Flight Data Systems is Exhibiting at AEA Convention 2021

Flight Data Systems is Exhibiting at AEA Convention 2021

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Flight Data Systems is proud to exhibit AEA Convention 2021 at Booth 609. Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) is a global, self-sustaining organization that provides communications, networking events and access to government-certified international aviation manufacturers and educational institutions.

In 2021, the Hilton Anatole is set to host the annual AEA International Convention and Trade Show in Dallas from June 22-25. Since 1957, this event has become the largest general aviation trade show for avionic manufacturers, distributors, and government-certified repair stations. Previously to be held in March, the trade show was postponed due to the pandemic. With the event rescheduled this year, attendees will have an opportunity to reconnect with hundreds of leaders in the industry, including Flight Data Systems.

Flight Data Systems’ VP Sales, Kerry Farrish (kerry.farrish@flightdata.aero), Business Development Executive, Scott Hall (scott.hall@flightdata.aero) will be in attendance from June 22 to June 25 to speak about our robust ecosystem of flight data products and solutions.

Register for the conference today

Participants are encouraged to register in advance of the tradeshow.


Flight Data Systems is Attending MRO Americas 2021

Flight Data Systems is Attending MRO Americas 2021

Book a Meeting with our Representatives

Flight Data Systems is proud to attend their first tradeshow of the year at MRO Americas 2021. This event marks the beginning of the return of aerospace events around the globe, and we are eager to meet our valued partners and clients.

MRO Americas is dedicated to connecting suppliers with leading airlines, OEMs, and buyers for the MRO community. This 2021 edition of MRO Americas is focused on more domestic/regionalized versions of past MRO Americas due to international travel restrictions brought forth by COVID-19.

Flight Data Systems’ VP Sales, Kerry Farrish (kerry.farrish@flightdata.aero) and Business Development Executive, Scott Hall (scott.hall@flightdata.aero) will be participating at the event on Tuesday, April 27 and Wednesday April 28 to speak about our robust ecosystem of flight data products and solutions.

Register for the conference today

Participants are encouraged to register for the Virtual and Live sessions.


What is a Flight Data Recorder?

In aerospace, there are three different types of recording devices in an aircraft – a flight data recorder (FDR), a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), and a combined cockpit voice and flight data recorder (CVFDR). Together, these devices document an aircraft's flight history and provide vital information for flight investigations and fleet managers.

Flight Data Recorders are Orange, Not Black

FDRs, also known as black boxes, are actually coloured bright orange to assist in locating these systems in an aircraft's recovery efforts. The term black box began during WWII by British troops, during the integration of radio, radar, and electronic navigational aids during aircraft combat. Initially, these boxes were designed in non-reflective black box housings. Today, FDRs are now coloured with orange paint to provide high visibility for swift location and identification during an aircraft recovery.

FDRs receive inputs from specific data frames via flight-data acquisition units (FDAU). These data frames record flight parameters, such as control and actuator positions and engine information. Most regulatory requirements state a minimum of 88 parameters are to be recorded while an aircraft is in flight.

Other parameters can be recorded and then analyzed to predict and detect maintenance issues onboard a plane to avoid a plane systems’ failure. To protect the information on these devices, flight recorders are designed to withstand a crash and are usually installed in the tail section of an aircraft.

Early Aircraft Flight Data Recorder Systems

In the 1940s, the first modern FDR called the “Mata Hari,” was designed by Finnish aviation engineer Veijo Hietala. It was engineered to record all critical details during flight tests for Finnish army fighter aircraft. This version of the FDR was popularized following successful uses during World War II by British and American air forces.

A black box from the side of commercial airplane.

Flight Data Recording Requirements Today

Inflight data recorders are required by global aerospace regulatory authorities. Global FDR requirements are overseen by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and have been mandated in the United States since 1967.

Recommendations and standard practices relating to FDRs are outlined in ICAO Annex 6 and relate to industry standards for crashworthiness and fire protection specifications. In the US, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) provides regulatory measures on all aspects of aviation in US airspace. The FAA states their Technical Standard Order is based on European Organisation for Civil Aviation Equipment (EUROCAE) documents, which is the industry authority that standardizes performance requirements within most air authorities.

EUROCAE standards currently specify that FDRs must withstand an impact shock of 3400 g’s. Also outlined by the EUROCAE, an FDR must be designed to withstand penetration, static crush, high and low temperatures, deep-sea pressure, fluid immersion and retain its ULB attachment.

EUROCAE ED-112 (Minimum Operational Performance Specification for Crash Protected Airborne Recorder Systems) outlines the minimum requirements for FDR devices. This includes cockpit audio, images, and communications, navigation, and surveillance systems.

To aid in accident investigation, "FLIGHT RECORDER DO NOT OPEN" must be lettered on one side in English. FDRs must also be equipped with an underwater locator beacon, which automatically activates during an accident in water.

The Growth of CVFDR Technology

Rapid advancements in CVFDR technology have aided flight investigations, as today's recorders are trending smaller and lighter, with more storage space for recording hours. 

Throughout global airspace, CVFDR requirements are steadily increasing and adapting to more powerful technologies. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is currently leading the way with recent requirements that require all CVFDRs installed on fixed-wing and rotorcraft airframes to be in the solid-state form (replacing the magnetic tape-recording method). Additionally, EASA now requires all aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 59,500 lbs., with a Certificate of Airworthiness (CoA) on or after Jan. 1, 2021, must be equipped with a 25-hour CVFDR.

With additional EASA and FAA requirements now being phased in to capture data link messaging to and from an aircraft, one can truly see how far CVR technology has advanced over the last few decades.

The SENTRY Flight Data Recorder Platform

Flight Data Systems provides several options to capture and record flight data.

In 2020, Flight Data Systems unveiled the SENTRY series of Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorders (CVFDR). This unique design is FAA TSO approved and is the world's smallest, lightest, and lowest power FDR series that is fully EUROCAE ED-112A compliant. Today, the SENTRY is an industry leader in SWaP optimizations, designed to maximize power restraints onboard an aircraft.

The SENTRY is ideal for all aviation platforms, including civil, military, fixed-wing, rotorcraft, and unmanned aviation. It offers digital and analog interfaces and integrates seamlessly into all aircraft types. Its multiple configuration options include FDR, CVR, data link, recorder independent power and CVFDR systems.

SENTRY’s Unique Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)

The unit's software-free technology allows for aircraft-specific configurations, customization, and expansion capabilities for installation onboard an aircraft. In the SENTRY design, all functionality is implemented solely in a programmable logic device (PLD) with no required software.

Furthermore, the field-programmable gate array (FPGA) based design allows performance optimization with less power consumption. Since FPGA’s do not go obsolete nearly as often as microprocessors, operators can keep their non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs down. The FPGA’s also allows for a partition of a design, which can make re-certification much quicker when a design change is made and if the design change is limited to one partition.

Other FDR and CVFDR systems today do not use this FPGA design. FPGAs are used as companion devices in traditional systems to improve functionality (such as an ARINC 717 or ARINC 429 decoder) and are coupled with a standard processor, which performs traditional high-level processing tasks, including storage, wear leveling, and built-in testing.

Additionally, Flight Data Systems' Modular Acquisition Unit (MAU) supports the SENTRY's expansion capabilities, which converts the unit’s capabilities into a data acquisition and crash recorder system, and more.

Conclusion

The evolution of FDRs and CVFDRs throughout the history of air travel has provided aerospace with more powerful technologies to ensure stable and secure data for flight investigations. The cost of flight investigations is substantial, and operators today are requiring information faster and more effectively. As these systems have become more critical, their usages have also increased, including providing fleet maintenance reports for motoring aircraft health and improving safety. Over the past century, FDRs have ultimately improved aerospace safety and continue to deliver more insights from every flight to guide future aerospace developments.

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Flight Data Systems Appoints New President, Anthony Rios

IRVING, TX., April 6, 2021 –  Flight Data Systems (FDS), a leading provider of flight data solutions for the business, military, and commercial aviation segments, has named Anthony Rios as President, effective immediately. Mr. Rios will succeed Darren Privitera, who will remain the Managing Director through May 2021. Mr. Privitera will remain with the organization to collaborate with Rios on developing long-term strategies for the organization.

In his new role, Mr. Rios will manage Flight Data Systems’ global operations in Dallas, Melbourne, and London, and will aid in synergizing the organization’s product portfolio with a focus on innovation.

“After an extensive search, we are proud to announce Anthony as the new President of Flight Data Systems,” mentions Michael Wilkerson, Vice President of Aviation and Government Businesses, ACR Electronics. “Anthony’s passion for aviation and rich executive experience in sales, engineering, and operations makes him the ideal candidate to further develop Flight Data Systems’ strong position in the market.”

Anthony Rios, President, Flight Data Systems

An entrepreneurial leader with domestic and international experience in strategy development, sales, product development, operations, and engineering, Rios brings two decades of experience with innovative, aviation technology start-ups as well as established market leaders. His unique combination of business skills and the deep technical credibility gained through 13 years of engineering experience solidifies Rios as the ideal candidate for the role.

“I am excited about leading Flight Data Systems into its next chapter of growth,” mentions Rios. “We have a talented, multinational workforce with key partnerships already in place and an impressive array of technologies and solutions for business, commercial, and military segments of aviation. I look forward to leading this company and strengthening our partnerships within the community and industry.”

Rios holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), an FAA Commercial Pilot License (SEL-PPL, MEL-PPL, MEL-CPL, Instrument, High Performance/Complex, CE500 Type Rating) and regularly flies General Aviation aircraft for business and pleasure.

Rios is the latest member of Flight Data Systems’ leadership team which includes recent additions Kerry Farrish, Vice President of Sales, and David Mewbourne, Director of Engineering.


Connecting the Rotorcraft Industry Through Flight Data

Flight Data Systems is a longstanding member of Helicopter Association International (HAI), which provides support and services with industry guidelines for the international helicopter community.

As an active member, Flight Data System participates in HAI events throughout the year, including HAI HELI-EXPO. This event offers a valuable opportunity for our team to network and connect with our various rotor-wing partners, worldwide.

In 2021, HAI made the difficult decision to cancel HAI HELI-EXPO 2021, which was initially scheduled for late March in New Orleans. Flight Data Systems looks forward to connecting with all our rotorcraft industry partners again at HAI HELI-EXPO 2022, scheduled for next March in Dallas, Texas.

At HAI's 2020 HELI-EXPO, the SENTRY recorder platform made one of its initial debuts to international rotorcraft operators. HELI-EXPO delivered an ideal platform for our partners to interact with the new SENTRY family, including the TSO-approved Flight Data Recorder, Cockpit Voice Recorder, and the combined Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder (CVFDR).

HAI's events enable us to showcase our flight data ecosystem and provides operators with a glimpse of the latest tools for maximizing their fleet management capabilities. Connecting with our support team at HAI events also facilitates opportunities for one-on-one support and recommendations on our existing product line.

With organizations such as HAI, Flight Data Systems can refine its products and services to align with today's global rotorcraft industry's needs. We are looking forward to meeting all our HAI connections again in 2022.

Learn more about HAI at www.rotor.org.


Are You Aware of the New Mexican Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder Mandates?

Mandates for flight data recording technologies, including Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) and Flight Data Recorders (FDR), are being integrated across international air space to provide fast and secure data collection capabilities from an aircraft for flight investigations and fleet management. 

Amongst the latest to impose new regulations for CVR and FDR recorders is Mexico. The Civil Aviation Federal Agency is enforcing changes over the next year. From Dec. 31, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2022, aircraft are to be equipped with CVR and FDR systems – based on the number of aircraft within an operator’s fleet. These rules apply to fixed-wing aircraft with ten or more passengers and large helicopters flying into Mexican airspace under an international air operator certificate. 

While strict CVR and FDR regulations are blanketing the international air space, recording devices are also evolving to allow impressive data capturing capabilities for more operational applications. 

Two Solutions to the Mexican Mandate

In 2020, Flight Data Systems unveiled the latest TSO’d, DO-160G qualified and fully EUROCAE ED-112 compliant SENTRY (FDR/CVR/CVFDR) recorder, as the world’s smallest, lightest, and lowest power ED-112A compliant flight recorder ever manufactured. The SENTRY’s initial design was for a very small aircraft, and the unit was strictly configured around the principle of reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP), at just 4.7 lb (2.1kg) with a power consumption of 4 W (less than half that of many competitor’s CVR or FDR devices). 

To design the SENTRY, Flight Data Systems worked with both civil and military operators to develop this robust, all-encompassing unit that delivers the best future-proof features to ensure the system’s quality, with extensive consideration for the size constraints often found in the retrofit market. Its final configuration was designed from various elements of existing recorders on the market, with special consideration to future needs. In the end, the system produced was an obsolescence-free, crash survivable package with the lowest SWaP for ED-112A compliant recorders.

For operators opting to keep their current CVRs or FDRs, Flight Data Systems Modular Acquisition Unit (MAU) allows multiple aircraft sensor feeds to be harmonized into one data feed. This system will support a wide range of signal input types, including, ARINC 429, analog inputs such as synchro, frequency / tachometer, and discretes. The MAU’s stackable footprint provides operators with the ability to install in a wide variety of aircraft, including fixed-wing, rotor-wing, and UAV.

The SENTRY and MAU provide customizable solutions for operators of all aircraft types and the option to conform to international regulations with an end-to-end solution that stores all flight information securely and reliably in a single form factor. To learn more about the SENTRY and to download its brochure, visit https://flightdata.aero/products/sentry-recorder/.

Interested in learning more? Contact us:


Shayne Boswell: Taking Flight Data to New Heights

With over 35 years of experience in the aviation industry, Flight Data Systems’ Services Manager Shayne Boswell delivers a wealth of knowledge to our valued partners. With an extensive aerospace background, Shayne supports various industry segments and global partnerships with expert care.

His unique avionic insights provide a solid base for our success by delivering solutions that drive ROI and isolate our customers’ maintenance issues. He also supports an expansive list of operator readout services for our global aviation partners. According to Boswell, his interest in aerospace began at an early age, and avionics continue to provide him with intense fascination in his career today.

How were you introduced to your career?

My family had a connection with aviation and living next to Heathrow (Airport). I was always going to work with my father. I spent a lot of time in and around B747 freighters.

What is your favourite FDS technology/product/service?

My favorite technology is the Handheld Multipurpose Interface (HHMPI). It is an exceptional tool for optimizing fleet management.

What do you do today within your role?

I am the global Flight Data Services manager – this ranges from readouts to Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) for both civilian and military customers. The role involves the day-to-day running of the Readout and FDM department, general project management, and ensuring the team is on track and providing a good service in a timely manner.

What do you like most about Flight Data Systems?

This is a multinational business that has retained a close-knit culture, synonymous with family-owned businesses. It is a very close family-type business with a wide range of products and services supporting most aircraft operators’ end-to-end solutions. This allows all employees opportunity to be involved in all areas of the business.

What’s the most challenging and most memorable project that you’ve worked on?

There are two major projects that I can say have been challenging; one is the recent migration of the Australian Defence Force’s Flight Data Monitoring program to a new application. With potentially 400 aircraft, forward planning was key, requiring some effort and project management. The second is the joint design of new and improved flight data decompression and replay tool between Flight Data Systems and our sister companies. This software will allow SAFR Readouts to replace the older STARS software and give the Readout and FDM departments more options internally where STARS could not.

What advice do you have for others looking to join the aerospace sector and fill a similar role to yours?

My advice would be to gain as much experience as you can. This role requires a lot of aircraft knowledge from avionics right through to performance.

What do you do for fun?

A fun time is family time! However, when I am not spending time with the family, I’ll be watching soccer.

What book/podcast/television show are you reading/listening to/watching right now?

Basically, any sport that involves a ball is on my watchlist.


The Flight Data Systems Ecosystem

Flight Data Systems, based in Melbourne, Australia, has over three decades of flight data expertise. Today, Flight Data Systems is a 360-degree end-to-end flight data solutions provider, offering a full spectrum of products and solutions.

In 2004, Flight Data Systems began designing analysis software and signal conditioning technologies, which progressed to ground support equipment, quick access recorders (QAR), and flight data acquisition units. In 2019, the company released the SENTRY, a SWaP-optimized cockpit voice and flight data recorder designed with modern Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology utilized without a processor.

After years of development, Flight Data Systems has developed a true ecosystem of flight data solutions to help operators transform raw data into impactful and insightful information to optimize their fleet management.

Acquire

Flight Data Systems’ small and lightweight Modular Acquisition Units (MAUs) and Remote Data Concentrators (RDCs) allow for data collection at the source. These units support a wide range of digital and analog signals including ARINC 429, synchros, frequency/tachometer, and discretes. Capable of up to 24 channels per expansion module, operators can streamline data collection through these unique devices to reduce aircraft wiring. In addition, these data acquisition units also provide cost-effective mechanisms to increase parameter collection for legacy flight data recorders with limited input capabilities.

The small and lightweight units allow operators to install the modules in numerous aircraft types including fixed-wing, rotorcraft, and unmanned aviation systems. In addition, the units can be expanded to include features such as ELT and QAR functionality. Used to reduce wiring, operators can streamline all data into one feed for easy read-write capabilities on all flight data recorder platforms.

Flight Data Storage

In 2019, the SENTRY Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Recorder (CVFDR) was unveiled as the lightest, smallest, lowest power FDR and CVR platform available on the market. The robust, crash survivable ED-112A unit was designed to meet compliance requirements including datalink (CPDLC) recording and battery backup (RIPS), providing aircraft operators an upgrade path from legacy recorders to allow for increased inputs and parameter recordings. It received the official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Standard Order (TSO) in November of 2019 and remains one of the most innovative solutions in the marketplace.

The SENTRY’s unique architecture and size sets it apart from other flight data recorders. The unit weighs a remarkably low 4.7 lbs (2.1 kg) and consumes less than half the power of other units available to date. The SENTRY is ideal for all aviation platforms, including military, fixed-wing, rotor-wing, and UAV aircraft. It also provides expansion capabilities and offers both digital and analog interfaces. Available in FDR, CVR, and CVFDR configurations, the SENTRY provides superior flexibility for capturing data and utilizes software-free Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) architecture to reduce setup costs. When designing the SENTRY, Flight Data Systems captured the variables that would ensure the CVFDR unit would remain a cost effective, future-proof option for operators looking to upgrade their onboard systems to modern regulatory standards.

Transmit

The Handheld Multipurpose Interface (HHMPI) device is one of the most successful Flight Data System products. An immensely powerful tool for ground support crews, the HHMPI has become synonymous with ground support equipment and is approved by Airbus. The HHMPI supports the most advanced data offloading abilities from any aircraft. It streamlines and simplifies flight data offloading in one seamless unit and connects directly to various leading FDR brands. It can also support multiple memory devices in various data storage formats, providing data transfer flexibility for the heightened demands of commercial airlines, Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), and military operations.

The HHMPI’s flexible data capturing capabilities are invaluable for operations involving expansive fleets with a complex variety of data recorders. It has been designed to connect to a wide variety of FDRs and CVRs from manufacturers including L3, Honeywell, Universal, and the SENTRY model to simplify the data offloading process. It also provides networking options with other HHMPI units to ensure fleet-wide consistency of FDR data downloading and management, and is now a world-leading flight data recorder download tool.

Analyze 

Flight Data Systems provides industry-leading readout services for Flight Data Monitoring and Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. SAFR readouts of flight recorder data allow operators to maintain reliable maintenance records and to comply with leading regulatory authorities by offering secure reports and documentation.

Flight Data Systems offers support to fixed and rotor-wing operators to identify maintenance trends, safety concerns, establish benchmarks against international databases, and provide proactive tools to minimize Aircraft on Ground (AOG) times. Our in-house team of aviation specialists has decades of experience in flight safety and delivers the highest quality support.

Complete Ecosystem

After three decades of innovation, the entire Flight Data Systems’ ecosystem provides operators with end-to-end flight data solutions. As a multinational organization, we are proud to support militaries, commercial airlines, and business jet operators with best-in-class solutions to maximize operational efficiencies, safety, and business ROI.

Are you interested in learning more? Contact us.


Top 5 Downloading Perks of the HHMPI

The Handheld Multipurpose Interface (HHMPI) is one of Flight Data Systems’ best selling technologies. For ground support crew, it is the signature device for downloading data from an aircraft’s Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and audio from a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). From Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, OEMs, to military and business fleet managers, and a variety of ground support crews, the HHMPI is the “go to” all in one device for downloading flight data from an aircraft’s flight data recorder or an entire fleet.

While its flexibility is invaluable for operations with expansive fleets with a complex variety of systems, here is a list of the best features that provide invaluable downloading support for operators.

1. Interface Options

Managing aircraft flight data from a variety of applications can be a daunting task. However, the HHMPI is designed to simplify downloading and connect seamlessly to various FDR and CVR systems. The HHMPI enables swift downloading from the most popular FDRs and CVRs, including L3, Honeywell, Universal and Flight Data Systems’ signature SENTRY model.

2. Network Connectivity 

The HHMPI can be configured to automatically upload flight data to a secure FTP server upon connection to an Ethernet network. For added convenience the HHMPI can support wireless data transfer with a Wi-Fi adapter. The HHMPI can also be configured remotely with a web browser over a secure HTTPS connection.

3. Multiple Data Transfer Options

Transferring data to a ground station can easily be configured to either Ethernet, Wi-Fi, SD Card, USB Flash Drive, Compact Flash and PC Cards. Depending on the connected recorder, the HHMPI can support a variety of different FDR, CVR and DLR download options, including “Download All,” “Download Since Last,” “Download Memory Mark,” and “Download Time.” These options allow operators to save time by only downloading the data they need.

4. Fleet Networking

To streamline its downloading capabilities to ground stations, the HHMPI conveniently interfaces with most CVRs and FDRs, including legacy recorders. The HHMPI stores aircraft fleet data, allowing operators to select specific tail numbers for downloading. This option enables operators the ability to isolate and monitor data from each aircraft.

5. Power Docking Cradle

After downloading data from an aircraft, the FDS40-0373 docking cradle provides the ability to transfer the data over Ethernet while charging the HHMPI unit. For operators, this charging and data offloading option provides rapid data collection and battery support through the docking station, optimizing turnaround time for an aircraft.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team:


Celebrating Women of Aviation Week with Jennifer Weiss

Women of Aviation Week is about celebrating women’s accomplishments in aviation and inspiring others to construct the industry’s future. As we highlight the women that are our aerospace leaders, Flight Data Systems is proud to encourage more women to join the industry. Women deliver energy to the industry that facilitates equality and innovation, and Flight Data Systems is honored to provide an environment that encourages women to become industry leaders. Because of this, we would like to highlight the talented faces behind our team.

What brought you to work in aviation? 

I saw a Honeywell job posting on the weather channel. I was an aerospace engineer in a master's program wanting to get on the space shuttle.

What positive trait(s) do you feel women bring to the industry? 

I believe women bring estrogen or lack of testosterone. Women work more together to solve a problem rather than against one another as in a competition.

What would tell young females interested in joining the industry? 

Follow your dreams, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn to be better.

Do you have a female mentor or idol in the aviation industry? If so, how have they inspired you? 

Yes. I have a mentor, and she is so logical in her approach and helps me overcome my emotional bias.

Do you have any inspiring lessons that you have learned about life while working in the aviation industry? 

Oh yes! Working in the flight recorder industry with accident investigators and regulators helps me feel this work is important for safe travel. The janitor had once told me I did great things!

What's your favorite thing about the industry? 

I love seeing things from above.

To learn more about Women of Aviation Week, visit womenofaviationweek.iwoaw.org