Operators today have two main technology options for running a Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) or Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) program.They can choose to purchase software, install it on their own computer hardware and then operate the software themselves. This is sometimes referred to as the “in-house” or “on premises” model and is the more traditional model that has been in use by larger aircraft operators for many years.A second, relatively newer option, has been for operators to outsource Flight Data Monitoring activities to a third-party. This is typically referred to as an FDM “Service”. With a service model, the operator’s flight data is sent to a vendor where it is then processed and analyzed by the service provider’s staff. Results are made available to the operator through a live website and/or prepared reports.It is worth mentioning that there is also a third option in which software is installed at the operator’s facilities but the software is managed remotely by the software vendor’s staff. We do not see this as a very practical option, though, as it is more of a stop-gap between the two main models, introducing the “worst of both worlds”.There are pros and cons to the first two models, though, and Scaled Analytics is pleased to be one of the few FDM software companies to be able to offer both options to customers.When trying to decide between an FDM service and software, you should consider three main factors:
- Expertise Level and Expectations
- Data Location
- Staff: Will you need to hire personnel to manage and run your program or is this something an existing staff member/team can do?
- IT Support: Does your IT staff have the capacity to manage a new system that may require desktops and a database server?
- Computer Hardware: Do you have existing hardware that can be used, or do you need to purchase new hardware? How often will it need to be replaced/upgraded?
- Training: What level of training is required for staff? Where is the training held and what is the cost? How long will staff be unavailable while taking training? Do IT staff need training as well?
- Software Updates: Are software updates included in the price? What are the annual support fees? Who does the updates and how long will the system be down during those updates?
- Backup and Restore: How will data backup be managed? Will there be offsite backup?