VIDEO: Real-time safety monitoring saddles up to black boxes

Tonight I’m working on a story about Toronto-based Star Navigation Systems Group’s new in-flight safety monitoring system (ISMS) with GPS tracking software, which is being billed as the perfect counterpart to traditional black boxes, particularly in the aftermath of the 1 June 2009 fatal loss of an Air France Airbus A330 (investigators never found the black boxes). It looks like these lads are onto something.

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3 Responses to VIDEO: Real-time safety monitoring saddles up to black boxes

  1. Lito January 12, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Ok, think I got that.
    So this ISMS picks up several parameters available to the aircraft’s
    CMS/CMC and sends it to a ground base in case of anomalies. Besides that, it also performs monitoring analisys (nowadays a system called ECS/ECM does that). The clip does not talk about the multitude of parameters stored by the FDR, so I think this is not going to replace the black boxes yet (and no voice transmitting capability is mentioned).
    The guys who developed the system were pretty smart though, they created an interface to collect all important data already available in the ARINC system of any modern aircraft…kudos.

  2. anon January 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    I believe that existing ACMS, ACARS and VHF, HF, Satcom data systems on most large commercial aircraft today already provide most of the capabilities that the ISMS system provides. The only thing that ACMS and ACARS can’t do today is to stream full flight data in flight. ISMS may offer a potential weight advantage over these traditional solutions but many mainstream airlines only become interested if the solution is available through Airbus and Boeing and is installed in the factory. The other limitation of the existing ACARS data link systems today is that 1) it is relatively expensive to send data via ACARS; 2) Classic (Inmarsat) Satcom which is installed on most transatlantic aircraft today does not cover the poles 3) the bandwidth is limited (2.4kbps). You may be aware that there have been patent battles between STAR and AMS/FLYHT regarding their solutions. It is notable that as far as I know none of the large “mainstream” or “flag carriers” have installed either system. You might be interested to know that around 90 airlines today are already using GSM technology to “dump” flight recorder data on an every flight or daily basis for use by their FOQA and maintenance departments.

  3. Anon January 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Just as a word of caution, my general experience with Star management thus far (albeit limited), has not been pleasant. Most notably, they make immense claims about their capabilities, but seem to have little substance to back it all up. They do indeed have a product available, but they seem far more intent on litigating against Aeromechanical Services (http://www.amscanada.com/; http://www.flyht.com ), than anything else. The Aeromechanical team, on the other hand, has a great deal going for them. Just a few points to consider (i) they already have over 250 units installed worldwide across a range of platforms/carriers, with another 75+ in backlog; (ii) they’ve signed a reselling agreement with L-3 Aviation Recorders, the 900lb incumbent in the box market, which lends an enormous amount of credibility to their platform; (iii) they were recently selected by Hawker Beech for installation on the Hawker 125; and (iv) they are amongst a select group of companies chosen for the OPTIMI program, working to develop practical positioning and tracking systems for trans-Atlantic flights http://www.icao.int/wacaf/meetings/2010/SAT_FIT5/Docs/OPTIMI_FIT5_IP.pdf

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