Schedulers & Dispatchers Update: October 2005

 - October 24, 2006, 10:26 AM

Arinc plans to eliminate guesswork from the aircraft weight-and-balance equation. The Annapolis, Md.-based transportation communications and systems engineering specialist has received a patent for new weight-and-balance technology that it says will precisely, unobtrusively and automatically weigh passengers and their carry-on items before boarding.

The new technology–a combination f hardware and software–comes at a time when the FAA has raised its “regulation” weight for adult males to 200 pounds, forcing some smaller operators to remove seats or reduce cargo.

According to inventor Rolf Stefani, director of technology and product development, Arinc’s new technology calculates exact weight and balance using actual seat locations. It will not only remove the potential for error but also will allow for more efficient operating costs as aircraft attitude and trim may have a negative effect on uel consumption, he said.

Stefani emphasized, however, that at this point, “the technology is an idea, not a product, and we’re interested in seeing who else is interested in it.”

Adam is new, but don’t expect Eve anytime soon. Adam is the latest addition to the Flight Explorer line of aircraft messaging services, created to allow subscribers to extend their operations centers to the cockpit by providing satellite coverage for worldwide aircraft tracking, combined with voice and data communication.

The new Adam division of Flight Explorer is located in facilities near Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport in Peachtree City, Ga. The office includes a research and development/simulation laboratory and houses shipping, receiving and warehousing facilities. Harlan Hamlin, Flight Explorer v-p of messaging services, leads the division.

Blue Sky Network has launched SkyRouter, an interactive Web portal with detailed mapping for global tracking of transport assets. According to the La Jolla, Calif.-based company, the program is “completely secure” and allows Blue Sky customers to log onto their account and locate their transport assets–aircraft, vessels and land-based vehicles–anywhere in the world in “near real-time.” Tracking can also be customized for individual users. SkyRouter is powered by the Iridium satellite network.

Business aviation catering specialist Air Chef and Universal Weather & Aviation have teamed with SeaGil Software to make it easier to cater flights through “a seamless integration of [SeaGil’s] BART [business aircraft records and tracking] flight-management software than the Air Chef ordering system.” The program allows BART users to link directly to the Air Chef system to arrange their catering needs.
BART subscribers are kept up to date with Air Chef’s current list of airport locations through data provided by Universal Weather & Aviation. According to Air Chef president Paul Schweitzer, “We know that by allowing operators to order catering directly through the BART software, we focus on the content of the order rather than on the task of entering the order into the system. The online interface allows [users] to manage all aspects of the order and make changes in real time.”

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, business aviation has been doing its part to assist with relief efforts as business aircraft operators volunteered to help. A fleet of helicopters from Evergreen Helicopters went to the Gulf Coast to help with rescues and the transport of much-needed water and food. Likewise, Air Logistics and Petroleum Helicopters contributed, as did Sikorsky Aircraft, which sent an S-76. Bell Helicopter sent helicopters from its customer training facility at Alliance, Texas.

Don’t worry about fuel? That’s what the FAA says. Responding to what it referred to as “inaccurate speculation” in the media and elsewhere about the status of fuel supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the FAA said in a statement released last month, “We are continuously canvassing airports, airlines and jet fuel providers to ensure sufficient supplies are on hand to support normal commercial operations.” Given that as of early last month a number of major pipeline operators had resumed operations, the agency said it doesn’t believe the aviation industry will face any “immediate disruptions” relating to the supply of jet fuel.

Do your aircrew and passengers have valid passports? Flight crewmembers and passengers will be affected by a proposal from the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) o require a U.S. or foreign passport or other “accepted secure document” when traveling between the U.S. and other countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Currently, U.S. citizens in most cases need to show only a drivers license to reenter the U.S. from Mexico, Canada nd other countries in the Western Hemisphere. If the proposal is approved, starting December 31 next year a passport or other accepted document would be required when an individual enters the U.S. by air or sea from any country. By Dec. 31, 2007, the rule would apply to all individuals entering the U.S. by land from any country. Comments on the proposal are due by October 31. For additional information, contact the DHS at (202) 344-3022.

In less than 40 days, advance passenger information system (APIS) transmission requirements will change again. Effective October 4, commercial operators must make an APIS transmission using the N-EDIFACT format, which captures additional passenger information. The NBAA APIS submission service does not use this format and will no longer be available as of that date. The new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) eAPIS online transmission system uses the UN-EDIFACT format, and the majority of APIS transmissions are currently being made with CBP’s system.