Tech Bytes

The latest tech news for April 2007.

  • ARINC Direct announces it will add streamlined APIS (Advance Passenger Information System) reporting and verification services to its portfolio of flight services for business aviation. The new capabilities will be provided through a partnership with SecureTRANSIT, Inc., a leading provider of APIS services for commercial airlines. ARINC Direct will integrate the APIScontrol and APISadvisor applications of SecureTRANSIT into its standard flight services portfolio.
  • Meanwhile, ARINC also has contracted with Edmo Distributors of Spokane, WA to handle the wholesale distribution of its ARINC eFlyBookTM document viewer to the general aviation market. Edmo is the world's largest distributor of aircraft electronics, with a network of 9,000 active resellers. The eFlyBook viewer is easier to read, with an "electronic paper" display visible under any lighting conditions used by pilots to store and read electronic documents.

  • American Science and Engineer-ing, Inc. announces a contract awarded from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for its second generation Z PortalTM system for drive-through cargo and vehicle screening. Configured with proprietary three-sided Z Backscatter imaging, the Z Portal will be deployed at a security checkpoint to inspect for threats and contraband at a strategic DOD facility.

AS&E creates Z Backscatter images showing organic materials by directing a sweeping beam of x-rays at the object under examination, and then measuring and plotting the intensity of scattered x-rays as a function of the beam position, revealing the threats including explosives, plastic weapons, and drugs.

  • Other news from AS&E: The SmartCheck ‘backscatter' system, an x-ray security scanner that can see through clothing, had its first live test February 23rd at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and could be rolled out at Los Angeles International Airport and New York's JFK International Airport by year's end. TSA began using backscatters to screen airline passengers for weapons. The machines have been modified with a "privacy algorithm" to address privacy issues.

During the pilot program, the machine will be used only as a secondary screening measure; passengers who fail the standard screening process will be able to choose between the new device and a typical pat-down search.
Blue Sky Network announces the expansion to its aviation product line with the D2000MA/MDA, a compact carry-on flight tracking device. It supplies customers with real-time position reporting of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft and provides continuous text messaging and short code reporting between pilots and ground crew.
After nearly spending four years and more than $1 billion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented entry capabilities at most ports of entry; however, it has not implemented a biometric exit capability or a suitable alternative.

As of December 2006, U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) had deployed and was operating entry capability at 115 airports, 14 seaports, and 154 of 170 land ports of entry. According to program officials, testing and analysis of a non-biometric solution identified numerous performance and reliability problems, and such an alternative technology does not meet legislative requirements. DHS projects that advances over the next five to ten years will allow solutions that do not require major infrastructure changes, but the prospects for such technology remain uncertain.
The FLO Alliance (Fast Lane Option) has announced that Huntsville International Airport (HSV) has selected FLO to develop the airport's Registered Traveler program, marking the continued expansion of the RT program in the U.S. The news of FLO's first airport customer comes just after the company received TSA certification as an RT vendor in January. The FLO Alliance's biometrically secured FLO card will allow qualified individuals to take advantage of expedited security screening procedures in designated lanes at participating airports as well as promotional offers and discounts offered by retail partners.

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