3: Our Solution
The memory button is a self-contained read/write memory chip with a unique serial number about the size of a dime. It can safely store up to 8 pages of data and cannot be tampered with. It has to be physically touched in order to transfer this data.
An example would be appropriate to help visualize our Safe Air Solutions inspection system. A medium sized Air Line company lost a plane several years ago off the Californian coast. This was due to the pilot losing control of the tail stabilizer (seizing of a jack-screw drive). This component has an inspection hatch high up on the tail (25+ feet) that an inspector can open and look in at the mechanical systems. He has to climb scaffolding up to the hatch and open it; he also requires a special tool to take measurements and record them. He has to remember the specs or have an inspection check-off sheet with the specs on it. He has to record everything and work as part of a team doing the maintenance of the aircraft. His work has to be entered into a system or be collated with all the other information from the other people working on that plane. If he forgot any specs, pen or paper he would have to come down and get it and climb back up (due to the size of commercial aircraft this may be a 15 minute trip).
With our Safe Air System, we would mount a memory button in such a way that the inspector would still have to climb up, open the inspection hatch but then he would have to look at the jack-screw and touch the memory chip. His hand held computer would time and date stamps exactly when he touched it, what his personal ID number was and then sign off on each stage of that particular inspection. This information would be on the LCD display on his hand held computer, similar to a paper check-off sheet, but electronic. The information is then transmitted securely via the wireless Internet connection to a server and then backed up anywhere in the world.
|Jack screw assembly
from a downed aircraft
This particular inspection would be recorded as finished and the whole team would automatically be coordinated. Managers would be able to call up that particular aircraft and know what percentage of the inspection / maintenance was complete and when they could re-schedule it for active duty. The inspector can use the hand held unit to get more detailed information: on what the issue was for that particular inspection, the exact specs, real time up-dates from the manufacturer / FAA, what his next point of inspection should be to maximize his time, etc. This could be easily integrated to issue a work order to the aircraft mechanics working on the plane if repairs were required. It could be tied into inventory so that availability of parts could be shown. It could automatically out-source via the Internet to the aircraft manufacturer to order parts that were not carried in inventory and show expected delivery times. This access to detailed real time information would shorten the training time for inspectors and mechanics and make them more effective and efficient with their time and save the airline company money. It would also reduce the chance of human errors that could lead to accidents.
Once the inspector has signed off he touches the button and records all the information on that inspection right on the chip. This information is stored with the plane at each inspection point. It is easy to ensure every inspection is done before the plane is certified and returned to active service. It provides a permanent audit trail and record stored in many separate locations. It would allow comparisons between personnel that would be quite effective for training purposes and performance reviews. We would be able to save 10% to 15% of the time to do an inspection.
What would it be worth to a large Airline to increase its availability of its fleet of planes by 5%? Maybe it could put off any new capital expenditures for a year. Or it could cut its inspection and maintenance personnel by 10% and at the same time improve its safety record and image to its customers. What would it mean to avoid one lost aircraft!
Patent Family (Maintenance Inspection) – Ron Craik
1. CDN Patent # CA 2367248
- published May 17, 2005
- filed Jan. 15, 2001
- Mentions use of CMB's.
2. US Patent # 7076532
- date issued July 11, 2006
- filed Nov. 13, 2001
- Specifically uses Aircraft example.
3. US Patent # 7383318
- date issued July 3, 2008
- filed May 10, 2006
- Broadens uses to include stationary equip.,
- mobile equip. and ships.
4. US Patent # 8198986
- date issued June 12, 2012
- filed April 14, 2008
- Broadens devices to include uniquely Identified
- read/write memory chip and may comprise a
- contact memory button, an RFID chip, or other...
5. US Patent Application
- CIP (Continuation in Part)