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The age of big data has brought with it many promises for the helicopter industry–from enhanced safety metrics to new operational insights and procedural efficiencies. But does more data actually lead to better business performance for the operator?
It’s all in the system design, says SKYTRAC’s vice president of sales, Jan van der Heul.
“The goals of the big data movement are achieved through intelligent use of data. In 2017, operators are typically looking to receive shorter, more meaningful reports, more frequently. High ITT? Chip light activation? Hard landing? Prompt notifications about these types of critical incidents are more practical than a lengthy FDR [flight data recorder] readout or a once-a-month report,” said van der Heul.
While it requires a lot of data processing to be able to accurately detect critical maintenance and safety exceedances, SKYTRAC’s philosophy is to remove the data mining and analysis burden from the operator.
SKYTRAC captures accurate flight parameters through all phases of flight. The SKYTRAC data acquisition platform is designed to process incoming data from virtually any aircraft sensor including camera and audio inputs.
Information is then analyzed onboard the aircraft. When an exceedance is detected, an alert is emailed in real time to designated ground crew contacts. These short, action-oriented reports are designed to cut through the day-to-day noise of operations, help key staff speed maintenance response times and reduce aircraft on ground (AOG) times.
Additional post-flight processing and comprehensive FDM reporting tools supplement these initial alerts. Full event details can be reviewed through simple online reports, and 3D animations provide flight replay options including situational and dashboard visuals. As with any robust FDM program, incidents are also aggregated and trended over time to assist with issues management and team training.
“It’s a powerful combination,” said van der Heul. “We’re curating the data for the operator, so that the right contacts receive information in the way they need it to best perform their jobs. Our automated real-time exceedance engine sends emails or text messages to the pertinent department to start acting as soon as a critical incident occurs. The full FDM analytics then provide the in depth research points to inform full investigations, SMS programs and ongoing training.”
The approach has been shown to drive tangible results for operators. Clients choose the system to help them proactively identify maintenance issues, streamline repair scheduling and minimize costly aircraft downtime.
One client recently used SKYTRAC’s detailed post-flight logs to pinpoint the cause of an issue that cropped up during pre-season flight tests. In addition to offering diagnostics assistance, the system gave the operator a detailed understanding of the underlying issue and demonstrated their expertise and strong safety culture to their own end clients.
Long trusted for real-time data acquisition and flight tracking services, SKYTRAC has grown to supply diverse data management solutions to clients in the oil-and-gas, air medical, business aviation, commercial transportation and forestry industries. SKYTRAC provides custom and out-of-the-box products and services to assist with monitoring flight data, support real-time voice and text communications, as well as providing business automation tools for streamlining billing, scheduling and third-party reporting requirements.
Today, the SKYTRAC SkyWeb online data management portal is the go-to tool for more than 6,500 global users. SKYTRAC hardware is installed in more than 70 countries and operational on all seven continents.
SKYTRAC products and services are designed to meet aerospace AS9100C quality assurance standards. The company has a network of sales representatives and distributors with worldwide coverage, and supports all clients with 24/7 technical support.