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Working Week: David Barry

David Barry is the new chief operating officer at Flight Data Services. The Fareham, UK-based company provides technologies that allow airlines to browse flight data over the internet and monitor their fuel use

Tell us about your career before joining Flight Data Services

I have always had a huge enthusiasm for aviation and took my first part-time job in the industry with British Air Ferries just before my sixteenth birthday. It was weekend work while I was at school, but it paid for a few flying lessons. I went on to study aerospace engineering, and soon after leaving university I joined Flight Data, which specialised in all things related to flight data.

This gave me a good grounding in flight data recording technologies and introduced me to flight data monitoring. My next job was to help set up and develop flight data monitoring at BMI, well before it became a mandatory requirement. During my time at BMI I studied air safety management at City University and took on more operational safety responsibilities, until I left last year to join Flight Data Services.

What does the company do and what does your job as chief operating officer involve?

FDS is a specialist provider of flight data monitoring to airlines of all sizes, from corporate operators to major carriers. We have extensive experience in three key areas, flight data, safety and IT. Our customers can elect to outsource flight data monitoring to us and we will take care of all data processing and validation, allowing our customers to focus on results rather than process.

Alternatively, we can offer a more traditional approach where we process flight data and the customer uses our web-based tools to analyse and interrogate the data themselves. Either way, our aim is to act as an extension of our customer's own safety departments. My role is to implement the strategy and objectives set by chief executive and FDS owner Dave Jesse.

What do you enjoy most - the people side of the business or the technology itself?

Both. I am fortunate to work with a bright team who are passionate about improving safety and innovating new products and services to help our customers improve safety. The team at FDS comes from a diverse range of backgrounds, mathematicians, pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers. That gives us an intriguing mix of different viewpoints.

On the technology side it is very rewarding to see innovation happening. Our enthusiastic developers are continually pushing boundaries and looking for ways to move flight data monitoring into the next generation.

 ©Flight Data Services
Barry: responsible for implementing Flight Data Services strategy

Is Flight Data Services working on anything new?

Traditionally airlines have had to administer IT infrastructure, employ flight data specialists and spend large amounts of time churning data. We're moving monitoring away from that to a "cloud"-based approach. Our model allows our customers to upload data to us and then focus on the resulting safety information we produce. They can use our suite of web-based tools to investigate incidents, animate flight data or dig deep into safety trend data.

There is a wealth of information in modern flight data, so we are constantly looking for new ways to help our customers maximise operational efficiencies and reduce their fuel bills.

What sort of people are you looking for to join the company?

We have a low turnover of staff at our offices in the UK and USA. However, the company is growing rapidly and we recruit regularly. We sometimes look for a particular skillset, particularly among our development team. However we don't always look for people with previous flight data experience. Sometimes we look for individuals who can add something different to our team and then we train them on all things flight data and safety. Above all we look for people with the right attitude; the rest can be learned.


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