Blockchain technology has the potential to transform a variety of different industries and professions, and the aviation industry is no exception. A recent article in Avionics International, summarized by Aviation Today, illustrates how the new technology could make air travel quicker and safer.
Blockchain “Appealing to Avionics Players”
Blockchain technology has already been trialled by airlines in a number of different areas – Hahn Air has issued tickets on the blockchain, while S7 Airlines is using it to refuel aircraft in a more efficient manner – but according to the article, blockchain could be about to find a further use case – security.
Blockchain’s decentralized nature is, according to the article, “appealing to avionics players involved in design as well as the industry”, as it opens up the possibility of “smarter, more secure says [sic] to store flight records, maintenance statuses, and other data”. For example, it could record each time a part is installed or removed from an aircraft, as well as capturing each new part’s details and origin, and how long the old part was in service for. It could also capture the identity, location, and credentials of the technician performing the repair, with all the data being immutable and visible to all.
Just The (Wing) Tip of the Blockchain Iceberg
One fan of the potential of blockchain technology in the field of aviation is Vance Hilderman, co-founder and CEO of AFuzion, an aviation safety consultancy:
Blockchain will provide a safe harbor for design – we’ll always be able to revert to a safe design, plus we would theoretically have the ability to track all changes and the authors of those changes.
Looking further into the future, there is no reason why aircraft parts could not be fitted with remote sensors that detect wear and tear and alert technicians before problems arise. Theoretically, they could also be tied to smart contracts that can order replacement parts in advance, although this kind of technology will likely only emerge once blockchain’s first technological hurdles are cleared.