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Work in Progress: Incorporating Pervasive Computing Concepts into an Aircraft Maintenance Job Task Card System

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1705.1 - 22.1705.13



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Paper Authors


Timothy D. Ropp Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Tim Ropp is Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Engineering technology at Purdue University. His research area is in operational safety risk management and NextGen technology innovations in aircraft maintenance. He has over 18 years experience in front line operations management and educational program development in risk-sensitive industries including aviation, emergency medical services, pharmaceutical and U.S. Navy and defense contractor operations. He is an FAA certificated aircraft mechanic with Airframe and Powerplant ratings, and a private pilot. Tim leads the AT Department’s Hangar of the Future Research Laboratory, a multi-disciplinary lab focused on technology and process innovations for air vehicle maintenance, aligning with U.S. Next Generation Air Transportation System philosophy of embedded safety risk management and human-in-the-loop technologies. He currently teaches a highly interactive senior level maintenance management capstone course, Aircraft Airworthiness Assurance (AT402), utilizing Purdue’s large transport aircraft, incorporating SMS and QMS principles, engaging his students through active learning challenges and applied research projects.

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David M. Whittinghill Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Raymond A. Hansen Purdue University


Erin E. Bowen Purdue University

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Dr. Erin Bowen is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Technology at Purdue University. Dr. Bowen’s research areas include aviation psychology, human performance and safety in aviation and high-consequence industries, and team performance. In addition, she provides training and education in the application of advanced statistical techniques to organizational settings. Dr. Bowen is founder of the interdisciplinary Applied Human Factors Research Laboratory at Purdue, focused on bringing expertise from psychology, aviation, and other industries to understand and improve the human component of high consequence and high technology organizations. Dr. Bowen holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Saint Louis University, with a graduate minor in Research Methodology.

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Joshua L. Holmes

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Work-in-Progress: Incorporating pervasive computing concepts into an aircraft maintenance job task card systemIn response to increased capacity and demand requirements of global air transportation predictedby 2025, the current U.S. air transportation system is being modernized by the implementation ofthe Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). This overhaul and modernizationeffort links aircraft, air traffic controllers and airports through advanced satellite assistedcomputer networks and technologies. Modern aircraft themselves are being manufactured withthese technologies built in, including computer networked systems and self-diagnosticcapabilities to facilitate their own maintenance. These new capabilities place tremendouspressure on maintenance organizations to improve their process efficiencies, technicalcompetence and capability, and overall speed in order to match those of the “smart” aircraft onwhich they will work. Traditional computerized networks and information management systemsused by modern aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operations are believed to beinsufficient for helping maintenance engineering technicians efficiently connect with theseadvanced aircraft systems and obtain the highly technical data supporting them, without leavingthe proximal aircraft work area. Integrating advanced visualization and graphics-based workinstructions, delivered to mobile computing devices at the point of maintenance, and embeddedinto an existing electronic job task card system, could better equip modern aircraft technicians toaccomplish individual maintenance tasks, increase efficiency and decrease overall time anaircraft is out of service during a maintenance visit.This report covers research and development work in progress by a cross-disciplinary team offaculty and student researchers to develop a network-enabled, user-friendly electronic job taskcard management system for aircraft maintenance technicians. It describes to-date developmentand testing of a pervasive, contextually-based data delivery approach for aircraft technicians thatis expected to be faster and more capable than traditional electronic data file access. It includesdevelopment of electronic aircraft job task cards linked to a dedicated server, use of tablet PCswith touch screen technology for graphics enhanced job task instructions, including developmentof lightweight 3D graphics and other graphics-based process visualization capabilities deliveredto the point of maintenance. Project goals are reduced overall time on task, reduced technicianinformation search time and improved situational awareness. Testing will be accomplished on alarge, non-flying transport category aircraft similar to those in industry.

Ropp, T. D., & Whittinghill, D. M., & Hansen, R. A., & Bowen, E. E., & Holmes, J. L. (2011, June), Work in Progress: Incorporating Pervasive Computing Concepts into an Aircraft Maintenance Job Task Card System Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18415

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