The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is responsible in France for applying the SAFA Program (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) established by the European Union. Its mission is to make technical checks of aircraft on the ground in order to oversee air safety and civil aviation activities on French territory. The 50 technical inspectors stationed in the large French airports of metropolitan France and its overseas territories, every year carry out nearly 2,500 inspections.
RECIF, the solution developed with FileMaker Pro, has been used by the DGAC for several years already. The solution has been deployed on the iPad using FileMaker Go to ensure that each inspector is equipped and can perform the checks at the foot of aircraft from his iPad.
FileMaker meets the DGAC's requirements of security, robustness and stability for software and has enabled a flexible, user-friendly interface to be established.
Gilles Darbos, Head of the Technical and Operational Checks' Subdivision at the DGAC
Before RECIF was established, the DGAC was faced with a real problem of data coordination between its eleven regional offices which met only once a year. Gilles Darbos, Head of the Technical and Operational Checks’ Subdivision, explained: “Previously, each regional office was independent and entered its data in its own database, which resulted in problems in sharing information because the inspectors could not see the work of their colleagues.
He and his team therefore formed the project to establish a database that could be shared by the 50 inspectors and which would be both simple, user-friendly and intuitive. The database would also allow for updates to be made easily: “Since the regulations evolve very quickly, it was necessary to be able to quickly adapt to changes in the legislation at the national or European level and therefore to update the solution once or twice a year.” Gilles Darbos stressed.
After a study of the market solutions, their choice focused on the FileMaker Pro software and on the company INTERFACE, a FileMaker Business Alliance partner, for the development.
INTERFACE implemented a FileMaker solution called RECIF, entirely dedicated to the DGAC’s SAFA program to manage all the inspection reports. “RECIF was created from close collaboration between our team of developers and the end-users of the DGAC,” Emmanuel Hadrossek of INTERFACE explained. “All the users were consulted and all their needs were systematically taken into account. The whole team of the DGAC has been and is still is strongly involved in the development of RECIF. ” He added: “Navigation of the solution was designed in line with the way the groups of users work and regularly evolves in the light of feedback from them.”
The FileMaker application allows the inspectors to enter their inspection reports which will then be integrated directly into a European database, after undergoing the validation quality process. A national management system of the activity presenting the inspectors with all the inspection requirements has also been integrated into the application.
RECIF, whose first version was a database of fifteen tables has been transformed into a much larger database of over 70 tables. “Before FileMaker, we took pictures but they were not stored. Now, all the multimedia files (PDF, image, video and sound) are stored in the database. The inspection evidence is now directly attached to the reports”, Gilles Darbos stated.
FileMaker Go has allowed the DGAC to port RECIF onto a device perfectly adapted to the conditions of the checks and the needs of the inspectors: the iPad. “The use of FileMaker showed the need for a mobile device to increase the productivity of the teams; we therefore commissioned RECIF iPAD. The deployment on iPad allows you to photograph non-compliance points during the inspection and automatically make them available to the airlines and the inspectors” Mr. Darbos explained. "Using the iPad also means the pilot in command can sign the electronic inspection receipt which is then sent by email,” he added.
Deployment of the solution under FileMaker Go was a natural development as Emmanuel Hadrossek explained: “There were no major problems in deploying RECIF on FileMaker Go. It simply needed a few adaptations related to the use of a touch sensitive medium (navigation, size of buttons, etc.).”
FileMaker is now fully integrated into the teams’ workflows and allows the DGAC to optimize its productivity: “The RECIF solution allows us to increase our productivity since now only five minutes is needed to enter a report which will then be validated by the inspectors and immediately made available to the management chain for a quality check before being integrated into the European database.”
For Gilles Darbos “FileMaker meets the DGAC’s requirements of security, robustness and stability for software and has enabled a flexible, user-friendly interface to be established. Handling highly sensitive data, security has always been a key point for us. We quickly realized that FileMaker provides good protection of these data because we have never had a security problem in over ten years of use.”
As regards updates to the solution, Emmanuel Hadrossek explained: “In order to keep up with changes in regulations, we make at least two updates per year. These updates are made without interrupting use for users and are very fast since a minor update takes only a few days to implement and a larger change never requires more than three months.”