New information sharing system for type clubs

Aviation type clubs will soon have a cost-free method for sharing service and maintenance information among their members.

In an attempt to increase safety in general aviation aircraft, the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University is making it possible for type clubs to create their own service information sharing systems to catch and correct service and maintenance issues before they begin to impact safety.

The goal of the Service Information Sharing System program is to increase the availability of service information to aircraft owners and mechanics by assisting type clubs in collecting a more complete history of service-related events; providing an opportunity for type club members to share service history experiences; and raising community awareness of issues early to minimize their impact on safety, according to officials.

NIAR has partnered with the American Bonanza Society (ABS) to develop the system for ABS members. The system will allow members to upload service information, including photos and related documents. Once uploaded, an ABS administrator will review the information before approving it for sharing among all registered ABS members. Members are then able to search the database based on model, flight hours and systems.

The secure system allows the ABS administration to monitor maintenance trends among its members and alert them to recurring or critical issues.

“The American Bonanza Society hopes its members will use this resource to collectively identify and address fleetwide maintenance trends before they become major airworthiness issues,” said Tom Turner, executive director of the ABS Air Safety Foundation. “Our hope is that by proactively tracking maintenance trends we’ll be able to avoid costly repairs and Airworthiness Directives that may be required if we wait for issues to manifest themselves in airplane down-time or accidents.”

Though the original pilot for this program is with ABS, the service information sharing system will soon be available free of charge to all aviation type clubs. It is designed to be compatible with most existing type club websites, from complex, established sites like Bonanza.org to the simplest “homemade” site, officials said. An example of a simple website can be found here. Type clubs without an existing website will still have the opportunity to participate in the service information sharing system, officials add.

Information uploaded to these service information sharing systems will be under the control of each individual type club. Under a grant from the FAA, NIAR will develop databases for the individual type clubs.

“This free and secure resource can help any aircraft type club better address emerging issues before they potentially become fleet-grounding problems,” said Turner.

This project is an extension of the Aging General Aviation Aircraft Education and Training website. This site, which is available to the general public, debuted last summer. It provides a single access point to type-specific information and recommended curriculum checklists for owners, pilots, mechanics, inspectors and technicians.

Type clubs interested in developing the service information sharing system should contact Tracee Friess at tracee.friess@wichita.edu or 316-978-5597.

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