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Pilots don’t learn to fly to do paperwork–yet they end up doing a lot of it before, during, and after their flights. Likewise, operators and ops managers see the paperwork piling up. Add the increasing demand for audited flight data from both government regulators and safety conscious clients, and it accumulates into a mountain of paperwork and administration time lost.
Fortunately, there is a quick and painless way for pilots and operators to handle it all from their smartphones, tablets and computers, because–as the saying goes–there is an app for that! In this case, the app is an electronic flight bag (EFB) called Cirro–designed, cloud-hosted, and offered on a monthly subscription basis by AirSuite.
Simply put, Cirro puts all aspects of flight planning, documentation, safety management system, reporting, tracking field gear, and even client invoicing into the palm of your hand. It works on all platforms, including Android, Apple, and BlackBerry, and it’s encrypted for maximum data security. The app is quickly gaining popularity among helicopter and fixed-wing operators in Canada and the United States. It also syncs with flight maintenance software packages–this year the company integrated with Flightdocs maintenance software out of Florida.
“My team and I developed Cirro originally as a private in-house app for a Canadian helicopter company who wanted to be audit-ready at all times,” said Mike Kleywegt, CEO of AirSuite. “After a number of auditors told us how much they loved this app, plus the time it was saving for the company’s pilots and managers, we decided to offer it to everyone and we founded our company AirSuite.”
Simply put, “Cirro is the only flight management solution that works on all devices, not just on Apple,” said Kim Latimer, communications manager at AirSuite. “Cirro has a comprehensive risk assessment tool and safety management system, and offline modes so you can work from remote locations when you don’t have any cell service, meaning you don’t lose access to information and saved data or flight itineraries.”
Here’s how it works: Once you load the Cirro app on your smartphone, tablet or computer, you simply go step-by-step through the preflight procedures on screen. It is entirely a touch and tap process.
“Take aircraft weight and balance–Cirro comes with a wide selection of pre-loaded helicopter and fixed-wing profiles,” said Kleywegt. “You just choose the aircraft you’re flying, such as a Bell 412, and the app automatically uses that profile–we can create any aircraft profile–to log and calculate your aircraft weight and balance data, including filing the completed version to the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] or Transport Canada and saving it to our servers in the cloud.”
Using the app, pilots and operators can also tap in their detailed flight plans and itineraries; the system will flag custom waypoints and obstacles along the route. It does real-time flight tracking and warns ops about flight duty time exceedances and overdue flights, while also tracking passengers and equipment. Cirro also manages the airborne transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) by providing and filing electronic dangerous goods manifests, alerts, equivalency certificates and pilot notification forms. It also manages electronic document distribution, tracks certificates and alerts to upcoming and expired items. If a flight is overdue, Cirro’s cloud-based servers automatically trigger telephone, email and text message warnings to pre-designated personnel.
Remote Helicopters in Slave Lake, Alberta, has adopted the system for its 11 aircraft–both on its computers and mobile devices. The company provides services for the petroleum and gas industry, as well as forestry and mining and exploration.
“It’s exactly what we needed,” said Jeff Lukan, president of Remote Helicopters. “Cirro is very easy to use and our pilots can access everything they need in a matter of minutes.”
One cool feature AirSuite developed is Cirro’s billing and invoicing module. “Using data generated during the flight, Remote Helicopters now automatically generates invoices to clients and they can digitally sign-off on invoices right on the mobile device with touchscreen,” said Latimer. “The result is faster, more accurate book-keeping and payment, reducing the workload.”
All told, Cirro is the flight management app that pilots and operators have been asking for, and it’s fully customizable. With Cirro onboard, pilots and operators can focus on what they do best: flying aircraft, rather than pushing paper.