Most aircraft maintenance records are stored on paper. Air operators, aircraft manufacturers, and maintenance organizations have made efforts to move towards electronic aircraft maintenance records (EAMR) over the last few years.

The future of the aviation industry is full of transformation. There are many benefits to the digitization of this business, including:

Out with the old, in with new (systems). Paperless operations mean the rollout of new systems that enable electronic signatures, electronic storage of records, and the use of RFID for component identification—replacing outdated, paper-reliant processes.

Electronic sign-off. Maintenance events that are sent to tablets by MRO engineers or mechanics will be signed-off electronically. This increases productivity and efficiency.

Cost savings. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in its Guidance Material for the Implementation of Paperless Aircraft Operations, states that paperless operations enable the use of tablets to provide point-of-use information. This saves organizations a lot of money over the long term. 

Transferability. Electronic records allow for the transfer of assets (aircraft, engines, and components) more efficiently.  No more searching pallet loads of paper to transfer records from one system to another.

Airworthiness compliance. Teams can be confident that their fleets are safe, compliant, and airworthy by having accurate records, correct e-certifications, and electronic continuing records for aircraft, engines, propellers, and other associated parts.

However, electronic records and paperless implementation pose significant challenges, including:

Acceptance by regulators. The regulatory requirements for traceability must be met. Electronic documentation is not compatible with traditional notions about traceability. This hinders the transition to electronics.

Lifespan of e-records. IATA states that e-tickets last approximately 2 years. Meanwhile, the lifespan of an aircraft and its parts can exceed 30 years. Records must be kept and readily accessible throughout this time.

Integrity of records. Industry leaders and stakeholders rely heavily upon paperwork to track aircraft records and asset transfers. This is because they believe that data integrity supports informed decision-making.

Aviation authorities have published guidance materials to support the use of paperless aircraft operations for technical operations.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

AC 120-78A – Electronic Signatures, Electronic Recordkeeping, and Electronic Manuals

This document contains guidelines and standards for e-signature, e-recordkeeping, and e-manual systems.

Transport Canada

AC 571-006 Electronic Signatures and Electronic Exchange of the Authorized Release Certificate

This document guides the use of electronic signatures, and it applies to Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA ) personnel, delegates, and the aviation industry.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

AC 11-3(1) Electronically formatted certifications, records, and management system

This AC guides how to use electronically formatted certifications (signatures), records, organization manuals, and electronic management systems. This AC applies to all those involved in design, certification, operation, maintenance, and repair of aircraft.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

AMC Appendix II to Part-M para 2 Electronic Signature and Electronic Exchange of the EASA Form 1

This document applies to organizations operating within the EASA regulatory environment. The intent of this document is similar to the ACs above about the use of electronic signatures in aviation.

Do you want to use digital signatures for your aircraft maintenance records? 

EmpowerMX is aware of the standards in place. Learn how EmpowerMX can help you adapt to the dynamic industry. Our software and data are ready. We provide software tools for airlines, MROs, OEMs, and the defense industry.

EmpowerMX delivers a software suite dedicated to help airlines and MROs plan, execute, and optimize their operations. We’ll be glad to assist you and discuss how you can benefit from our solutions.