DARS: Revolutionising aircraft records with future focused tech

A significant, and well needed, effort in pushing the industry towards a digital revolution is a paperless data bank of an asset’s unbroken service history and maintenance life. Not only does such a project open the door for a far more reliable system of record keeping, but also provides an opportunity for levels of operational efficiency, profitability, and safety not yet seen across the sector. DARS, the Digital Aviation Records System, is a project that has the potential to do just that.

TrustFlight, in collaboration with Boeing, RaceRocks and The University of British Columbia is working to develop DARS. It uses blockchain technology to create a unique digital footprint for each asset that can be trackable through its entire lifecycle, from factory floor to decommissioning. The team came together in part because of Canada’s Digital Supercluster, a government sponsored program that promotes and incubates the development of digital innovations that help build a productive economy, keep Canadians healthy, and tackle climate change.

The DARS project seeks to overhaul an archaic practice in aircraft MRO. A component, airframe, or engine’s history is typically held on a maintenance and engineering (M&E) workflow system that is unique to the operation that owns it. Likewise, if an engine or component has to be sent out for work done by an external MRO, information pertaining to the asset will be recorded in a different M&E system. Now that relevant information is stored on separate systems, it’s incredibly time consuming, and sometimes not possible to attempt to piece together an asset's full and unadulterated MRO history. When it returns from maintenance or goes through a transfer of ownership, there is a semblance of records that the asset arrives with. However, this usually doesn’t provide a complete history but rather a minimum amount of information that is required for compliance purposes.

Furthermore, these records exist almost entirely on paper, so a person must be tasked with verifying their compliance and that maintenance and repairs have been completed properly before entering the data manually into another outdated M&E system. Now, imagine an asset with a service life spanning three decades is acquired, and the amount of MRO data along with it that will have to be verified and re-entered. Assets that have been in service that long have likely been through the hands of several different operators, meaning several different M&E systems hold the assets records, so it’s very rare that a new owner receives a full and complete MRO history.

The issues that DARS is looking to solve are also at the core of TrustFlight’s mission in creating a digital future for aviation, which uniquely positions the company to undertake such a task. TrustFlight is focused on providing the bulk of development on the main systems of the project, which include DARS itself as well as the Digital Engine Log (DEL) application. The technical expertise and extensive digital aviation developmental experience that TrustFlight brings to the table only add to the potential for industry-rocking innovations that the DARS team is hoping to bring about.

Read on to find out more about the DARS project, and what Boeing, RaceRocks, and UBC are doing with TrustFlight to help push aviation toward a digital future.

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