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Aircraft Manuals Paper Or Electronic?  
User currently offlineBOACVC10 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 615 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 6124 times:

Computers have been around for ages (ok, 50+ years), so when did aircraft manufacturers begin to offer electronic manuals for their products? I've read on A.net, and also thumbed through SAA 747 upper deck manuals (for some reason they were left out when I traveled JNB to LOS many years ago) and the sheer weight/size/pages make them unwieldy in my opinion. Are they needed for in-flight review ? If not, when are they supposed to be used, and why wouldn't they have been kept in the airports office that the flight visited ?

Are they kept for the life of the aircraft ? If they have to be changed, updated, what happens, and how do they do revision control/check that no pages are missing ?


Up, up and Away!
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 9077 posts, RR: 76
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 6117 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

We have paper and computer manuals. We got a laptop from the company where all the documentation is on. All the manuals, all the performance calculations etc. I only need the laptop and have all the stuff with me I need.
We have the manuals still on board. Just as a backup.

wilco737



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 6040 times:



Quoting BOACVC10 (Thread starter):
Computers have been around for ages (ok, 50+ years), so when did aircraft manufacturers begin to offer electronic manuals for their products?

First there was paper, then the option of microfiche, then CD, then online distribution. Today, I suspect you probably have to pay extra to get paper beyond the initial copies.

Quoting BOACVC10 (Thread starter):
I've read on A.net, and also thumbed through SAA 747 upper deck manuals (for some reason they were left out when I traveled JNB to LOS many years ago) and the sheer weight/size/pages make them unwieldy in my opinion.

They are...a full up hard-copy set of the manuals is a royal pain in the rear.

Quoting BOACVC10 (Thread starter):
Are they needed for in-flight review ?

Most are not. You must have the AFM (Aircraft Flight Manual) and the QRH (Quick Reference Handbook) onboard. Most of the rest (AMM, WDM, SRM, SSM, etc.) are all maintenance manuals and only needed when you're on the ground.

Quoting BOACVC10 (Thread starter):
If not, when are they supposed to be used, and why wouldn't they have been kept in the airports office that the flight visited ?

For many operations, they are. It's up to the individual airline how they want to implement it.

Quoting BOACVC10 (Thread starter):
Are they kept for the life of the aircraft ?

The originals, no, but as long as the plane is flying in revenue service the operator will have to have some regulatory approved maintenance program that will include instructions on how the manuals are maintained and stored.

Quoting BOACVC10 (Thread starter):
If they have to be changed, updated, what happens, and how do they do revision control/check that no pages are missing ?

The OEM's put out updates periodically (typically 6 months for in-production, annual or less for out-of-production). The airlines can do their own changes as well, depending on what their operating certificate allows. In any case, there will be a group at the airline tasked with maintaining the documents. The actual technique can vary wildly from operator to operator.

Tom.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5989 times:

In Maintenance...Manuals have moved on a long way.......From Hardcopies....To Microfilms....To CD-Roms........& now Online.

Out here We have a Maintenance Laptop [Supposed to be all weather & impact resistant] with preloaded Manuals,which we keep updating when the revised CD arrives.
With WiFi available & a http://www.myboeingfleet.com account,option is to log onto the boeing site,but that takes longer time.Hence the Preloaded Manuals from the CD is fine.

Personally....although Softcopies save in costs/space/easier to revise,but while reading a document,a hardcopy is always better especially when one has to constantly cross check between the text data & a schematic diagram.

In our Cabins we have 22" monitors which are used to display large magnified pages which gets easier,works well in Major Mx,but in Line Mx the laptop is the best option available.

I carry a Pendrive preloaded with all related manual with me at work with my Leathermans.This helps a lot during Fault isolation & rectification.

regds
MEL.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5936 times:



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 2):
First there was paper, then the option of microfiche, then CD, then online distribution. Today, I suspect you probably have to pay extra to get paper beyond the initial copies

After the paper copies there were the 16mm cassettes that were used with a reader/printer that used a silver coated paper that came in a big roll. The silver coated paper could not be exposed to light and loading the reader/printer would always spoil several feet of the paper.

It took almost two dozen cassettes for the MM, IPD, WD, etc. I remember at Air Canada in the early 1980's Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed shared a AC secretary. When the revisions came in Douglas and Lockheed would let her throw the entire cassette in the trash but Boeing made her unload the film from the cassette, throw the film in the trash and then send the empty cassettes back to Boeing.

These 16mm cassettes are still in use today, but now the reader/printers are plain paper copiers.

A picture of a modern reader/printer is available at:

http://www.micrographicsolutions.com/print-master-10000.pdf


User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5850 times:



Quoting 474218 (Reply 4):
After the paper copies there were the 16mm cassettes that were used with a reader/printer that used a silver coated paper that came in a big roll.

I *hate* those things. The 16mm cassettes are what I meant by "microfiche"...that's what's inside the cassette.

We had four of them at my old office, because that was the only format it was practical to keep the (really) old manuals in (so deemed our high-ups), and at any given time 3 were reliably out of service and the 4th was iffy.

Although I did discover an original A340 AMM cassette in the midst of a bunch of ancient 707 stuff, which was kind of cool.

Tom.


User currently offlineSashA From Russia, joined May 1999, 861 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5521 times:

Heard that there was a trend emerging to replace paper manuals in the cockpits completely in a drive to further save fuel (less weight carried). Gee, if they're chopping off an inch of silver cuttlery handles, then getting rid of the heafty manual books sounds like a natural idea.

How does that work in reality in the airlines you, pilots, fly for though? Are laptops be trusted to such an extent?



An2/24/28,Yak42,Tu154/134,IL18/62/96,B737/757/767,A310/320/319,F100,BAe146,EMB-145,CRJ,A340-600,B747-400,A-330-300,A-340
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5500 times:



Quoting SashA (Reply 6):
How does that work in reality in the airlines you, pilots, fly for though? Are laptops be trusted to such an extent?

Not sure about laptops, but if you've got an electronic flight bag (EFB), one of the options is to have all your documents loaded there.

Tom.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5498 times:



Quoting SashA (Reply 6):
Heard that there was a trend emerging to replace paper manuals in the cockpits completely in a drive to further save fuel (less weight carried). Gee, if they're chopping off an inch of silver cuttlery handles, then getting rid of the heafty manual books sounds like a natural idea.

Not only the weight, the updates. Updates come out very frequently. With paper this involves "replace pages 46-52 with these new pages" on EVERY AIRCRAFT. With a laptop it's just a new file that can be updated by docking the laptop in the briefing room or whatnot.

Quoting SashA (Reply 6):
How does that work in reality in the airlines you, pilots, fly for though? Are laptops be trusted to such an extent?

Modern laptops are pretty reliable, especially if the OS and software is tightly controlled. Instabilities typically only come up when users can "fiddle", load their own programs and play games.  Wink



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5476 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 8):
Modern laptops are pretty reliable, especially if the OS and software is tightly controlled

True.
The Impact & weather resistant ones can be heavy though.
regds
MEL.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5468 times:

Yes, but I bet the weight will be far less than the dead tree edition.  Wink


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25653 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5399 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 8):
Not only the weight, the updates. Updates come out very frequently. With paper this involves "replace pages 46-52 with these new pages" on EVERY AIRCRAFT. With a laptop it's just a new file that can be updated by docking the laptop in the briefing room or whatnot.

Noted the following in the Transport Canada daily occurrence reports a few days ago August 28). If the document in question had been electronic, they may have been able to find it.

British Airways Boeing B744 flight BAW85, IFR London to Vancouver was cleared for the CANUK9 arrival and read it back. Approx 10 minutes later the aircraft was switched to Vancouver Terminal who asked if they were given the CANUK9 arrival to which they replied yes. Within the minute the pilot reported that they did not have the plate for the STAR they were cleared. The aircraft was then vectored for the approach and there was no other operational impact.


User currently offlinemuhamed From Malaysia, joined Aug 2010, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4153 times:

Hello, just wanted to ask if there is anyone here who is an expert on the S1000D standard being used as IETP (Interactive Electronic Technical Publications). From what I understand the S1000D process suppresses coming up with temporary revisions. But the US and some European military (Army, Navy, Air Force) uses S1000D a lot for their logistics and maintenance. Airbus is now adopting the S1000D standard for their new projects. How does the military or the industry deal with this problem? If you were to distribute a temporary SB or CSL in S1000D how do you do it?


There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
User currently offlinedispatchguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 4139 times:

Even on the performance side, computers are taking over.

For example, in the Boeing world, Boeing is no longer issuing paper AFMs with the traditional chase-around spaghetti charts. For each AFM of a new certification, they issue what is called AFMDPI - which contains all of the traditional performance data, usually in first principles, of how the aircraft operates.

There will still be a physical AFM - Chapter 1 contains all of the certificate limitations, chap 2 and chap 3 are the normal and abnormal procedures used in certification, and there will still be a chapter 4 (performance) of about 25 pages of performance introduction, but no chase-around data.

To me, there is a drawback to that. With the old paper AFMs, there would always be a Example Problems appendix showing you how to use the charts - and what the # on the charts mean. Hell, I learned Part 25/121 aircraft flight performance using the paper charts and the example problems.

Now, with AFMDPI (and Airbus is just as guilty), there is no source on how to insure you have all of the data required for a specific type of analysis (say altitude capability, improved climb analysis, etc) no example problems for AFMDPI; whats the phrase on computers - garbage in garbage out?



Nobody screws you better than an airline job!
User currently offlineChese From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 29 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4088 times:

Some computerized manuals are better than others. I like Cessna's cesview as it makes searching relatively easy. A few different manufactures seem to think pdfs of paper manuals is good enough. It can make hunting for a reference a pain, or just a part number.


Note to airliners.net admins, I will not like you on Facebook.
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3945 times:

Quoting muhamed (Reply 12):
From what I understand the S1000D process suppresses coming up with temporary revisions.

I think the point of a properly implemented S1000D system is that you never have to do a temporary revision...you just change the root data and all the pointers from all the different places that are looking at it all update at once.

Tom.


User currently offlinemuhamed From Malaysia, joined Aug 2010, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3909 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 15):
I think the point of a properly implemented S1000D system is that you never have to do a temporary revision...you just change the root data and all the pointers from all the different places that are looking at it all update at once.

Tom.

Hi Tom,

I know S1000D works well for a mature system. But I'm wondering about if S1000D is used on a new aircraft where the ICAs and other ops manuals aren't really fully matured. Hence the need for frequent revisions which may be urgent. Is changing the root data and pointers really fast enough to not cause problems in case of an urgent revision? We can disregard the authoring process in this case.

Thanks!



There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3799 times:

Quoting muhamed (Reply 16):
But I'm wondering about if S1000D is used on a new aircraft where the ICAs and other ops manuals aren't really fully matured. Hence the need for frequent revisions which may be urgent. Is changing the root data and pointers really fast enough to not cause problems in case of an urgent revision?

My understanding of S1000D is rudimentary, at best, but if I get it correctly then changing the root data would essentially instantly update all the documents using that data...at least in theory, that should be far faster than any current urgent revision process I'm aware of.

Tom.


User currently offlinemuhamed From Malaysia, joined Aug 2010, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3771 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 17):
My understanding of S1000D is rudimentary, at best, but if I get it correctly then changing the root data would essentially instantly update all the documents using that data...at least in theory, that should be far faster than any current urgent revision process I'm aware of.

Tom.

Yes, it is still quite newly introduced to aviation. In theory it would be fast but I've never found anyone adopting the S1000D fully. It's always "with customization" to fit with the customer requests & current practice + facilities. Processing method also varies based on the authoring organization's structure. Does anyone know of any project fully adopting the S1000D standard? I'd like to see how to improve the current S1000D method that we're being offered by a contractor.

Thanks.



There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
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