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Inmarsat trial flight to explore cloud-based data recording

Aviation communications specialist Inmarsat is to conduct a demonstration of potential future flight-data recording concepts through a tie-up with Canadian firm FLYHT.

The so-called "black box in the cloud" concept is based on transmission of data which would normally be stored by on-board flight recorders – devices which are vulnerable to loss in the event of an accident in oceanic regions.

Inmarsat intends to trial its SwiftBroadband-Safety high-speed communications product in tandem with FLYHT's flight-information reporting equipment.

The planned demonstration will illustrate the potential benefits of real-time performance monitoring and detection of the possible exceedance of critical parameters.

Inmarsat vice-president of aviation safety Capt Mary McMillan says the technology can also address upcoming ICAO requirements for flight tracking.

The trial will take place using an experimental aircraft later this year, says the company.

Calgary-based FLYHT adds that it will provide "significant expertise" in autonomous distress tracking and recovery of flight data.

"We look forward to testing our solution with Inmarsat and the other trial partners," says chief executive Tom Schmutz.

FLYHT's reporting system transmits aircraft data through satellite networks to a cloud-based data centre for access by aircraft operators.

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