October 02, 2023

Sound Advice from Kalitta on Electronic Tech Logs: The TrustFlight Experience

Kalitta is a long-time and leading U.S. air cargo operator, started by Conrad “Connie” Kalitta. (Connie started flying car parts to support his desire to race cars!) We sat down with Chris Barks, the Chief Inspector and Director for Quality Control of Kalitta to talk about their selection of TrustFlight’s Electronic Tech Log for this leading global cargo operator. Kalitta boasts a fleet of 29 Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft, and is the launch customer of the ginormous Boeing 777-300ERSF conversion.

Chris, let’s start with the hard hitting questions: Between the 747 and 777 which is your favorite?

Chris: “I’d have to say the 47. It’s the Queen of the Sky!”

How long have you been with Kalitta?

Chris: “I’ve been with Kalitta for around 19 years now and currently hold the position of Chief Inspector and Director of Quality Control.”

Why did Kalitta decide to deploy Electronic Tech Log (ETL)?

Chris: “Over the past four years, Kalitta Air has been implementing new systems for digital recordkeeping. TrustFlight stood out as the logical choice because of its user-friendly interface and advanced AMOS integration. This integration helps our flight crews and maintenance teams get a better handle on the aircraft’s airworthiness and maintenance history. With ETL, we’ve got all discrepancies and return-to-service records neatly sorted digitally, and you can easily check the maintenance status from AMOS in the ETL app, keeping everyone in the loop.”

What prompted the move to digitization?

Chris: “Over the past five years, there has been a focus on leveraging technology to our advantage. This means finding ways to use it to streamline production and make it easier for us to handle any errors that may arise.”

What are some benefits of ETL?

Chris: “We’ve made a significant effort to reduce common errors associated with paper logs. This includes implementing validation checks to ensure accurate data entry and preventing the omission of crucial information. We've also automated the process of feeding data into our Maintenance and Engineering System.”

What was it about TrustFlight that interested Kalitta?

Chris: “After careful consideration, we found that TrustFlight best met the needs and requirements of both our operations and maintenance teams among the top-tier electronic logbook platforms we considered. It was extremely easy to use, and it integrated smoothly with AMOS, meaning our existing data seamlessly feeds into future analytics efforts. It made sense for us to choose TrustFlight.”

What were the steps in deployment?

Chris: “We’ve been actively working to improve our in-service and support procedures, updating company manuals as needed. Our operations and maintenance teams have collaborated closely and have been conducting tests and involving the FAA in the process. We’re also doing dual testing with both paper and electronic entries to ensure FAA compliance and A025 OpSpec approvals.”

What’s the deployment timeline for the TrustFlight ETL?

Chris: “Currently, we’re in the testing phase, hoping to have the ETL deployed sometime in mid-to-late October 2023, pending AMOS integration, testing completion, and all required development items completed.”

How challenging is it to persuade a flight crew to transition from using paper-based methods to adopting technology?

Chris: “I don’t think it is going to be challenging at all. So far, our interactions with the flight operations team have demonstrated a welcoming attitude toward this shift. I expect they will find it a lot more straightforward to uphold and seamlessly navigate through the electronic walkthrough process.”

What is the process for training pilots or mechanics?

Chris: “The training program will be developed after thorough testing of standard operating procedures to guarantee successful operations by end-users. SMEs within each department will undergo train-the-trainer sessions and be responsible for creating corresponding user guide materials.”

Any advice for those considering ETLs?

Chris: “Take the time to research which electronic logbook systems are already fully developed — and which ones are still in the process of building their platforms!”

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