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Boeing introduces suite of iPad apps for airplane maintenance crews

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There is no shortage of stories detailing how the iPad is increasingly becoming a mainstay in the airline industry. Whether it's being used as a replacement for flight bags or provided to travelers for entertainment purposes, Apple's trusty tablet has certainly earned its fair share of frequent flier miles.

And now comes word that maintenance crews will be getting in on the iPad action as well.

Boeing on Tuesday announced the impending release of a new suite of iPad apps geared towards airplane maintenance.

The applications, which were developed in conjunction with several major airlines, will enable technicians on the ground to quickly access airplane manuals, part numbers and airplane maintenance history. The suite of iPad apps will also allow technicians to communicate with other maintenance staff employees at varying locations and, consequently, identify and fix problems much more quickly.

Boeing believes that this will ultimately lead to a decrease in the incidence of flight delays while also serving to lower operational costs.

Some of the maintenance apps touted by Boeing include:

  • A Toolbox Mobile Library, which will provide technicians access to maintenance documents for instant reference and use, wherever and whenever needed.
  • Hyperlinks between multiple manuals and airline-created content that will expedite access to critical documents so that users can easily search for documents and information about parts and fault histories.
  • A Toolbox Mobile Parts app, which enables technicians to instantly retrieve information about part availability, including the airline's most current inventory information.
  • Maintenance Turn Time, which gives technicians a secure connection to collaborate with their colleagues when troubleshooting a maintenance issue. A technician can take a photo of a damaged part, upload it for others to see and annotate and then share information about maintenance issues with their peers in real time. Maintenance Turn Time is available for the iPad, iPhone and a web browser.

The apps will reportedly be unveiled this week during AviationWeek's MRO Europe event.

Now given that a number of airlines quickly embraced the iPad as a replacement for in-flight manuals and navigation charts, it will be interesting to see how long before we begin seeing plane technicians walking around the runway with iPads in tow.

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