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What is AirVault ?

Scripts from the AirVault FAQ video series Visit
Presented by Patrick M. Castleberry, President

What is AirVault?

AirVault is a web-based software service designed specifically for aircraft maintenance records. It incorporates the best practices of the aviation industry, and is backed by over 75 years of the combined experience of our Technical Advisory Board members, people who are experts within the industry. AirVault allows carriers, their MRO partners, even leasing companies, to store all of their records in one secure place and to tie their records systems into those of their supply chain vendors. AirVault thus becomes the single, all-purpose, paperless archive for receiving, storing, searching and retrieving highly valuable maintenance records. Our customers soon find that AirVault makes them administratively more efficient and thus more profitable. They begin to enjoy the benefits immediately upon incorporating our service.

How does AirVault ensure passenger safety?

Only a carrier can ensure the safety of its fleet and its passengers, but AirVault allows the carrier on any given day, at any given time, to prove that their planes, and thus their passengers, were safe. And that s the real challenge, because there might be an incident involving one of the planes. The carrier must then produce and examine the maintenance records surrounding that day and show that that plane was maintained in compliance with the very complex maintenance programs that the carrier developed over time with the approval of their regulators. AirVault allows them to access those records and to show that on that day the plane was safe.

How does AirVault contribute to regulatory compliance?

An airline will have spent millions of dollars developing maintenance programs for its fleet. And those programs have to be reviewed and approved by the regulatory body that supervises that carrier s operations. In the United States, that is the Federal Aviation Administration. So AirVault comes into play when those records have to be examined by the regulatory body because the regulator will want to know two things: (1) were the planes properly maintained; and, (2) were they maintained in strict compliance with that approved maintenance program. AirVault enables you to produce those records anytime upon request, and to produce them electronically. You may even produce those records to the FAA at its own offices if the carrier allows, rather than have the FAA come to the carrier s facilities to conduct the review.

Why is AirVault valuable to leasing companies?

Aviation is looking more and more to leasing companies for planes to fly. Why? Well, carriers don t want to tie up their capital. So, they are relying on third party financiers, or leasing companies as they are known in the industry, to supply them with the planes they need. Essentially, they rent them. There is a natural interaction between the carrier and the leasing company where a plane is either going into service at the start of a lease or coming out of service at the end of a lease. During that process, all of the maintenance records pertaining to that leased aircraft, or that leased engine or part, have to be given to the carrier on delivery so that the carrier can confirm the airworthiness of the aircraft, engine, or part, and to ensure that it has been maintained properly. And at the end of the lease when the plane, engine, or part has to be returned to the leasing company, the lessor must be able to confirm that its asset has been properly maintained and may be leased again. AirVault provides both parties to that transaction, the carrier and the leasing company, with the quick, electronic means to determine that that the asset is safe to fly again. Also, during the lease, AirVault allows the leasing company to monitor the proper maintenance of its assets on an ongoing basis, catching problems earlier when the asset is still in the carrier s hands. AirVault also allows the leasing company to incorporate the carrier s maintenance records into its own records system, enabling the next leasing prospect to shop the asset before its actual return.

Does AirVault contribute to productivity?

Our customers, on average, recover the cost of AirVault within the first six months following deployment, because AirVault enables a carrier to become more efficient in the way that it administratively handles its maintenance records. Our customer surveys have confirmed for us the value of AirVault s freeing skilled workers from time-consuming clerical tasks and reducing regulatory compliance risks. A carrier of any appreciable size is generating thousands of maintenance records every day. The old paper processes, of course, were breaking down at those volumes. That s why AirVault is fully electronic. Even if you have some maintenance records in digital form already, you may have them on servers that are disconnected from your maintenance planning software. AirVault can tie into legacy software systems directly, capturing records already created by other systems without requiring administrative staff to intervene to print, scan and index those records again. AirVault can tie directly into the records systems of supply chain vendors to achieve the same benefit. Thus, your workers are able to produce records faster, spending less time searching for records when they need them, enabling the carrier to prove compliance at a moment s notice.

Is AirVault expensive?

We make sure that AirVault is affordable for any carrier of any size. We base our pricing on a monthly subscription model so that you pay monthly for what you use. Our pricing relates to the number of planes you fly, so it is made affordable regardless of the size of your airline. If you are a small carrier, you will pay us less. If you are a larger carrier, you will pay us more. But, we have taken the big expense out of the traditional in-house systems where you had to hire the staff to manage it, had to buy and maintain the hardware to run it, and had to license the software at a substantial upfront cost and pay to have the software vendor to maintain it thereafter. AirVault is a web-based hosted model, or as we say today, software-as-aservice, accessed by users from our the AirVault Private Cloud. In short, AirVault s cloud-computing model has taken much of the expense out of maintenance records management. The best news is that our customers, on average, recover the cost of AirVault within the first six months following deployment.

How does AirVault keep records secure, available, and confidential?

AirVault is a cloud computing solution. That means that you, the user, access our software via the internet and you run it from our data centers, data centers that we manage directly, data centers that we control and keep secure. All data transmission between the user and AirVault is encrypted over the web, meaning that even if someone could intercept the data stream, your information would be unintelligible. In addition, each year we retain independent auditors to examine our data centers and our management policies and procedures to confirm that AirVault is secure and free from the prying eyes of unauthorized persons. We believe that we hold ourselves to higher standard of security than many of our customers impose on themselves. We have to serve not only our own proprietary computing needs, but we must also satisfy the confidential records policies of our customers. All customer data is maintained in three full and independent electronic complements. Our customers are so confident in the reliability of AirVault that most destroy their paper records once digitized within AirVault. AirVault is reliable, safe, and protected by multiple firewall layers from hackers and other intruders, and we have the happy customers and independent auditor reports to prove it. I should add that never in our 15 year history has any hacker or intruder penetrated our system.

Who is on AirVaults Technical Advisory Board?

The AirVault Technical Advisory Board helps us incorporate industry best practices into our software products. The board members evaluate new software development projects and make recommendations as to how the products can better serve the needs of aviation maintenance. For example, one of the software products currently under development is a workflow process that mines the AirVault database for missed manufacturer s warranty claims. Missed warranty claims are a particular problem for non-routine maintenance tasks. Industry analysts estimate that for the industry as a whole, unfiled warranty claims run into many billions of dollars each year. In this case, our Advisory Board members advise us as to (1) what maintenance documents should be mined from the database and presented to a knowledge worker for warranty claim review, (2) what a warranty claim form should look like, and (3) what data we should capture to populate the claim form automatically. Our board members include Jeffery Hillis, Senior Director of Technology for Southwest Airlines; Bill Ashworth former President of ATS (formerly BF Goodrich), one of the largest MRO vendors in the world; Tony Pistilli, former Records Manager for United Airlines; Jim Davey, former VP of Engineering at United Airlines and at Alaska Airlines; and Jon Pyke, a world-renowned expert in electronic workflow systems and business process management. These five people represent over 75 years of combined experience in aviation maintenance, and they help us design our products so that we can offer our customers the best practices and best thinking for the efficient, effective management of aircraft maintenance records.

What happens to paper records once theyre stored in AirVault?

The FAA s Advisory Circular 120-78 generally approves the adoption of electronic recordkeeping systems in lieu of traditional paper systems for aircraft maintenance records. The Circular sets forth the requirements for such systems and emphasizes that each carrier s adoption of such a system has to be formally approved by the FAA before it may be placed into daily use. Suffice it to say that AirVault has passed the FAA test each place it has been deployed. Sales prospects often ask us what they are supposed to do with original records once they have been digitized and processed into AirVault. Since we maintain three fully redundant, electronic complements of every customer s records, we have customarily advised prospects that they may do with their paper records as they please. Now, however, we have the perfect answer. Recently, a sales prospect was touring the Southwest Airlines facilities to observe how the maintenance staff was using AirVault. At the end of the onsite demonstration the sales prospect representative asked Southwest, Where do you store the paper once it s in AirVault? The Southwest manager replied, Oh, let me show you, and pointed to a huge paper recycling bin where all of Southwest s paper goes each day after being processed into AirVault. Our customers no longer need file rooms, file cabinets, file clerks or offsite storage facilities. With AirVault, paperless really means paperless.

How long does it take to deploy AirVault?

In most cases, AirVault deploys within a week. New customers are up and running, with their users trained, in five business days or less. AirVault is easy to deploy. Remember, AirVault is a hosted software service running from our fully redundant data centers, or our private cloud as we now prefer to say. That means users access AirVault via any webbrowser, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, you name it, and run the software from our data centers. When we come to a new customer s site to implement AirVault and to train users, the only installations we do concern paper scanning stations needed only if our new customer still must process and digitize lots of paper. By the way, we do offer a turnkey service for paper processing for those new customers who wish to outsource the entire task to us. We offer full OCR of all images and forms recognition for the electronic capture of index information, with 24 hour turnaround for most records. Also, AirVault comes with a flexible, easy-to-use API and web services tool that enables a customer s IT staff to tie AirVault into any legacy software systems, such an in-house ERP system or a Maintenance & Engineering system, as a customer chooses. Our staff is of course available to help with any integration tasks.

AirVault is a division of Critical Technologies, Inc. Copyright MMXI Critical Technologies, Inc.

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