaining helicopters daily, be it 1 or 100, we all know that the part of the job we dislike the most is the paperwork that goes along with it. But, we also know that the job is not complete without that paperwork. Here is a system that takes the headache out of the paperwork part of doing maintenance. Web-based, computer driven and accessible from just about anywhere. An interactive maintenance management tool that records, manages and reports essential aircraft compliance information. If you are looking for a tool that reduces your maintenance department’s management labor hours by providing a faster, easier way to access up-to the minute airworthiness information on your aircraft, maybe HELOTRAC 2X™ is worth a look.
Raymond A. Lemoine is the Manager of Maintenance Management Technologies at Sikorsky Aerospace Services. In this role Ray is responsible for the development of software applications used on Sikorsky Aircraft’s Web Portal - www.sikorsky360.com
Ray has 25 years of experience in the Aviation industry and is the founding designer of the HELOTRAC® Maintenance Management System.
Ray is pursuing an MBA and holds a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Connecticut.