28 | WHITE PAPER: AEROSOFT SYSTEMS | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | SUMMER 2011
part of the iSPEC2200 Standard and, consequently,
masses of .PDF started being given out free (it was
cheaper for an OEM to burn DVD with PDFs than
print and ship).
When ATA SPEC2100 (the predecessor of
iSPEC2200) started taking shape, OEM systems were
migrated to SGML authoring, CGM graphics and,
in many cases, were still managed within RDBMS.
With the introduction of XML in 1997, and the
subsequent maturity of object oriented databases,
the industry embarked on a migration to XML
DB, XML editing and XML schema, rather than
document type deﬁnition (DTD). However, their
published digital data services remained based on
iSPEC2200 SGML DTD’s. A晴er several years, in
2004, the ATA ﬁnally embraced the Association
Europeene des Constructeurs de Materiel Aerospatial
(AECMA) standard S1000D based on the Common
Source Data Base (CSDB).
I cringe when I hear prominent marketing
people in the CMS domain making statements like
“S1000D is the collection of the iSPEC2200 DTD’s”.
In reality S1000D is a lot more than just XML and
Schema based deﬁnitions. It is based on Product
Management Data Base (PMDB) and product-
build conﬁguration at the OEM — which in the
S1000D parlance has become the Common Source
Data Base (CSDB). It is important to recognize that
S1000D is also an evolving interchange standard
(just like iSPEC2200) and is not necessarily the
optimal internal database schema for an airline’s or
MRO’s internal reuse of digital documents. In fact
it is mathematically / algorithmically impossible to
convert iSPEC2200 to S1000D — without direct
manual subject matter expert (SME) intervention.
Also, one needs to appreciate that while the database
characteristics of S1000D are very valuable, the
mechanics for the next 20 plus years will expect to
see page blocks of AMM, IPC, Task Cards and, so
on, to perform their work. 周is means extensive XSL
transformations (XSLT- the transformation language
of XML to other formats) will be required to create
viewable and usable information.
And last, but not least, there are no commercial
aircra晴 ﬂying in service in 2011 with technical
content developed based on S1000D. 周e ﬁrst few
will be the B787s, A350s and the C-Series. 周e
major OEM’s have categorically stated that they will
continue with their aircra晴 in service according to
the standards which were in place when they were
launched — aka iSPEC2200 — for the lifetime
of those aircra晴. Consequently, a CMS has to be
capable of accepting/importing content which will
be iSPEC2200, .PDF, S1000D, images, and other
de-facto enterprise content (MS-Oﬃce documents)
and dealing with each according to the structure
and intelligence it aﬀords. Again, this can hardly
be the add-on capability the MRO system BoBs are
As with early ERP implementations, where tens of
millions of dollars were spent and, in some cases,
vendors and implementers were sued and lost, the
experience was also grim in the early major CMS
system implementations during the nineties resulting
in very large, experimental, ‘built at the customer
environment’, one-oﬀ solutions. Just ask airlines
like United or Delta, or OEM’s like Boeing, Pratt &
Whitney and Bombardier, to share their early SGML
systems implementations experience.
STAgE EnTER: XML
What changed the landscape was the introduction in
2004/05 of XML, XML DB, XSLT, XPATH, Xquery,
Java products, Web Services 2.0. 周is has allowed
previously custom built solutions to be reproduced at
levels of reliable implementation but at much lower
price points. Yet the painful issue of integration with
MRO IT was still not fully addressed as illustrated
in recent years where a major Paciﬁc Rim carrier
invested over $100 million in customization for such
an integrated solution.
周e MRO systems had created, as much as possible,
within their data and processes, the ability to take
Compliance while managing Job Cards, Maintenance
Programs and Work Packages. However, when
mature CMS came along and provided the vehicle
for dealing with continuously updated OEM input
with each revision and process it quickly and
correctly, the MRO systems had to re-assess their
boundaries and where the Change Authority should
belong for such core data.
For example, an IPC is a great source of data load
to a parts master. An MPD management tool with
controls and audit trails and revision to revision
change impact analysis is another great feature that
can reduce engineering workload and elapsed time
to compliance in recreating the airlines approved
But here is an anachronism. Today, in the pure
How long did that take? capturing man-hours
Measuring electrical load
Using and keeping information with CMS
How long did that take? capturing man-hours
Piecing the IT
• EA: the beating heart of the business
• MRO IT Project Management: keeping the plan
ISSUE 2 • SUMMER 2011
White Papers: ICF • AeroSoft • EnvelopeAPN
Case Studies: Lufthansa Technik Philippines • Marshall Aerospace
Air cr af t I I T MRO V1.2 June-July 2011. indd 1
IT Vendors: want to get
your message out?
Want to publish your latest news and technology
updates where they’ll be seen?
Looking for the best place to showcase your
Why not join AircraftIT MRO?
• Host Live Software Demo Webinars or receive Private Demos
• Educate the aviation IT world about your products
Click here to ﬁnd out how to join AircraftIT
SUMMER 2011 | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | WHITE PAPER: AEROSOFT SYSTEMS | 29
MRO business there is essential dependence on component maintenance manual(CMM)
illustrated parts lists (IPLs) produced by the 15,000 plus component suppliers. Only a handful
of these have migrated to standards-based digital data oﬀerings and most of them still supply
.PDF or MS Word documents. So a CMS system must indeed accommodate these signiﬁcant
data types. Another anachronism exists in the world of Business Aircra晴 which is somewhat
stuck back in the 1990’s and bound to the proprietary viewer based CD-ROMs as a source of
digital content data.
fACTORS COnTRIbUTIng TO CMS gAInIng fROnT ROw And
CEnTER In MRO IT
Why is it that in 2011, there is such a lively interest, from global participants in airline
operations and MRO, in CMS with it no longer being considered an a晴erthought to MRO IT
a. 周e growth in the airline industry is being driven by far eastern and developing economies,
which have not been caught up with the European/North American ﬁnancial crisis.
Developing economies have younger populations with access to better jobs and economic
futures, essential elements for sustained growth in airlines.
b. Regulators have increased the number of non-compliance ﬁnes or have threatened to do
so to airlines and MRO’s which could not prove that the documentation they used was the
most current and eﬀective relative to the conﬁguration of the aircra晴 they were ﬂying.
c. Price, performance and variety. 周e domain of XML and associated tools is truly mature
and there is a wide choice in products and expertise available. While most product
and consulting services are based from North America and Europe, it should not be
underestimated that some key expertise is now available at outsourced major services
providers at rates 25%-50% of typical North American/European expert rates. As CMS
and MRO system integration is o晴en resource intensive, this will have a key impact in the
d. Some key integration projects between major pure MRO IT and pure CMS have been
successfully announced and completed.
e. Following airline consolidations, new managements have discovered decades of legacy
systems that are inappropriate and inadequate for their newly deﬁned integrated needs and
they’re willing to invest to achieve the full beneﬁts of their corporate consolidation through
rationalization and replacement of their IT systems.
f. 周e claims of pure MRO system BoB vendors have been proven to be insuﬃcient for the
airline industry’s complete CMS needs and, in some cases, some of their technology /
expertise partners are no longer viable concerns.
g. 周e integration points and interfaces have been well deﬁned and proven between major
ERP and CMS and, in some cases, between Best of Breed and CMS. 周ey have been
understood and proven and some traditionally cumbersome processes within MRO systems
are now being delivered more eﬀectively by CMS.
If you want to be in full compliance and have the beneﬁts of integration between your MRO
system (Best of Breed or ERP) and a Digital Content Management System (CMS) you have
to engage with products and vendors that oﬀer commercial aviation MRO/CMS expertise and
products, and have proven their ability to achieve such integration.
wHy dO wE nEEd bOTH MRO IT And CMS In COMMERCIAL AvIATIOn?
Here are some classic examples why both CMS and MRO systems are essential to prove
a. Eﬀectivity resolution between CMS and MRO system. Digital Content (AMM, IPC, MPD)
have eﬀectivity breaks by tail-MSN and by SB (pre- and post-modiﬁcation). Eﬀectiveness
resolution must be performed by the CMS so晴ware so that the mechanic or the planner can
be shown the most eﬀective tasks to complete or parts needed to obtain for the problem at
hand. However, the true eﬀectivity is known only by the MRO system as it records where
the eﬀective components/rotables are really installed, as opposed to the manufacturer serial
number (MSN) they were attached originally at the OEM factory. Also, the MRO system
knows which SB has been applied to which tail by which date. So this information needs
to be passed back to the CMS for it to selectively display the valid information through the
Thanos Kaponeridis is the founder
of the AeroSoft Systems Inc.
established in Toronto Canada in 1997. He
has brought AeroSoft from a start-up through
organic and inorganic growth with development,
acquisitions and equity investments to become
a ﬁnancially strong niche player in the M&E
Thanos has built up his aerospace and aviation
experience since engaging at Bombardier
Regional aircraft in 1992 where he managed
the development of the iSPEC2200 compliant
digital document systems for the CRJ and Q100.
He was a long-standing member of the ATA/
EMMC/TICC eText and FOWG since 1994 in the
development of digital document standards. Prior
to Bombardier, Thanos was an accomplished IT/
IS senior consultant with his own ﬁrm and prior
to that with the Transition Group - the Canadian
subsidiary of Gartner Group, oﬀering strategic
and tactical planning of IT/IS to multi-national
corporations. Mr. Kaponeridis holds a Bachelor
of Applied Science from University of Toronto in
Industrial Engineering and a Master of Science
from University of London (UK) in Ergonomics /
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viewer. I am unaware of any Best of Breed MRO
system which performs this task on its own.
b. How, for compliance purposes, is it possible to
link and imbed your temporary revisions and
your incoming SBs to the requisite AMM page
blocks or IPC ﬁgures, without a full scale CMS?
周e short answer is that it’s not possible.
c. Similarly, how do you introduce the correct Job
Card content by linking the MPD line items to
the requisite AMM tasks and then passing them
to the Work Package which is scheduled for
Production by your MRO system, without a full
d. How do you attach link the 8130/EASA Form1 to
a serviced component?
e. Where do you record the completion of an SB/
AD or a Job Card? And, how do you keep the
permanent record — with some tasks and sub-
tasks requiring two signatures (mechanic and
inspector) and some requiring three?
But I feel that I must really stop here, before some
readers start arguing that CMS and MRO Systems
are overly complex!
“…to be in full compliance and have the beneﬁts of integration
between your MRO system (Best of Breed or ERP) and a Digital
Content Management System (CMS) you have to engage with
products and vendors that oﬀer commercial aviation MRO/CMS
expertise and products…”
30 | CASE STUDY: MARSHALL AEROSPACE | AIRCRAFT IT MRO | SUMMER 2011
Power Play and the
consequences of equipment
upgrades and overhauls
, Head of Avionics and Technology Development at Marshall Aerospace Ltd outlines the in-
house development of SERIES, an Electrical Load Analysis program that models an aircraft’s distributed
power architecture and loading under varying scenarios.
HE PHRASE ‘nECESSITy is the mother
of invention’ really does encapsulate what
engineering is all about, and every now and then we
create, either by accident or intentionally, something
that will be of great beneﬁt to others. 周is case study
recounts how and why we developed a PC-based
tool (for in-house use) for modelling electrical
loading on an aircra晴, and how doing so laid the
foundations for SERIES; a commercial so晴ware
product and associated support services.
Within our industry, upgrading aircra晴 avionics –
typically to keep pace with industry regulations – is
of course a common practice for both commercial
and military aerospace platforms. Also, making
modiﬁcations to accommodate changes of role
or to meet other operator demands is a regular
occurrence too. However, modiﬁcations and/or
upgrades cannot be made without considering the
ramiﬁcations of doing so, and this includes the
impact on the aircra晴’s electrical system.
In many of the projects Marshall Aerospace
undertakes we are aiming to add equipment (i.e.
new electrical loads) to aircra晴 without necessarily
upgrading their generators or power bus bars (which
tend to be original-ﬁt). However, an aircra晴’s electrical
system is a relatively dynamic entity; designed to
accommodate diﬀerent modes of operation (e.g. ﬂight
phases) and to provide varying degrees of redundancy
in the event of losing a generator or key power
Accordingly, there are many permutations to
consider when predicting the eﬀect on the electrical
generation and distribution system of adding new
loads. Moreover, the aviation authorities require
proof that proposed changes to an aircra晴 will not
aﬀect safety - under any mode of operation and/or
envisaged fault condition.
周e normal method of providing that proof is
through conducting an Electrical Load Analysis
(ELA) which is a steady-state, worse case view of
all the AC and DC loads summed and compared
to the ability of the aircra晴’s generation system to
provide power. 周e necessity to assess the generation
system’s ability to cope in abnormal conditions has
long been a desire in our industry. Rarely though
does this assessment get any further than particular
cases in the failure modes and eﬀects analysis
(FMEA) - which is normally a text based document
that references some of the ELA’s key ﬁndings.
More frequently the ELA is in the form of and
displayed in a spreadsheet, as it is better suited
for calculations. Indeed, before developing our
own so晴ware we too handcra晴ed ELAs using
spreadsheets and therefore speak from experience
when listing the following diﬃculties:
• Even before tackling sums it was always necessary
to apply a variety of rules to validate the
legitimacy of some of the ﬁgures that would be
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