AOG—Aircraft on Ground—services are a crucial part of the airline industry. When planes are unexpectedly delayed due to mechanical or technological issues, AOG services are there to fix things as soon as possible. AOG providers are experts in getting the right parts to the plane and installed as efficiently and effectively as possible.
For private pilots, AOG is slightly less crucial because you aren’t transporting hundreds of people, but it is still important. Knowing how to use it and what your options are can help with your peace of mind and expediate fixing your aircraft’s issues when needed.
Being grounded due to technical or mechanical problems is a stressful experience. You don’t know how long the repairs will take or how much they will cost. On top of this, your plans for the day are extremely delayed, if not totally thrown out the window. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if or when this happens but remember that there are solutions. AOG services are meant to help pilots get back in the air as soon as possible after being grounded—they will help you.
Know Your Options
Ideally, you hope to never need to use AOG services, but it is important to know what you’ll do just in case. The stakes for private plane owners and pilots are lower because you don’t need to worry about the monetary loss from passengers transferring to a different airline. Still, being unexpectedly grounded complicates plans and runs up a bill. It’s a good idea to know what options are out there, and who you can work with to fix your aircraft with the most efficiency. Time is the most important part of AOG, so it’s good to be aware of the locations of AOG providers near where you normally fly.
Advanced aircraft health monitoring systems are hugely helpful when you need to use AOG services. These allow problems to be diagnosed in real time, and the information can be easily sent to and accessed by AOG providers. This helps streamline the process, so the AOG provider is ready with the parts you need as soon as you land.
Because AOG services are a vital part of the airline market, providers need to stay on their toes to provide the best services available in the industry. Staying up to date with technological advances and maximizing efficiency with transport are both key parts of keeping a strong presence in the market.
The rapidly expanding technology market has helpful applications for AOG providers. Because time is such a priority when providing AOG support, anything you can use to cut down on it is valuable. Some good options to implement here include web-based inventory systems. Through the search and find feature, these cut down on time when you’re looking for a specific part. Web-based inventories can also help you track the location of your parts, so you can know the location of the parts you need at any given time.
Another good resource is route optimization software. While a standard GPS is helpful, route optimization software finds the most efficient routes so you can prioritize speed. It also helps circumvent any roadblocks, like accidents or closures, with more speed and accuracy than that of an everyday GPS.
The piece of technology with the most applications in AOG is 3-D printing. Using 3-D printing, you are able to make some of the parts yourself with a cost-effective material. Due to advancements in the technology used to make 3-D printers, the price tag on them has gone down and they are a fantastic investment. This technology allows parts that traditionally would need multiple molds and then to be fused together to be printed in one solid piece instead. Because of this, 3-D printing can significantly cut down on the time needed to create a part—anywhere from a few hours to over a week. 3-D printers can also use metal alloy-based materials to print, so you don’t need to worry about the quality of the parts. Of course, you can’t 3-D print every part, but for the parts you can print, it is a time- and cost- effective option.
Because time is of the essence when providing AOG, transit is one of—if not the—most important areas in which to maximize efficiency. If you’re shipping parts on the continent, you can use a two-person driver team to save on time while still following U.S. driver regulations. This is also more cost-effective than shipping via airplane, so it is worth doing if possible.
However, because most AOG providers also work outside of the continental United States, using only ground shipping isn’t an option. In that case, combined air and ground solutions are a good option. Though these require extensive coordination between drivers, pilots, and aircraft maintenance technicians, it is well worth it for the efficiency. Using a combination of expedited ground shipping and reliable air shipping, you are able to keep the part moving almost constantly, cutting down on wasted transition time and minimizing delays.
Optimizing Foreign Transportation
When you’re shipping parts and materials to different countries, you have another set of obstacles on top of standard shipping timelines: customs. Getting the required parts through customs can be an ordeal, and because time is essential, it is a frustrating added delay. While customs are unavoidable, it’s helpful to know which countries have easier customs processes. If you’re able to use this, you can create a route that stops in these countries over others as often as possible. This way, you’re able to minimize your stopping time en route and get the parts to the aircraft in need as soon as possible.
AOG services are a necessary part of the airline community. For pilots who use AOG services and providers alike, maximizing communication and solutions are vital. If you have any questions about AOG services, you can check out our maintenance page or contact us. We look forward to helping you optimize your flight experience.