How to Use Big Data to Manage the Health of Aviation Ground Support Equipment


Big data management is a major trend in the business world. But, what is big data? And how exactly can it positively impact an aviation ground support equipment (GSE) fleet? We're explaining how big data can be used to provide actionable intelligence about aircraft tugs and other GSE. From monitoring an engine's performance to identifying areas of weakness, big data management can reveal subtle trends over time and keep a fleet running at peak operating efficiency.

What Is Big Data?

Big data is, in simple terms, a massive collection of raw data that is most often gathered through the use of equipment sensors. The onboard diagnostic systems then provide real-time data about a vehicle's health. Usable metrics often include aspects like speed, rapid deceleration, hard cornering and braking.

While the concept of onboard diagnostics is nothing new, it is something that the ground support equipment industry is utilizing more and more as a strategy to gain actionable intelligence regarding GSE. Big data isn't important due to the amount of data it provides, but more specifically because of what can be done with it. Big data programs, such as EBis Aviation Software, can aid in company development and growth, cost reductions, time reductions and overall smart decision making.

What Sets Big Data Apart From Analytics?

It may seem on the surface that big data is synonymous with analytics. But big data is actually used to gather unstructured data, whereas data analytics is typically more focused, having a goal in mind to look for ways to gain support. When combined with analytics, big data allows you to determine the root cause of failures, issues and defects with aviation ground support equipment. There are three core measurements that big data is able to pull from a vehicle's raw data.

  • 1. Velocity. This is the speed of data creation. Real-time information allows a company or organization to be more agile than competitors.
  • 2. Volume. This is the sheer amount of data that is created each day. This gives companies the opportunity to work with multiple petabytes (one petabyte equals
  • 3. Variety. Big data provides information from multiple sources. It uses readings from sensors, GPS signals from cellphones, smartphones, messages, updates, images and more to glean information from GSE.

How Big Data Can Be Used to Improve Ground Support Equipment Maintenance

Big data management for towbarless tugs and Bobtail tractors has many benefits for an aviation ground support fleet. In the GSE industry, minute changes and adjustments can equate to huge gains across a fleet. The following are just a few examples of how big data can improve overall ground support equipment maintenance.

  • Predetermining an indicator of breakage or areas of failure or weakness can save hours of downtime and additional costs.
  • More accurate mean times between system failures from real fleet data can result in longer times between repairs and/or overhauls.
  • If using the same GSE in a variety of locations, broad trends can be tracked over different time periods. This allows you to compare statistical trends like efficiency and overall wear in different environments.

Implementation Factors To Consider

Properly using big data along with your other regular maintenance analysis program can provide incredibly valuable information over time for GSE like an electric airplane tug or a towbarless tractor. But if the information is not used thoroughly and correctly, big data is virtually useless. The following are a few things to consider prior to implementing big data management.

1. Big Data Can Be Expensive

Big data is expected to grow exponentially in popularity over the next few years. But as of now, the technology used to process the data is expensive. This cost is likely due to the specialized servers, databases and other types of software that are required. As big data management becomes more and more mainstream, the cost to add it will naturally come down.

2. Hiring and Training Staff is Crucial

One of the costliest components of big data is the personnel and training that it requires. To use big data the way it was intended, you will need to train your current staff or hire newly trained staff.

3. Big Data is an Investment

It's going to take time, money and expertise to get a big data management program up and running. Implementing and sustaining big data is expensive. But if you know how to properly use it and transpose it into actionable information for operations, it can prove invaluable.

4. Not All Fleets Are A Good Fit

Keep in mind that big data management is meant to be used when evaluating a fleet of vehicles and equipment in order to better understand the fleet's health and preparedness. Not all fleets are a good fit for big data. If your company has just a few similar items at one centralized location, big data typically won't provide the value you desire.

This article is a high-level explanation of big data management and how it relates to the GSE industry. Understand that big data is a complex and multi-layered concept that can sometimes be difficult to quantify. But it has been found to be successful in predictive analysis of various fleets of equipment. Implementing big data into your operations is just another way you can improve ground handling.

Upgrade Your Fleet with the Help of Eagle Tugs

At Eagle Tugs, our mission has always been to provide customers with high-quality GSE that is cutting-edge, safe and reliable. And with our EBis GSE Cloud Solution Software, you'll be able to increase productivity, streamline and manage GSE, and stay on top of work orders. Be sure to browse our selection of aircraft towing equipment and towbarless tugs to ensure your fleet is running at peak efficiency. Have a question or need additional information about any of our product lines? Reach out to one of our knowledgeable Eagle Tugs representatives today.

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