Every year, the aviation industry generates a torrent of data essential to keep air travel reliable and safe. In turn, the startup AeroChain is launching a protocol to store aviation data on a decentralized blockchain network.
Aviation data is currently stored by custodial figures who communicate that data to regulatory bodies and aviation companies. Errors emerge when that transfer goes wrong. Decentralized blockchain solutions such as AeroChain keep data on a blockchain, where it can be viewed by those with access.
Decentralized storage eliminates errors and delays when storing and communicating data to other stakeholders.
AeroChain plans to expand their protocol to include more logging and data management tools. Their initial application is launching in Summer 2018 and will cover pilot certification data and plane maintenance log – datasets vital to keeping the skies safe:
Tracking Pilot Hours
The thousands of pilots from professionals flying Boeing 747s to hobbyists flying single-engine planes are responsible for their safety and that of the passengers, other aircrafts, and people on the ground.
Therefore, the FAA requires a specific amount of hours for aviation students and pilots to get and keep their license.
Private pilots, for instance, must fly 40 hours to get their license and must make three takeoff and landing cycles every 90-days to maintain their license. Pilots must also avoid exceeding flying hours as the FAA enforces weekly limits to prevent exhausted pilots from taking flight.
Pilots are responsible for recording their flight hours. Of course, paper or electronic logbooks can be misplaced or deleted, resulting in hundreds of lost hours.
Swayne Martin recently interviewed PSA Airlines CEO, Brooks Butler, and ExpressJet Airlines recruiter, Eric Graser, about job applicants logbook errors, noting that some pilot logbooks were off by more than 20 hours. However, logbook errors are not always caught which results in unqualified pilots cruising the skies.
Tracking Plane Maintenance
Safe plane maintenance requires plane owners to regularly performing safety checks and inspections. A plane that fails or misses a required check may lose its certification from the FAA. Any time planes receive a check or are worked on, owners and technicians must record the event in the craft’s maintenance logbook.
Maintenance logbooks aren’t only essential for safety – they travel on the plane from pilot to pilot, impacting the plane’s value.
For example, in a 1992 aviation lawsuit, the court observed that a well-maintained plane worth $230,000 could only be sold for $130,000 because the plane’s logbook was missing.
Logbook accuracy has legal ramifications: a 2017 lawsuit over a hasty logbook entry cost an airplane mechanic his job.
Decentralized Blockchain Data
AeroChain’s decentralized solutions for pilot and maintenance logbooks won’t replace proper recording practices, but they facilitate easier data management for pilots, owners, and mechanics.
Updating a blockchain-based logbook, for instance, could instantly share current records with regulatory groups. A blockchain-based logbook cannot be misplaced or retroactively altered.
Blockchain could serve as the foundation of a plane insurance marketplace or help commercial pilots arrange charter clients. AeroChain plans to build aviation applications as their protocol evolves.
Blockchain is being integrated into the aviation industry, as the video from IATAtv shows below.
Cover Photo by Skyler Smith on Unsplash
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