Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Retrofit Configuration System
The Retrofit Configuration System (RCS) at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (MDA)-St. Louis incorporates digital data for aircraft life cycle support and provides digital information that supports product functionality and configuration control (Figure 2-27). The RCS contains relational database files and support graphic files that can be transferred to CD-ROM for read-only capability, and facilitates automated graphics retrieval from the relational database.
Originally established in response to a need from the Israeli Air Force, the RCS provides an in-country configuration management system on CD-ROM that eliminates the paper trail to research aircraft information. MDA-St. Louis is using this system internally to maintain configuration management on aircraft retrofitted at MDA-St. Louis. Data is stored by part number and broken down to the drawing number. MDA-St. Louis also developed the capability for the user to retrieve technical drawings from the database and view them on a PC.
The production engineering drawings are used to define the baseline of the system. The post- production engineering drawings with retrofit are incorporated into the relational database, creating a new baseline for the system. Aircraft parts are broken down into mechanical and electrical parts. The RCS is designed for query in several fields such as engineering change proposals, service bulletins, and time compliance technical orders. The ability to cross reference among pertinent data such as time compliance technical orders, and modification number is a valuable capability for MDA-St. Louis.
The relational database allows rapid access to updated electrical and mechanical configurations, and support equipment modifications. The RCS is the only automated source to research fielded aircraft configurations and related modifications. A benefit of the relational database is that it stores graphic records of the aircraft configurations with incorporated retrofit modifications. It also stores parts planning information for parts added during retrofit. This system also provides traceability for all spares re-identification and interchangeable items without spares. The system can also accommodate future aircraft modifications.
Time is a critical factor related to equipment maintainability. The RCS has the capability to maintain a complete history of the modifications done to a particular series of aircraft. This translates directly to a time reduction in design research or aircraft audits. The benefit that the RCS provides the user is the ability to track the re- identification of spared parts and interchangeable parts without spares for a specific aircraft or modification. The RCS baseline drawings and re-identification records aid in accessing replacement equipment requirements of battle- damaged aircraft in the field. This system provides accountability of all post-delivery changes, design criteria, and continuous baseline updates to the aircraft configuration.
Figure 2-27. RCS Logistics Relationship & Applications
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