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SATSAir to equip fleet with advanced FDM system
SATSAir to equip fleet with advanced FDM system

US air taxi operator SATSair by year´s end will have its entire fleet of 26 Cirrus SR22s equipped for wireless transfer of predictive flight data collected onboard with a flight data monitoring (FDM) system built by avionics maker Alakai Technologies and systems integrator CAPACG.

Called GA-FDM, the system will collect flight and engine performance data and will automatically analyse the information for trends, uploading 84 monitored parameters to CAPACG servers via cellular phone links when each aircraft slows to less than 35kt (65km/h)on landing, says Stuart "Kipp" Lau, vice-president of flight data mentoring services for CAPACG.

Alakai Technologies initially developed the engine trend monitoring portion of GA-FDM at the request of SATSair, and later teamed with CAPACG to develop GA-FDM, in part to help operators qualify for Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programmes.

SATSair tested the system on five aircraft from August to October last year. Cirrus has also purchased four units and has installed two in company aircraft so far, says Lau.

SATSair currently collects the engine data manually, but does not gather aircraft performance information. Lau says the air taxi company will pay a monthly subscription fee and will receive an automated monthly aggregate report from CAPACG.

Downtime to install the system in SR22s will be approximately 12h per aircraft. Lau says CAPACG and Alakai are developing a wifi datalink for the system, an option that will lower the data transmission costs for flight schools that tend to return to the same location after every flight.

Schools can programme the systems to observe how well students practise what they learn, and can monitor flight histories to see if standard operational procedures are complied with. Lau says cellular phone service for the SATSair system will cost roughly $ 50 per aircraft per month.

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