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FAA Approves Passive RFID for Grounded Aircraft

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the use of passive RFID technology on and around grounded aircraft.
Tags: Aerospace
Jun 20, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

June 20, 2005—The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the use of passive RFID technology on and around grounded aircraft. The new policy will clear the way for airline manufacturers to use RFID to tag and track aircraft parts, an application of the technology whose return-on-investment has long been justified. Tagging plane parts allows for them to be more quickly located, tracked, and maintained. The new FAA policy, which is expected to be posted on the agency's website next week, does not address the use of passive RFID in planes that are in motion. The next step will be an assessment of using active and semi-active RFID on grounded planes, expected for completion early next year.

Data used by the FAA to develop the new policy was provided by both Boeing and FedEx, who had tested passive RFID on their planes. Boeing had also conducted lab trials. All data indicated that RFID posed no threat to the proper functioning of existing systems. Said Boeing's Program Manager for the Automated Identification Program, Kenneth Porad, "The Boeing position is that the use of passive RFID tags on on-ground planes will have no adverse effect on any installed systems or equipment on an airplane. There were zero failures on both tests."

Airline part tracking has been an area of aggressive RFID adoption. The parts are typically very high-value, making the marginal cost of adding an RFID tag negligible and the potential benefits of curbing shrinkage huge. Like pharmaceuticals, airline part tracking is an early example of item-level tracking. The lessons learned here will later be applied in other industries as RFID prices fall and item-level tracking is adopted on lower ticket items.

See FCW.com for more
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