Omniflight helicopters adds flight data monitoring
Air medical services company Omniflight Helicopters Inc. and Appareo Systems LLC, a provider of lightweight flight data monitoring (FDM), flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) tools, and custom engineering services, announced that Omniflight has committed to adding Appareo’s Aircraft Logging and Event Recording for Training and Safety (ALERTS) system to a number of its aircraft.
Under the agreement, Omniflight will begin equipping 35 of its aircraft with the ALERTS system, a hardware and software package that captures all aspects of each flight using an innovative, lightweight inertial measurement device designed specifically for light and legacy aircraft. The system has received several important safety awards, including being named the “Product Breakthrough of the Year” by Aviation Week and Space Technology.
The ALERTS system combines flight data recording, monitoring, and 3-D flight recreation to help aircraft operators minimize risks to their fleets. The system helps pilots maintain safe flying practices by tracking each flight in detail, then automatically analyzing it to be sure that all aspects of the flight were within acceptable limits.
Each of the 35 Omniflight aircraft will be outfitted with Appareo’s GAU 2000 flight data monitoring device, which collects and stores flight information on both a removable SD memory card and an internal crash-hardened flash memory unit. After each shift, flight crews remove the SD card and transfer the information to Appareo’s servers using a specialized computer. This data is automatically parsed and compared against a set of standard operating procedures created by Omniflight. If any aspect of a flight falls outside of those criteria, a report is generated and sent to Omniflight’s safety analysts. After receiving the report, the analyst can download and watch the flight in a rich 3-D format to determine if the matter warrants further attention.
In addition to addressing immediate safety concerns, ALERTS also allows operators to perform long-term analysis of their operations, including the generation of comprehensive performance and trending reports. By using the reporting features of the ALERTS software, operators can quickly identify potentially dangerous trends long before they result in an incident or accident.
“We believe that Appareo’s innovative ALERTS system will prove beneficial as we constantly strive to find ways to enhance our flights and ensure safety. The Appareo system was selected by Omniflight because of its superior technological capabilities and future systems enhancements,” said Ray Wall, vice president, flight operations, safety, and corporate compliance at Omniflight. “In addition to the FOQA benefits of the ALERTS system, we can also use ALERTS as a training tool. For example, upon completion of a training flight, our check airmen can debrief pilots while watching the actual flight playback. This allows our flight crews to gain a much clearer perspective on what was actually occurring while in the air. We believe the ALERTS system can enhance our already strong safety-first commitment, which we bring to all we do.”
November 6, 2009