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Smart technology to help pilotsSmart technology to help pilots

A new breed of connected devices has been gaining momentum across the general aviation industry that combines wireless technology with the ease of use of a smartphone. These solutions help pilots manage preflight and postflight procedures while providing convenience, safety, and security for aircraft and hangar operations.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

For example, products like Switchbox and Hangarbot take advantage of cellular connectivity and enable pilots to start engine preheating remotely. For many, it means no more driving to the airport hours before a flight and having to wait for the engine’s temperature to reach a desired level. The engine preheating process is fully controlled through a mobile application and can be initiated from anywhere in the world. And additional devices like the Tanis Cabin Heater or a coffee maker can be controlled by the same connected products.

If you happen to live in northern states where snow lingers, there are now automatic snow melting systems available to pilots. These systems feature heating elements that can be installed in asphalt or concrete that can be activated remotely through a phone app while saving you the time and effort of shoveling snow before you roll out the airplane. If you are interested in these solutions, products by Lynk Remote TechnologiesSnow Melting Solution, or WarmlyYours can help you keep your concrete or asphalt free of ice and snow year-round.

Other connected products turn a regular hangar into a “smart home” for your aircraft. They bring internet connectivity to any place where cellular coverage is available and offer the convenience of touchless operations, video monitoring, and ability to remotely control any device plugged into a power outlet.

With automated hangar solutions, pilots are empowered to remotely operate a hangar’s door by simply pressing a button on a smartphone and being able to watch it move via live video stream. Do you need to let your mechanic or FBO personnel inside the hangar, but they don’t have a spare key? No problem. By installing smart door sensors and a W-iFi-enabled door controller, you can let them inside the hangar to service your aircraft, watch the work in a safe manner, and lock the door after they leave the hangar even if you are hundreds of miles away. If you would like to learn more about smart platforms that offer automation, security, and remote operation, take a look at solutions developed by Hangarbot.

“Hangar rash” is another major concern of many pilots who store their aircraft inside hangars with multiple aircraft. By adding small video cameras with motion detector sensors around your airplane, you can monitor its surroundings 24/7 and see who came in close contact with it. These video monitoring systems can be accessed from anywhere in the world and can notify you if they sense anything suspicious. Cameras developed by Ring offer security with ultra-bright LED and siren.

Many companies provide innovative and inexpensive solutions that help pilots protect their aircraft and offer added convenience via easy-to-install and easy-to-operate systems. Whatever system you choose, make sure it offers an extendable software platform so you may add other components as your needs grow over time.

—By Alex Filatov

Topics: Apps, Technology

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