Have you ever wondered what happens to aircraft when they become obsolete, are unable to fly, need too much repair or are no longer needed due to arms agreements? Many of the planes are either flown to or shipped to what is commonly called a Boneyard. These aircraft boneyards are not junk stations as the aircraft serve multiple purposes and require efficient work management tools.
When aircraft are no longer in service many are placed in desert climates for storage. The primary reasons for desert storage is that the size of the aircraft makes hanger storage impractical and the lack of moisture reduce the rate of corrosion.
Once the aircraft have arrived, planes are normally stripped of salvageable parts that might be used for the repair of in-service aircraft. Engines, electronics and munitions are then warehoused while the skeletal remains of the aircraft are parked in the sun.
Desert storage also has a more practical application. Sometimes entire squadrons of military planes are stored in the desert due to a lack of need. These planes can then be reconditioned and made airworthy again. The reconditioning process is maintenance intensive but it is cheaper than purchasing new aircraft.
Using an EAM to Manage Aircraft Boneyard Assets
Looking at the sheer size of the aircraft boneyard it is clear that there should be an asset management system in place that uses mobile handheld devices to track as well as schedule work management on assets from arrival through deconstruction or refurbishment. An EAM system can help aviation asset managers by making sure they know where all their assets are, the condition they are in and their complete maintenance history.
EAM software works by collecting asset detail as aircraft arrive. At a minimum this includes a detailed description, location in the boneyard, reason for arrival (parts, scrap, moth balled) and serial numbers of parts. If the aircraft is to be disassembled, the EAM will schedule the work to be done.
The role of an EAM system continues as parts are warehoused or planes are reconditioned. EAM functionality gives asset and maintenance managers the tools they need to schedule all work management such as inspections, preventive maintenance, corrosion repairs, painting, testing etc.
EAM Work Management Tracking
Efficient and organized scheduling of work management is only part of benefits of implementing an EAM system. The value of an EAM system to asset managers increases as work management is recorded. When proper detail is included on completed work orders, boneyard managers can run reports to ensure that:
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being followed. Work management history can also be used to create SOPs.
- They know the condition, location, maintenance history and work needed for all assets.
- Make better capital repair decisions by determining if the condition of assets are repairable.
- Maintenance operations work is done efficiently with increased mobility using mobile handheld devices. Handheld devices sharply reduces paper flow increasing efficiency as well as lowering administrative costs.
- All assets can be inspected quickly as well as efficiently should climatic conditions change suddenly.