Measuring the return on an airline's training investment is often hard to quantify, but Bruce Hall, general manager of Pratt & Whitney Customer Training, has launched a program to demonstrate to airline customers that providing their engine mechanics with training can save money and improve reliability over the life of an engine.

Hall's analysis shows a direct correlation between mechanic training and longer engine time on-wing and lower maintenance costs, which can ultimately lead to better and more efficient business operations.

"We produced a lot of engine data, including reliability data by customer," Hall said. "When we compared that information to customers who are sending mechanics to us for training, coupled with the amount of training they're receiving, we're able to put some definition to what we've always believed to be true."

Hall said they compared eight years of data on one Pratt & Whitney engine program with customers who sent employees to engine maintenance training for the first three years, versus those who came every year. Not surprisingly, the second group saw a 50 percent drop in costs associated with flight delays and cancellations. Training volume was important as well, as airlines that trained one person per 1,000 hours of operation per year saw better results than those who didn't approach that number. Hall said this was all in-line with expectations given that Pratt & Whitney trains line mechanics responsible for turning the aircraft as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Mechanics are surveyed at the beginning and end of each course to measure knowledge margins by section to determine what has the most impact. Attendees also are asked to complete an additional survey at their convenience once they return to their work to see how the training made a difference in their work operations.

"From our standpoint, the data provides us with valuable information on how to continuously improve our education program, which is a win-win for Pratt & Whitney and our customers," Hall said. "This proves how powerful shared intelligence is when combining engineering and operational expertise together."