Founded in 1911, StandardAero is one of the world’s largest independent aviation service businesses. StandardAero specialises in maintenance, repair and overhaul for commercial, air transport, military, business and general aviation, industrial aircraft and helicopters. Its 4,000 employees located in 26 facilities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia serve customers from more than 80 different countries. StandardAero is always looking for a better way to provide excellent service to its customers, from developing proprietary repair processes to redesigning its facilities to make them among the most efficient in the world.
There’s no doubt about it: operators love their aircraft. When operators bring an aircraft to StandardAero for service, they want to stay with the plane throughout the entire maintenance process. They want to know who’s working on the airplane and want to interact with the crew as work moves forward to monitor progress personally. The challenge faced by StandardAero was how to keep the facility secure while simultaneously ensuring that visiting pilots, directors of maintenance and owners had unrestricted access to their planes. Under the company’s old visitor management procedure, a visitor had to remain in sight of an employee escort at all times. While availability of an escort wasn’t always an issue, StandardAero customers said they felt the process to be limiting. They worried that they posed an inconvenience to the staff, and felt the escort procedure added cost to the overall repair charges and diverted manpower away from the aircraft.
“We began evaluating security solutions with two goals in mind: It had to be as effective as a physical escort and invisible to our customers. We talked to our customers about what would best meet their needs,” said Melissa Maddox, vice president, legal risk management for StandardAero, “and we set out to develop a solution to balance regulatory requirements with those needs.”
Maddox had seen equipment tracked with a chip, showing an asset as a dot on a screen. Her vision was to put a chip in a customer’s badge and follow it with cameras. Consultant Mark Pickett of ABET Alliance, LLC, introduced Maddox to Chris Wise from Security 101, and she told him they needed an active system to protect the planes — that was completely invisible to customers. Wise helped turn the vision into reality. The first time a customer visits the StandardAero facility in Augusta, Georgia, he is given a picture ID badge that is programmed in the Pro-Watch security management system to grant access in authorised areas during his visit. As the visitor moves throughout the hangars, RFID sensors recognise the presence of a badge and activate the Honeywell cameras installed in each zone, and the security operator is able to track him through the facility on monitors integrated into Honeywell’s MAXPRO® VMS video management system.
|Honeywell's cameras and MAXPRO VMS have been installed in the hangars to help monitor authorised access|
Rather than feeling as if they’re being followed and watched all the time, the Honeywell system gives StandardAero customers a greater sense of personal freedom and independence when they’re in the facility and helps them feel their aircraft is more secure, which benefits StandardAero. “We’re thinking of expanding our e-Escort programme to our other facilities,” Maddox said, “We’ve investigated other options but nothing seems quite as effective.” Additionally, while it remains unobtrusive for StandardAero’s customers, the system has gotten the attention of another important audience: the Department of Homeland Security. That agency is interested in implementing best practices for security programmes at airports and aviation repair stations in this country and has recently approached StandardAero to see how e-Escort works. “e-Escort helps us enhance the ownership and operating experience for our customers,” Maddox said. “Honeywell and Security 101 helped us provide the kind of solution expected of StandardAero by our customers.”