Wilbur Wright was airborne for 12 seconds when he piloted his first powered aircraft flight. He covered 120 feet above a windy beach in North Carolina. The descent cracked the skid under the rudder, but the landing was otherwise smooth. How far we’ve come! Aircraft today are sophisticated digital and mechanical systems. Despite leaps and bounds in progress, they still break. And that’s hardly a surprise. Planes cart passengers to all corners of the earth in a complex world of extreme heat, cold and turbulence.
Maintenance technicians are a critical element of the airline operations process. Their job keeps passengers and planes safe. Speedy and accurate repairs mean reduced flight delays and more in-service, revenue-generating time for aircraft. Drawn out repairs mean longer delays and big financial penalties for airlines. Boeing estimates that, depending on the operator and age of an aircraft, an aircraft on the ground for one or two hours can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $150,000. Virtual and Augmented Reality can help technicians get their work done faster, with a higher degree of safety. And it’s not just for technicians - VR and AR can improve training effectiveness and enhance job performance for everyone from flight attendants to ground staff.
Technicians across industries work in challenging environments. These aren’t your average desk jobs. Unlike their office-dwelling counterparts, it’s difficult for technicians to pull up reference materials in a work context. No nearby desks to leave manuals on or monitors to keep endless tabs open in a hangar or in the field. In fact, technicians might have to walk hundreds of meters to consult a physical or digital document or look up an aircraft’s maintenance history.
They’re required to perform an incredibly wide range of tasks on many different kinds of aircraft. Most often, they might perform routine repairs like fixing reading lights or replacing a worn out tire. Less often, a more involved repair might demand that they troubleshoot a complex avionics system like a heads-up display. Certain complex repairs might only need to be performed very infrequently.
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