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Optimizing every flight

Innovation is the hallmark of Latitude Technologies.

This premier avionics design and manufacturing firm was founded in 2001 in Victoria, British Columbia, with a clear mission to offer the most cost-effective and feature-rich delivery solutions for air-to-ground voice communications, real-time flight data and mission-critical situational awareness.

One of Latitude’s early landmark achievements was its Air Tanker Information System™ (ATIS). By allowing operators and agencies to visualize aerial fire attack data in real time, ATIS pioneered the tracking of water-bombers and set the path for new standards in Automated Flight Following.

“We have always wanted to offer our customers information that allowed them to perform as safely and efficiently as possible,” said Latitude president and founder Mark Insley. “We led the development back then and continue to do so today.”

Today, Latitude supports more than 500 fleet operators in the aerial firefighting, search-and-rescue, medical transport, airborne law enforcement, and military defense sectors. The company also has a growing portfolio of products and services for fixed-wing business aviation and air transport clients. Collectively, this means Latitude has a customer base that covers more than 30 territories and all seven continents.

Insley attributes the company’s growth to a commitment to superior customer service: “We have a drive to understand our clients’ needs and to innovate solutions that perform to the highest standards.”

For example, Latitude’s Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) offering is purpose-built to provide a robust yet lightweight solution that monitors operational safety, engine trend data and fuel consumption. Following the company’s modular design principles, Latitude’s IONode FDM hardware can be paired easily with other Latitude systems, such as ATIS or the SkyNode transceiver hardware. Latitude’s unique FDM solution received a United States patent in October 2018 for innovations related to a wireless data transfer process that streamlines FDM data extraction and ultimately simplifies analysis for operators.

Adding a further layer of value to clients’ air-to-ground communications is Latitude’s newest coordinated communications solution powered by Iridium Push-to-Talk (PTT).

For coordinated operations such as disaster response, the system connects crews in the air with teams on the ground, dispatch management and agency headquarters over wide geographic regions. Backed by Iridium’s global satellite network, it is fully independent of ground-based communication networks, which means issues such as environmental conditions or downed towers do not disrupt the system.

“It is ‘one-key’ dialing that allows for encrypted conversations between an unlimited number of talk groups under all conditions,” said Insley. “In critical situations, you don’t need to know the phone numbers of the party you’re trying to call or to be called anymore. Programming tactical radio frequencies to work out of province/state or even dialing international is no longer an issue. In the heat of the moment, when it really matters most, it makes coordinating communication for disaster relief an entirely new paradigm–talk groups can be set up easily from anywhere and in just a matter of minutes.”

He added that Latitude’s implementation is unique as it also provides Iridium PTT capabilities to Technisonic TDFM radios by exploiting their pilot radio interface. “For operators that have this common equipment onboard, it makes upgrading communications systems easy and negates the need for additional panel space to install a new dialer.”

These types of innovations and design solutions, backed by the highest levels of customer service, are what makes Latitude stand out. Said Insley, “People come to Latitude because of our knowledge and experience. We’re here to deliver that same level of service for many years to come.”

Heli Tech Insight Magazine 2019

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