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FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd., per the Boeing press release dated July 6, 2017, will provide the automated flight information reporting system (AFIRSTM) product and management platform (UpTimeTM Cloud) to Boeing as part of its upcoming flight test program on a FedEx B777 aircraft.
FLYHT will participate in the portion of the ecoDemonstrator Program designed to collect data and produce test reports that are necessary to demonstrate autonomous distress tracking and the timely recovery of flight data in order to drive industry standardization and requirements. FLYHT’s portion of the project was initiated in April 2017 and is expected to be complete in 2018.
The Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program plays a key role in the company’s environmental strategy by using flight testing to accelerate new technologies that can reduce emissions and noise, improve airlines’ gate-to-gate efficiency and help meet other environmental goals.
In 2018 for six weeks, Boeing and FedEx Express will work together to flight-test more than 30 technologies aboard a FedEx-owned 777 Freighter. The two companies are committed to reduction of the environmental impact of their products and in advancing technology that will improve performance.
FLYHT will provide equipment, software, a supplemental type certificate and support to Boeing for this evaluation. This program will test many features including enhancements to AFIRS that will allow the product to stream flight data over different satellite systems, including Iridium and an Inmarsat SwiftBroadband connection.
The flight data information streamed during the test flights will produce real-time animation, demonstrating improved situational awareness of the cockpit during these events. Also, the flight test program will stream real-time cockpit audio–demonstrating that all the “black box” data can be captured this way.
“FLYHT is very excited to work directly with Boeing and FedEx to validate our product’s unique value proposition,” said Tom Schmutz, FLYHT’s chief executive officer. “We have a fantastic solution for autonomous distress tracking and timely recovery of flight data and look forward to testing our newly expanded solution with the Boeing engineering team.”
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) council adopted new provisions to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention (Operation of Aircraft) in March of 2016 that will take effect between now and 2021. These amendments require aircraft to carry autonomous distress tracking devices which can autonomously transmit location information at least once every minute in distress circumstances. Aircraft are also required to be equipped with a means to have flight recorder data recovered and made available in a timely manner.
The ICAO council established performance based provisions which will allow existing and emerging technologies to be used to meet these requirements, so airframers will be required to choose how they will comply. FLYHT has commercially fielded products that provide autonomous distress tracking and flight data recorder streaming, which it first deployed in April 2014 with First Air, a Canadian airline operator.