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Rotorcraft Validation Case Study Q&A

By William GbeleeMay 14, 2021

On March 17th, 2021 we presented the validation case study of the new PRICE Cost Analytics™ Rotorcraft methodology and template (model) library. The case study presented evidence of our models’ reliability and relevance, enabling confidence in using our templates as valid and defensible.  The most asked question was if the slides/presentation will be available, and the answer is yes!  The slides and recording can be seen on the PRICE® Resource Library – click here.

 

Q:  Would love to see how to use this to estimate maintenance, let’s say i replaced some of the systems with a modular backbone that would reduce the weight of the aircraft. I want to know how I could expect a reduction in Maintenance, Repair, and Operation (MRO) supplies as a result. Is there a way i can do that?

A:  Great question! In TruePlanning we have the Hardware Lifecycle which covers MRO. With the Rotorcraft test cases and templates, the Hardware Lifecycle model can be linked with the Hardware WBS elements, and information from the developed Hardware component (including weight) will be used to suggest the Hardware Lifecycle model input values for things like Number of Parts/Modules, Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF), etc. If you reduce the weight, you would likely see changes to these drivers which results in a reduction in MRO cost. And to produce an even better estimate, you can override the TruePlanning estimate and manually enter in the number of parts/modules.

 

Q:  What level of integration, if any, does TruePlanning 16.2 have with SharePoint?

A:  When it comes to SharePoint and TruePlanning, you can save and open TruePlanning files. Also, you can export TruePlanning results to other applications like word or excel through SharePoint if you have SharePoint mapped to a network drive on your computer.

 

Q:  Does PRICE Cost Analytics™ (PCA) (TruePlanning™) support any scripting for automatic data entry?

A:  Great question! The simple answer is yes, PCA’s TruePlanning® supports scripting for automatic data entry. This is supported by the PCA’s Application Programming Interface (API), which empowers you to build custom applications that tap into the TruePlanning estimation engine and data model. The API is built using the Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) standard which supports many programming languages, including Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). The TruePlanning COM API.dll is included with the TruePlanning installation and can be retrieved by navigating to the appropriate TruePlanning release in the following location …\Program Files\PRICE Systems Solutions\TruePlanning\TPApi.dll.

 

Q: What was the source of the actual unit cost you were comparing against?

A:  The source of the actual unit cost that was compared to each test case was based on publicly available information. Sources consisted of the following in order of data quality:

Government Documents (President’s Budget, Selected Acquisition Reports (SAR), Congressional Research Service)

Market Forecasters (Forecast International, Deagel)

Enthusiast Publications (Aviation Weekly, National Defense)

Mainstream Media Sources

 

Q:  You referenced a rule of thumb when you don’t know the split.  What was the 80% Structure to 20% Electronics rule of thumb based on? Seen over x amount of projects?

A:  The short answer is that on average there is an 80/20 split between structure and electronics. Now this is not a silver bullet, but just a practical recommendation early in your estimate when you don’t have any other information.

 

Q:  I went through some of the templates and saw that some aircraft such as the CRH use the legacy assembly system. Is there a way to switch the templates over to the common elements?

A:  Yes, all you need to do is right click on the highest work breakdown structure element and you should see an option to “convert to common elements”.

 

Q:  Nominal production rates – 20% G&A and 12% fee built in? Can it be modified?

A:  Yes, this can be easily modified. The modification can be handled in the worksheet sets which is how TruePlanning generates program cost by monetizing the effort with program specific financials.

 

Q:  How did you account for some of the rotorcraft being derivatives of those that already exist? Did you adjust any learning curve settings based on previous design/production models?

A:  We kept the approach for this iteration of the Rotorcraft test case at the simple estimate level. These test cases are essentially rough order of magnitude estimates (ROMs) for users to take advantage of as a starting point. With that being said, we did not account for any labor or material learning. Our main focus was on the appropriate weight allocation for the air vehicle and establishing a complexity set that produced the best results when compared to actuals.

 

Q:  Do users input known component costs or rates within the model or are they calculated using the parameters we saw in the demo?

A:  They are calculated using the parameters that was presented in the demo.

 

Q:  The example looks very different than the “True Rotocraft” version in which my primary cost drivers are already baked in” so “the propulsion system” is one large cost object. Is this the True Planning version or the True Rotocraft version?

A:  This presentation presented focused on the hardware models and software models in the Hardware and Software Catalogs of TruePlanning.

 

Q:  If SAR is unit cost reference, how do you account for the difference between commercial systems that don’t have a government overhead compared with government-sponsored programs that carry costs for government system program offices amortized over the unit cost?

A:  This was accounted for with the operating specification input. Operating specification in TruePlanning refers to the planned operating environment of your system. Most of the rotorcraft test cases were assigned an Airborne Military operating specification, but there were some commercial rotorcrafts that had an operating specification for Airborne Commercial.

 

Q:  Here is a real curveball question: What if my aircraft is an inflatable, “lighter than air” type craft, like a zeppelin. Obviously, weight is a primary driver, especially in integration costs, but what if the aircraft itself does not weigh anything due to the helium. Would I model the uninflated weight and go from there?

A:  Very interesting question. With this unique scenario, my recommendation would be to model the uninflated weight and go from there because this is similar to the rotorcraft approach of using empty weight.  With this approach, you could model the weight of the primary structures of the zeppelin and not account for the number of individual inflated gasbags.

If you have any more questions, feel free to email us @ events@pricesystems.com or reach out to your solutions architect.  Thank you!