Published on November 15, 2021

A unique collaboration between TrustFlight, Boeing, RaceRocks and The University of British Columbia (UBC) has plans to transform the aviation industry, creating a new digital aircraft records platform aimed at significantly improving efficiency and potentially saving the sector up to $3.5 billion a year.

The Digital Aviation Record System (DARS) will be developed in Canada, having received investment and support from the Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster – an initiative that helps to establish a framework for collaboration and co-investment on projects across all sectors.

The long-term aim of the project is to create the world’s first truly global, web-based component and airworthiness records platform connecting data across the supply chain. Working closely with existing industry maintenance and MRO system providers, DARS will enhance their functionality by enabling seamless transfer of accurate aircraft information, removing the need for manual data entry and delivering significant efficiency improvements. The first DARS service to be offered will be a digital engine log, available in early 2022.

Karl Steeves, CEO at TrustFlight, says: “Most systems that manage and record aircraft maintenance are either paper-based or operator specific software solutions that are often unable to communicate with one another, meaning data has to be input and transferred manually.

“We knew there was a better way to work, concluding that a consolidated digital platform like DARS could improve airline maintenance productivity and efficiency by up to 25 per cent, potentially saving the industry $3.5 billion a year.”

Dedicated to digitising paper-based processes, TrustFlight’s comprehensive technical and regulatory understanding of the aviation industry made it the ideal lead for the DARs project. The Company has deep expertise in aviation software development – which includes the powerful operational management solution, Centrik.

From there, each consortium member will play an integral role. Boeing’s industry knowledge, influence and experience will be a key factor in designing DARS for aviation’s digital frontier.

Charles S. “Duff” Sullivan, President, Boeing Canada Operations Ltd. says: “Replacing manual, paper-based procedures with accurate digital records will help accelerate this transformation in aviation. As we continue to pursue digital-first solutions across Boeing, innovations like DARS help airlines and operators reduce costs and operate more efficiently.”

DARS is designed to bring aerospace fleets into a digitally native platform, so TrustFlight turned to RaceRocks and its experience in developing online fleet decision capabilities within the Canadian Defence industry.

Anita Pawluk, President at RaceRocks says: “We’re excited to use our experience in extrapolating data into meaningful and user-friendly interfaces, simplifying what are often complex decision-making processes. Bringing our strengths to the project alongside subject matter experts from TrustFlight, Boeing and UBC will result in a higher quality solution that will enable teams and empower decisions.”

With the project very much focused on Canada, DARS will unleash innovation and creativity in the Canadian aerospace industry, helping to reinstate its position as one of the top aviation economies in the world.

UBC’s combined research expertise in blockchain – a key technology within the DARS architecture – and supply chain management was a vital addition to the consortium.

Dr. Harish Krishnan, Professor of Operations and Logistics at UBC Sauder School of Business, adds: “We are excited to be contributing research knowledge and talent in supply chain management, analytics and blockchain to the DARS project. The airline industry was an early adopter of operations research techniques, and by focusing on applying a new set of technologies to eliminate inefficiencies in the maintenance supply chain, this project provides valuable new opportunities for our researchers and students to apply their learning.”

In conclusion, Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster says: “Many airlines are evaluating their operations as they prepare for the post-pandemic world. Digital solutions such as the DARS data platform can help streamline aircraft maintenance, making it faster, more effective and more efficient – which is good for everyone. We are honoured that our Supercluster model has been able to bring together industry, technology and academic leaders such as Boeing, TrustFlight, RaceRocks and UBC to drive this potentially transformational technology.”

As the DARS project develops in Canada it will create around 40 highly skilled aviation data and software jobs within the first 12 months, rising to between 150 and 500 new roles as the market develops in the following two to four years.