Airtime Blog

4 Questions on Regional Aircraft Engine Health Management

October 28, 2019 | Prognostics, Technology, Turboprops | 4 min read
We sat down with expert Sébastien Larue to answer some of the most common questions we hear from regional aircraft operators about digital engine health management solutions.


For customers managing regional aircraft fleets, availability is critical. In this highly competitive segment, flight delays or cancellations are the bane of an operator’s existence.

A typical regional jet will fly around 2,000 hours a year, which means more inspection and maintenance compared to many other segments. It’s therefore essential to plan your engine maintenance events, propeller balancing and so forth carefully and look for solutions that enable you to avoid any unscheduled downtime.

Diagnostic and prognostic digital engine health management tools alleviate pain points by bringing customers closer to a fully planned maintenance environment, as Sébastien Larue, Senior Manager, Sales, Business Development & Strategic Partnership, Digital Engine Services, explains.
Digital engine health management tools help optimize operations and ensure availability. They allow regional aviation customers to more effectively plan their maintenance in advance, so that they can avoid aircraft on ground situations, accelerate the return to service time and limit unscheduled engine events.
Sébastien Larue, Senior Manager, Sales, Business Development & Strategic Partnership, Digital Engine Services


We offer a variety of complementary engine health management tools, centering on our FAST™ trend monitoring solution.

Available for Q-series and ATR aircraft in the regional market, this technology automatically captures data on a host of key engine parameters during each flight, then encrypts and wirelessly transmits it for analysis shortly after the pilot shuts down the engine.
The FAST solution automates the process of extracting engine data, filters it with a customized algorithm, wirelessly sends it for analysis and makes the results available to the operator – all within minutes of engine shutdown. It’s a proven end-to-end solution for the customer that improves their labour efficiency by eliminating the need for recording this data manually.
Sébastien Larue, Senior Manager, Sales, Business Development & Strategic Partnership, Digital Engine Services
Recognizing its potential, regional operators have embraced FAST technology. It’s installed on 65% of Q400 jets, for instance, and most of the world’s leading regional airlines are using it to enhance their operations, including WestJet, Porter, Jazz, Qantas and many more.

Another valuable tool delivered through the FAST solution is propeller vibration monitoring technology, currently available for Q400 and ATR aircraft. This measures vibration levels both during takeoff and at cruising altitude. If the designated threshold is exceeded, a notification email will be sent to the operator automatically.

“Without this system, monitoring vibrations is all down to the pilot’s feeling. Sometimes there may be vibrations happening but they don’t notice it,” Sébastien remarks. “This system takes out all the subjectivity and provides an accurate vibration level right away.”

The customer can then take action to prevent wear and tear on the engine or airframe due to excessive vibrations.


“One of the questions I’m asked most often about the FAST technology is ‘What else can it do for me?’,” remarks Sébastien.

The answer is: quite a lot.
One nice feature is that besides engine trend monitoring data, the FAST solution also automatically sends flight data recorder (FDR) data for analysis. This can be used for a variety of purposes such as checking aircraft safety data after each flight for flight operational quality assurance (FOQA), pilot training and flight operations at the airline.
Sébastien Larue, Senior Manager, Sales, Business Development & Strategic Partnership, Digital Engine Services
For instance, based on the flight data recorder data, FAST can calculate the exact flight time (from take-off to landing) or block time (from releasing the parking brake to arriving at the destination gate). In the past, this would have had to be done manually by the pilot.

Similarly, FAST technology may be used to calculate and monitor vertical acceleration. The system can capture the g-force during acceleration and send an automatic notification if there’s an exceedance. The airline’s flight ops or maintenance department can then quickly review the data and take action as needed to avoid issues such as hard landings.

On some platforms, adds Sébastien, the FAST system also includes a capture-event button. The pilot can press this if he or she feels that something is different or wrong about the aircraft’s performance. This will create a time stamp in the data, making it easier to pinpoint the relevant information.

“The capture-event button helps to reduce investigation times if an incident occurs during a flight. Without it, it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack,” comments Sébastien.


Already commercialized for some engine models, our Oil Analysis Technology is currently in trial mode for the PW127 and PW150 engine families.

A powerful addition to the diagnostic and prognostic ecosystem, this technology provides deep insights into engine health without intrusive inspections by analyzing oil samples. It supports proactive, planned maintenance of oil-wetted components such as bearings, gears and carbon seals.

Taking part in the trial is free and easy. A number of regional aviation customers are already participating, and Sébastien strongly encourages others to do the same.
“The more operators we have taking part, the bigger the database becomes, enabling us to provide more accurate and detailed maintenance recommendations based on insights gained from oil sample analysis,” he notes.

In 2020, we’re also planning to introduce an electronic propeller balancing solution for Q400 and ATR regional jets.

At present, without this system, propeller balancing is a labour-intensive process that involves setting up equipment, doing a ground run, taking measurements and figuring out where to place weights.
The remote propeller balancing solution that we’re bringing to market will speed up this whole process, which will be a great advantage for regional operators in terms of saving time and labour.
Sébastien Larue, Senior Manager, Sales, Business Development & Strategic Partnership, Digital Engine Services
The FAST system is now easier to install and use than ever thanks to some recent enhancements. Find out how in Global Connectivity Makes Engine Health Data More Accessible.