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Bluetail launches digital recordkeeping service

Stuart Illian, a former executive at training firm ProFlight, has formed Bluetail, a company that scans and digitizes aircraft maintenance and other records. The company serves as a content management system with archiving capabilities.

Bluetail scans and digitizes aircraft maintenance and other records so that customers can search their documents from any web browser. Image courtesy of Bluetail.

Additional functions will include data tagging for search purposes, and an artificial intelligence component that tracks predictable maintenance events. Illian formed Bluetail with partner Roberto Guerrieri, a former co-worker at Apple.

The service, which was announced on May 21, begins with scanning maintenance records and other maintenance-related documents, like photos and videos. For an older turbine airplane with 6,000 or so documents, Bluetail’s scanning charge might run $500; for newer, smaller airplanes with a shorter maintenance history, much less. Subscriptions to the record-keeping service itself run $99 per month for piston airplanes, turboprops, and light jets; $149 per month for mid-size jets; and $249 per month for large jets, plus set-up fees. Customers can get a 20 percent discount for paying yearly. “But we’re in deal mode now, so for those signing up multiple airplanes we can adjust those prices,” Illian said.

“The original idea was to address the Part 91 market, and we didn’t really expect to have interest from the piston segment,” Illian said. “But it turns out there’s a lot of appeal because most operators don’t have IT resources.” Part 135 operators and commercial aircraft leasing services have also indicated an interest.

Bluetail’s plan is to establish eight to 10 regional centers around the United States in the upcoming weeks so that customers can access the service more easily. Some centers will be located near training facilities, letting pilots attending recurrent courses bring their documents in person.

Customers can search their documents from any web browser and view a timeline of the aircraft’s maintenance history, plus compliance with airworthiness directives, service bulletins, and service letters. Each airplane also has a dashboard for a quick look at essential data. Users can access their accounts via private links or email. Illian says that Bluetail doesn’t do real-time maintenance tracking, noting that most owners already use manufacturers’ maintenance management systems.

“The time seems right for this kind of service. People want out of paper,” Illian said. “What I’m hearing is that most owners have their maintenance records on paper, scattered here and there, and it’s totally disorganized. Now you can have the documents saved, backed up, and stored in one place—retrievable by such things as keywords or dates.”

Thomas A. Horne

Thomas A. Horne

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.

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