NBAA Convention News

 New SkyBooks Interface Highlights Data

 - October 10, 2011, 1:10 AM
SkyBooks’s maintenance and flight operations tracking software recently received an extensive makeover aimed at simplifying data input and access.

Business aircraft and helicopter operators can explore the new look and feel of the SkyBooks maintenance tracking and flight operations software at Booth No. C12346. Launched in 2004 and acquired by Bell Helicopter in 2008, SkyBooks recently upgraded its aviation management solutions software with a new graphical interface, easier report access and a faster internal document vault.

“[This] upgrade provides a rich customer experience, a new visual look and additional functionality,” said William Retana, SkyBooks director of IT and software engineering.

SkyBooks is a web-based application consisting of four cohesive modules–Maintenance Tracking, Flight Operations, Inventory and Document Vault. Release 4.5 issued in June expanded SkyBooks’s list of compatible Web browsers to include Internet Explorer 7 and 8, FireFox, Chrome and Safari. The release introduced a new graphic interface and also iPad functionality, allowing customers to access SkyBooks from the cockpit via their iPads.

“It’s a whole different program,” said SkyBooks training manager Elizabeth Howard. “We changed the look and feel and modified every screen to make tasks less complicated.”

According to Howard, SkyBooks now anticipates the information the user requires on various screens and highlights the pertinent data field or fields. For example, if a component is being changed, the software highlights either the new or old component information depending on the screen currently being viewed.

Screen-specific tutorial buttons also allow users to view video tutorials of steps associated with the tasks accomplished on the current screen. A new reports fly-out feature tab provides access to any report from any screen. Screens have been standardized and reports can be customized with one-click sorting capabilities.

The interface changes are not the only features of the new release, however. Release launched in August added an internal Document Vault feature that allows customers to upload three gigabytes of data at one time. Previous versions of SkyBooks used a third-party document archiving program and facility. SkyBooks’s new Document Vault provides faster upload speeds and stores uploaded documents–usually scanned Adobe PDFs with large file sizes–on SkyBooks’s own secure servers located in Jacksonville, Fla., and backed up to servers located in Tennessee.

“The majority of our customers want SkyBooks to scan and upload their logbooks and other documents into the system for them,” said Howard. “Now with the new Document Vault, a customer can upload a whole logbook at one time.”

The new Document Vault also allows customers to customize new folders, organize documents and add searchable tags to any document. The vault keeps an audit trail to show who uploaded, moved or modified documents within the vault, and when that action occurred.–K.R.