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COMMUNICATION TOOLS As soon as a project has been awarded, a

project summary outlining the details of the signed purchase order should be


Barring any changes to that summary, collabora- tive work begins with the owners, operators, air- craft manufacturer, medical crew, maintenance crew and anyone else involved in the project, to establish a fine-tuned scope of work. From this, the engineering and design teams begin the equipment design based on the customer’s specs. Upon design completion and client approval, a design freeze should be issued from the engineering team. The project cannot con- tinue without the critical design review (CDR) being completed and agreed upon by both par- ties. This review ensures both large and small details are addressed before the drawings are put into production and it keeps everyone engaged and informed throughout the design stage. Internally, manufacturers should be meeting

at least weekly to review projects and monitor progress according to the production timelines. A Gantt calendar may be useful for tracking mul-

tiple projects, as well as specific tasks for equip- ment and people. It’s the best way to minimize the over-tasking of time and resources. And, helpful for teams to have a visual indicator of project tasks, milestones and progress status. Clients should demand weekly project

summary updates with full timeline details and current status reports provided by the project management team. Change order authorizations (COA) are recommended to track any and all changes to the original scope of work. The details of the change are documented and sent to the customer for review and approval. Before beginning any of the changes, the COA must be signed by both parties to avoid misunder- standings and costly mistakes. The COA clear- ly describes the changes being requested along with any resulting costs or revisions to the pro- duction timeline. There are scads of project management

software programs, documents, spreadsheets and high-tech gadgets on the market, all promising increased productivity and profitability. Whether you choose to use a ready-made solution or


create your own, satisfaction hinges on weaving your external and internal communication tools together

to form an easy flow of information

throughout the life of the project. The purpose of this integration is to keep everyone’s finger on the pulse of the project at every stage of devel- opment to enable each team to concentrate attention on their respective responsibilities while remaining cognizant of the global project. Additionally, when small issues do arise, they are resolved immediately preventing the landslides that often have the potential to derail delivery dates and overload budgets.


One of the most common hurdles in a

customization project is lack of detailed informa- tion on the aircraft. Spacial and mechanical specs are critical prior to the design team begin- ning their development efforts. CAD drawings and on-site aircraft evaluations greatly reduce the risk of potential project hazards that might not otherwise be discovered until the interior conformity inspections. When something as simple as identifying electrical power capacity is overlooked or forgotten, it can mean going back to the drawing board to adapt monitors for bat- tery operation. By incorporating these consider- ations into the early stages of the project scope, the customization process continues to progress unencumbered.


CHARTER COMPANY Cessna designed the Mustang as a multi-

mission aircraft, ideal for air medical transport operators. The first completed aircraft was already presold to a charter company planning to add medical transport services to its mission profile. In this case, the medical equipment manu-

facturer collaborated directly with the aircraft manufacturer to pre-fit the Mustang. The air- craft was prewired for the medical equipment provider‘s

advanced life support system with

storage provisions customized to the Mustang. “The versatility of the Mustang and the

quality air medical equipment our air medical vendor produces make this an ideal multi-mis-


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