Information management specialist Aircraft Technical Publishers (ATP) is launching a partnership with digital documentation group Web Manuals that it says will allow aircraft operators and maintenance providers to more efficiently manage operating manuals. By combining their respective cloud-based systems, the two companies say clients will be able to author, update and distribute documents more cost effectively, while also ensuring full regulatory compliance.
U.S.-based ATP provides a database of technical documents from aircraft and component manufacturers. Sweden’s Web Manuals (Booth S132) aims to make it easier for operators to keep both their own manuals and third-party documentation completely updated and available through their organization.
ATP will be offering Web Manuals’ functionality through its ATP Aviation Hub, which will give online access to ATP Libraries, ATP Parts, ATP Maintenance, and the AskBob AMT Community. The combined offering is still at the proof-of-concept stage, with a full launch expected in July.
“Even small business jet operators with three or four aircraft and 20 employees could have more than 20 different manuals to manage, and it’s ridiculous to do this using a program like Word because that’s how lots of mistakes get introduced,” Web Manuals CEO Martin Lidgard told AIN. “Web Manuals is a GoogleDocs for the aviation industry. Everything is in the cloud in HTML format with hyperlinks that can be used by the people who update the documents, making it simple and efficient for them to make changes. The risk of someone opening the wrong version of a document is greatly reduced compared with using hard copies or emailed PDFs.”
For pilots, Web Manuals allows them to access documents online through their maintenance companies’ own portals, or they can use an iPad app. They get a message when a document is out of date and needs updating. According to Lidgard, by combining its approach to digitizing documents with ATP’s extensive database it will make the whole process more cohesive.
“Both ATP and Web Manuals are helping the industry evolve through digitization and interconnectivity of workflows, processes, and data,” said ATP chief executive Charles Picasso. “It’s clear the rate of complexity and change in the industry will continue to rise. In order to keep pace with these changes, our customers will need to be more proactive in managing their operating manuals and related documentation.”
Regulatory concerns are a big factor, especially in Europe were requirements can change on a monthly basis. “What I find a little shocking is that the EASA Ops regulation that came into effect around a year ago says that the AOC [air operators certificate] is only valid if the operator remains compliant at all times,” said Lingard. “That’s hard to be sure of with the regulations changing all the time. If you don’t have a tool that gives you complete transparency, it may be hard to do this. So you have to wonder how many operators are not fully compliant and what the consequences of this could be, such as insurance being invalidated.”