Big data aids Sikorsky in improving helicopter maintenance

Big data analytics are helping Lockheed Martin Corp’s helicopter unit improve the maintenance of its aircraft and cut costs by identifying patterns that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, Sikorsky President Dan Schultz said on Wednesday.

For instance, the company redesigned a wrench after a data-driven analysis of repairs on the CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter revealed that mechanics were damaging the swash plate part of the rotor if they slipped while tightening bolts.

“We went to the assistant secretary of the Navy and showed him a wrench. We said, ‘This is saving you $800,000 a year,'” Schultz, a former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, told Reuters in an interview at the ILA Berlin Air Show.

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