SKYTRAC Systems Ltd. (SKYTRAC), a global leader in satellite communications (satcom) and intelligent connectivity solutions, announced, in partnership with Omni Helicopters International (Omni), and VIH Aviation Group, that they have enabled the most connected helicopter in the world – the first of its kind.
Omni’s S-92, to be used for Search and Rescue (SAR) off the shores of Guyana, will feature truly globally connectivity through SKYTRAC’s Iridium Certus satellite, 4G/LTE cellular, and Wi-Fi intelligent connectivity solutions. The helicopter will be capable of delivering dozens of mission capabilities including automated flight following and mission management, medical data transfer, cockpit and cabin connectivity, real-time aircraft exceedance alerting, post-flight automated data offloading, real-time image transfers, satellite Push-to-Talk (PTT), satcom voice, text-based messaging, and email capabilities.
“Omni was delighted to work with SKYTRAC and VIH to complete the return to service of this exceptionally capable Sikorsky S-92A Search & Rescue helicopter against an exceptionally tight deadline,” said Duncan Moore, Omni’s Group Chief Operating Officer. “Omni has a passion for innovation and technology, and so we could not resist the opportunity to load the helicopter with tech knowing that the connectivity might help save lives – that was all the motivation we needed,” concluded Moore.
The integration, completed by VIH Aviation Group in Victoria, BC on behalf of Omni, features SKYTRAC’s ISAT-200A onboard server and data acquisition terminal, SkyLink 7100 Iridium Certus connectivity system, Cockpit Display Panel and Dispatch Voice Interface (CDP/DVI) for voice and text communications, and associated antennas.
“Working on the S-92 project was a truly collaborative effort by the entire VIH Aerospace team,” said Jeff Norie, President and CEO of VIH Aerospace. “Our people, our can-do attitude, and our commitment to quality is the value-added differentiator which sets us apart from our competitors. It was truly a pleasure to team up with Omni and SKYTRAC to bring this challenging project to successful completion.”
SKYTRAC’s stalwart ISAT-200A, now in its seventh generation, will enable voice, PTT, and data acquisition capabilities and will interface with onboard avionics systems to enable monitoring of aircraft performance parameters. The ISAT-200A, featuring multiple digital and analog interfaces, will be used to acquire and transmit aircraft exceedances in real-time to alert Operational Control Centres (OCCs), providing timely notifications for enhanced maintenance planning. With real-time data transmission, OCCs will be able to analyze exceedance data in real-time to provide advanced alerting to maintenance crews and add an additional layer of oversight to the aircraft data monitoring process.
The SkyLink will enable up to 88 Kbps of LEO satellite, up to 50 Mbps of 4G/LTE cellular, and will also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for onboard cockpit EFBs, PEDs, and medical devices. The SkyLink will be capable of transmitting photos in real-time through powerful cellular and satellite connectivity to aid in SAR efforts when applicable.
Armed with the ISAT-200A’s and SkyLink’s powerful intelligent connectivity capabilities, Omni will also be able to stream real-time patient data with 99.9% uptime reliability with resilient satcom in locations where cellular connectivity is unavailable with the ability to dynamically switch to cellular networks when 4G/LTE connectivity is in range. This capability, called Medical Data Transfer, will provide continuous monitoring and transmission of critical patient data from the incident site to the hospital, enabling receiving physicians to prepare in advance of a patient’s arrival.
“We are extremely proud of this collaborative effort between Omni Helicopters, VIH, and SKYTRAC to enable what is the world’s most connected Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter,” said Jan van der Heul, VP Sales and Marketing, SKYTRAC. “Connected aircraft platforms are integral for state-of-the-art operators, and we stand by our ability to deliver truly global connectivity from any point on Earth.”
The world’s most connected helicopter will be on display at Sikorsky Booth C1020 at the Georgia World Congress Center during HAI HELI-EXPO. For more information on SKYTRAC products and capabilities, visit SKYTRAC at HAI HELI-EXPO Booth B1420, or visit SKYTRAC.ca to connect with a technical expert.