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Proper aircraft management, including location tracking, inventory control, possession, service tickets and maintenance records, and flight hours is critical to your company's drone operations. Skyward supports these tasks via Skyward aircraft management features.
Aircraft management is available from the top menu under Manage > Aircraft.
Aircraft management is provided on two levels:
- List View – A sortable list of all the aircraft in your inventory
- Detail View – A record view of all the information recorded for a specific aircraft.
Aircraft List View
The list view displays all the aircraft in your inventory and certain key pieces of information so that can find the aircraft you want when planning an operation, or when determining the overall status of your fleet. The list view information comprises:
- Registration number
- Serial Number
- Hours (total flight hours calculated from logged flights)
- Airworthy status (indicated by green check or a red x)
In addition to the quick information, the list view supports two important functions.
1. Add Aircraft – the large blue “Add Aircraft” button in the upper right corner creates a new, blank drone record for you.
2. Duplicate this Aircraft – to duplicate an aircraft record, click the small blue rectangle at the end of each row. This feature: 1) copies all the information in the selected drone record and creates an identical copy; 2) appends ” – copy” to the name of your drone; and 3) sets the aircraft’s status to not airworthy, as marked by a red x.
Airworthy status and all other record details can be changed on the detail view page.
Aircraft Detail View
The aircraft detail screen consists of an information panel on the left; service history, notes, and custom data in the center; and an attached document section at the bottom for managing aircraft manuals, receipts, registration documents, etc. You can access an aircraft detail view by clicking on the aircraft in the list view.
The aircraft detail screen has:
- Information Dashboard default fields
- Status of active, grounded, or retired
- Hours calculated from logged flights and historical hours
- Service Event function to add service tickets and track maintenance
- Airworthiness status
- Service History list of maintenance tickets
- Notes field
- Custom Fields for recording data unique to your operations
- Editing and Duplication modal buttons
The information panel, notes, and custom data fields may be edited by selecting the edit button in the upper right. A duplicate of your aircraft record may be created by selecting the duplicate button in the upper right. Service events are logged by clicking on the service event button.
Edit Mode and Duplication
Duplicating an existing aircraft is a time-saving measure when adding a new aircraft record. You then only need to update the data that is different between the existing aircraft in the system and the new aircraft you are adding. To duplicate an existing aircraft, select the duplicate button in the upper right. The entire aircraft record will be duplicated and added to your aircraft list with the word ” – copy” appended to the title. The status of a duplicated drone is then set to active and the airworthy flag is set to not airworthy as indicated by a red x.
The aircraft record data can be created and updated using the edit mode, available by clicking the Edit button in the upper right. For your convenience, a registration link to FAA small UAS registration web site is available when editing your aircraft record.
The airworthy flag is accessed through the edit mode. Toggle the airworthy checkbox located under the aircraft name in order to change the status between red x and green check. The airworthiness flag is also automatically toggled between red x and green check when a service event is logged that changes the status from active to grounded and vice versa.
The information dashboard data can be added or updated through the edit mode.
A link the the FAA UAS online registration system is available through the edit mode.
Status and Maintenance
The service history of the aircraft is reported as a list of open and closed tickets located under the service history section and below the aircraft name. Each ticket contains a time-stamp, any notes, and the name of the author of the ticket. Tickets can be created and closed, and the status of the aircraft changed, using the service event button located above the information panel and next to the status indicator.
An aircraft may have one of three statuses.
- Active – Aircraft is available for use.
- Grounded – Aircraft is unavailable for use. Does not affect availability of aircraft in any menu.
- Retired – Aircraft name is gray and is no longer available in operation dropdown menus.
Recording a service event can either open a new ticket, update the existing in-process ticket, or close an existing in-process ticket. There can only be one in-process ticket at a time.
A new in-process ticket is created when the status is changed:
- From active to grounded
- From active to retired (if there is no existing ticket)
- From grounded to retired
The in-process ticket is closed when the status is changed from either grounded or retired to active. The next time the status is changed to either grounded or retired a new ticket will be created.
Updating a service event without changing the status will add the time-stamped event to current in-process ticket.
Aircraft hours are calculated using all the logged flights in the organization. Aircraft hours are rounded up to the larger tenth of an hour. For example, 1 hour and 6 minutes logged on an aircraft would be reported as 1.1 hours. 1 hour and 7 minutes logged on an aircraft would be reported as 1.2 hours.
Aircraft Custom Fields
Carefully consider what information you need to track for each aircraft. Common fields are found in the information side panel, but Skyward provides the flexibility to allow you to track additional information that is specific to your company's workflow and operations. You can add any label and value you like. However, there are several fields that Skyward users have found useful.
Start by clicking the Edit button to enter the Edit mode and then adding a custom field label and value in the custom field section. Be sure to add the custom field value, even it is only a placeholder suggestion, in order to save your new custom field.
Here are some suggested custom fields.
|Controller Serial Number||PZ32442|
|Controller Firmware Version||2.1|
|Cables||3 USB Micro|
|Spare Propellers||12 Black: 6 CW; 6 CCW|
|Case||1 GPC Case|
|Spec: Max Flight Time||23 minutes|
|GCS Computer||MacBook Air C1MPW3NAG442|
Naming Aircraft (Drones)
The aircraft includes all of the components that make up a complete unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Before naming an aircraft, think about how you want organize your systems. Keep it simple. You can change the name later. The highest level is the owner. The next level is usually a kit or system. Omit the owner name if you don’t operate aircraft that belong to other organizations.
For specific recommendations regarding naming, reach out to your Customer Success Representative. They may have input for you based on your program needs and industry best practices.