AeroMechanical Services Ltd. (AMA) Advanced Aircraft-to-Ground System Upgraded for Continuous Data Streaming

AeroMechanical Services Ltd. TSX-V Trading Symbol "AMA" A Tier 2 Industrial Issuer CALGARY , June 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - AeroMechanical Services, Ltd has completed testing of an upgrade to its Automated Flight...


AeroMechanical Services Ltd. TSX-V Trading Symbol "AMA" A Tier 2 Industrial Issuer

CALGARY , June 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - AeroMechanical Services, Ltd has completed testing of an upgrade to its Automated Flight Information Reporting System (afirs(TM)) that allows continuous streaming of GPS position and aircraft parameter data from aircraft to ground in addition to the currently deployed event-driven reporting of position and selected aircraft data. The prototype development started several years ago with Aloha Airlines, but was interrupted when Aloha ceased operations in 2008. Because of afirs(TM)'s use of the Iridium satellite constellation and its own GPS receiver, afirs(TM) can report from any point on the earth to any other point through its internet delivery system.

As the data are analyzed to find the causes of the Air France Flight 447 tragedy, calls are being made for a "live black box", a method of streaming critical flight information in real time to provide insight into incidents in the event that an aircraft's Flight Data Recorder cannot be recovered. Even though the aircraft may have been operating out of radar coverage, Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200, was very well equipped with a system that transmitted aircraft status and position data via a satellite communications method, without which the aviation community would have limited information with which to proceed with the accident investigation. Yet even aircraft equipped with these advanced technologies (and many are not) are subject to the limitations inherent in any system that is not programmed to automatically "stream" (continuously transmit) position and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) data in real time under a set of pre-defined conditions (e.g., loss of cabin pressurization, rapid change in altitude or attitude, engine failure, or excessive "g" loads). At a time when calls are being made for new technologies and changes to legacy systems, it should be made clear that such solutions currently exist, are certified for aviation use, and are commercially available.

Under the brand of FLYHT, AeroMechanical Services (AMS) of Calgary, Alberta, Canada manufactures and markets the afirs(TM) 220, a "smart" box capable of being programmed with any number of specific conditions that would trigger a streaming mode for position and FDR data. afirs(TM) provides an automated link between onboard avionics (including GPS and the FDR), a global satellite network called Iridium that has no coverage gaps anywhere on the globe, and a ground based web server called UpTime that automatically routes messages to any designated recipient, all within seconds. afirs(TM) also provides an independent 2-way voice capability for crews to contact ground personnel, also over Iridium with no coverage gaps anywhere in the world. The afirs(TM) system uses an Iridium satellite modem that is capable of streaming data to the ground at a rate of 2400 bits per second from anywhere around the globe. Iridium provides sufficient bandwidth for afirs(TM) to send pre-defined parameters recorded each second by the Flight Data Recorder. Unused bandwidth is available to send additional data recorded every second by the AFIRS system, including valuable GPS position and certain discrete parameters not usually recorded by FDRs. In normal operations, reports are typically sent every 5 minutes, but that reporting interval can be adjusted either by the operator or automatically by an event on board. The periodic data stream occurs automatically when the afirs(TM) system functions in "normal" mode and transmits key operational data by means of short burst data (SBD). When a critical condition is detected, the afirs(TM) system can automatically switch to emergency mode and start streaming data. The combination of normal transmissions of short burst data and emergency streaming of critical position and FDR data is a significant contribution to aircraft safety and efficiency as well as being cost effective.

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