FARGO, North Dakota (March 8, 2022) — Phoenix Heli-Flight, a charter helicopter company based in Alberta, Canada, today announced plans to upgrade the Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) systems on its fleet of Airbus Helicopters aircraft to Appareo’s recently-certified AIRS-400 4K Ultra HD flight data recorder. The announcement was made today at the HAI HELI-EXPO conference in Dallas, Texas.
“When I first met the Appareo team at HELI-EXPO in 2007, I had no idea how essential their products would be to the future success of our company. Following a fatal and easily preventable crash that year, Phoenix Heli-Flight installed Appareo GAU 2000 flight data recorders in all company helicopters, and subsequently upgraded to the Vision 1000. Appareo’s hardware and software have been the cornerstone of our Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) program for 15 years. Appareo’s commitment to upgrading their product offering with the AIRS-400 aligns with Phoenix’s commitment to safety and we are eager to install these units,” said Paul Spring, President & CEO, Phoenix Heli-Flight Inc.
In January, Appareo was granted Part 27 STC AML for AIRS-400, its 4K ultra-high-definition Airborne Image Recording System (AIRS). In addition to recording 4K Ultra HD video, AIRS-400 captures pilot intercom system audio, ambient audio, and detailed flight data. With its inertial measurement units, AIRS-400 captures WAAS GPS (altitude, latitude, longitude, ground speed, vertical speed), attitude data (pitch, roll, yaw), rates of rotation, and acceleration data (G forces) — all in a unit that weighs 11 ounces. It is equipped for cellular data offload and comes with options for ARINC 429 input, ED-155 audio output, and RS-422 output, making it the most versatile and flexible lightweight flight data recorder on the market.
Phoenix Heli-Flight Inc. is a privately owned company that has been in operation for 30 years, and is a regional leader concentrating on providing the most modern types and models of aircraft possible. Since starting the business in 1991 with one leased AStar, Phoenix has grown its fleet of helicopters to be the most modern in Canada, including both single and twin turbine engine light helicopters. [Source: phoenixheliflight.com]
“Phoenix Heli-Flight has always been committed to safety,” said Kris Garberg, Appareo Aviation President. “Paul Spring and his team recognize the value of accurate flight data, and for more than 15 years they’ve been successfully using that information to advance safety and reduce risk as part of their FOQA program. We are pleased to continue our partnership as they upgrade their fleet with AIRS-400,” Garberg said.
The initial STC AML for AIRS-400 includes Airbus AS350, Bell 206, and Bell 407. Appareo’s AIRS-400 is one of the easiest FDM devices to install because it is a small, self-contained system requiring only aircraft power, ground, and GPS antenna connections. The simple installation makes it easy to obtain aircraft field approvals. Appareo plans to add to the STC AML in the future. AIRS-400 is now shipping. Read the original original product announcement for more information.
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The FAA released a Fact Sheet that lists several NTSB recommendations, followed with the FAA’s considerations and actions being taken. Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) is one of the recommendations for how to improve the safety of Part 135 aircraft flight operations.
“The crash-resistant flight recorder system should record cockpit audio and images with a view of the cockpit environment to include as much of the outside view as possible,” the NTSB recommended on the fact sheet. However, the document stated that the FAA is not considering rulemaking at this time for these recommendations, saying, “The FAA will examine possible ways of polling operators through their aviation safety inspectors to identify voluntary flight data monitoring (FDM) system equipage rates.”
Read the full FLYING article: FAA Responds to NTSB’s “Most Wanted” Safety Recommendations.
View the NTSB Most Wanted List for 2019-2020 here.
View the FAA Fact Sheet here.
Appareo provides a turnkey flight data monitoring system that includes the Vision 1000, a low-cost flight data recording solution that can be utilized on any aircraft. Click here to learn more about our flight data monitoring and flight operations quality assurance solutions.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements outlines the critical changes that are needed to reduce transportation accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) is one of the recommendations for how to improve the safety of Part 135 aircraft flight operations:
Part 135 operators must implement safety management systems that include a flight data monitoring program, and they should mandate controlled flight-into-terrain-avoidance training that addresses current terrain-avoidance warning system technologies.
According to the NTSB website…
The Problem: Most of the organizations that conduct Part 135 operations do not have—and are not required to have—a safety management system (SMS), flight data monitoring (FDM), or controlled flight into terrain (CFIT)-avoidance training program. These programs enable operators to take a strategic approach to safety management, requiring that safety-focused policies, practices, and procedures be implemented to keep aircrews and passengers safe. SMS and FDM programs also yield data that can be used to improve safety practices to better prevent accidents.
What can be done: We know that SMS, FDM, and CFIT programs can improve safety and prevent crashes. We currently have 21 open safety recommendations addressing the safety gap in Part 135 operations. Operators must be proactive about safety; they should not wait for regulations or an accident to move them to action. Some operators have already incorporated SMS, FDM, and CFIT programs and are seeing tremendous safety returns.
Appareo provides a turnkey flight data monitoring system, including the Vision 1000, a low-cost flight data recording solution that can be utilized on any aircraft.