Navigating the outback: Web Manuals transforms remote operations for Fleet Helicopters

Fleet Helicopters

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Navigating the outback: Web Manuals transforms remote operations for Fleet Helicopters

Australia-based Fleet Helicopters has been providing high quality helicopter solutions for more than 20 years. Undertaking a range of operations, the business comprises two organizations: Fleet Helicopters and its sister company, Commercial Helicopters.

With a total fleet of 15 helicopters, five airplanes and approximately 15 fuel vehicles, Fleet Helicopters is on hand to tackle anything from disaster relief to aerial crane work in the remote outback.

In addition to its core business, Fleet Helicopters also manages its own aircraft maintenance, charter and refueling companies as well as a helicopter pilot school. With such a wide variety of business segments, vehicles and personnel, it’s no surprise that Fleet Helicopters works with an array of safety and operational manuals.

We sat down with Mike Watson, CEO at Fleet Helicopters and Commercial Helicopters to discuss how the company has been using Web Manuals, the difference it has made to the team’s operation and what made our Digital Document System stand out from the crowd.

Talking about the decision to switch to digital, Mike says: “We started using Web Manuals about eight months ago, across all parts of our business, and for a variety of purposes, from safety management to compliance and quality control. As an organization with multiple businesses and a variety of operations, it doesn’t make sense for us to break it up and have separate manuals for each department.

“80% of our manuals can be applied to all arms of the organization and the remaining 20% are company specific. As a result, it is vital for us to have a digital management system that includes all our manuals and documents in one centralized space, and Web Manuals has been key to delivering that.”

Remote location access

Fleet Helicopter’s aircraft are often required to reach remote areas with little to no internet connection. After searching for a long time, Mike was struggling to find any platform that would allow offline access to crucial documentation.

“Web Manuals was the first that could live up to my expectations. For example, all our aviation operations include specific safety briefing checklists that need to be completed when we transport clients. I’ve created all these checklists in Web Manuals, and when we do our safety briefings with the client, we tick all the boxes in the system and submit. It doesn’t matter whether there is reception or not, the system simply uploads as soon as it establishes a connection. It works perfectly, and that is just brilliant.”

Improving efficiency at Fleet Helicopters

Prior to using Web Manuals, Mike would create and edit all the manuals in Microsoft Word. He would then export them as PDFs and print one version for the office. The remaining ones would be uploaded into Air Maestro’s digital library for staff to access.

“Another main goal was to get away from using Microsoft Word as it’s a very time-consuming process. The program makes it hard to create a list of effective pages and revision numbers.

“With Web Manuals, I can easily open up and amend a manual, meaning I can have that new revision out and distributed to all the staff in 20 minutes. Previously it would have taken me a day.”

Air Maestro is a longstanding partner of Web Manuals. In January 2024, we announced our latest integration, designed to facilitate easier document authoring for aviation customers. Significantly enhancing the user experience for customers like Fleet Helicopters, the collaboration eliminates the need for duplicating documents across a platform, simplifies the update process, and enables synchronized folders, categories, and alerts.

“Some of our operations manuals come in seven different volumes and each of them has around 800 pages. Having a digital library not only reduces the weight on the actual aircraft but also saves us tremendous amounts of time when searching for specific information.”

Ease of implementation

Within the company, around 50 people use Web Manuals daily, including administration staff, pilots, and truck drivers. With a range of users, it was important to make the implementation process hassle-free and for the system to be intuitive, easy-to-handle, and straightforward.

“We have many layers of users, who all use the system differently and need access to various manuals. We currently have three licenses for administrators and about 45 readers. When we first started the implementation process, it seemed like it was going to be a massive task that would take up lots of time, but that wasn’t the case.

“The key to a smooth implementation is having a clear document structure in place before starting so that we could use all the features such as the app immediately.”

Web Manuals’ Reader App is a portable type B Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). Available to download on iOS and Android devices, the Reader App offers customers the flexibility to view all the necessary documents anywhere, any time.

“The team at Web Manuals has been incredibly supportive, not only during the initial implementation process but also way beyond that. We were offered as much support as needed, at any time, and that was a promise they kept.”

What’s next?

While Fleet Helicopters is still new to the platform, Mike has already noticed the countless benefits Web Manuals has brought to the table and plans to start using more of the system’s functions.

“I’m already looking into integrating more functions into our daily business, for example, I am really interested in implementing the compliance libraries with Web Manuals because we comply with all the CASA rules and regulations for aviation here in Australia. I am also excited for the new AI feature which will become available soon.”

Playing an integral role in streamlining operations and ensuring regulatory compliance Web Manuals will continue to support Fleet Helicopters as they reap the benefits of the platform and explore its full potential, helping the company thrive in a dynamic industry landscape.