VIRTUA (Digital Transformation - Case Studies for Aviation Safety Standards - Virtualisation)

The research objectives and expected outcome

The development of digital solutions for air transport encompasses the use of virtualisation technologies to manage approved aircraft parts, implementing the concept of a decentralised ledger collectively named as ‘blockchain’. The use of blockchain technologies for the management of approved aircraft parts or components (along EASA Form 1 certificate) would impact on the whole lifecycle of such certificates, from their issuance by production organisations (POA) to the changes introduced by design or maintenance organisations. A regular issue faced by the different actors involved is whether the certificates are genuine and how to revoke when defects are identified or when cases of ‘suspected un-approved parts’ (SUP) are detected.

The proposed case study on the implementation of blockchain technologies shall address the potential benefits and constraints (incl. costs) considering the different Stakeholders involved in the management of aircraft parts and components, by investigating different types of blockchains and different use cases for their implementation along the lifecycle of approved parts and components.

In the cases where the benefits are confirmed, the project shall also undertake the assessment of the main changes to be introduced in regulations, standards and working processes as well as the preparation of guidelines and supporting materials for regulatory evolutions and the deployment of the related solutions.

The case study shall allow to:

  • Assess the possible changes to existing aviation standards, to flight data collection and SMS, in order to support the deployment of the digital solutions in the scope of the project, while improving the safety management processes used by aviation authorities, operators and industry;
  • Prepare the roadmap(s) for the changes to airworthiness, flight operations, maintenance, training standards aiming at effectively supporting the planning of regulatory activities and the preparation of deployment activities;
  • Provide a comprehensive knowledge base on the series of solutions and options, their impact on operations, working processes, aviation standards, the associated regulatory changes identified and the main indicators for their economic impact (incl. benefits, incentives, main cost factors).

The requested output

The main output of the project shall be the comprehensive evaluation of benefits, constraints, standardisation and deployment issues, including the recommendations for adjusting safety regulations and related standards, and how new digital technologies could contribute to addressing the issue.