Hot section: In-Flight Safety Monitoring System Predicts Problems

 - September 30, 2010, 7:32 AM

Star Navigation Systems Group is offering its newest version of the Star In-flight Safety Monitoring System (Star-ism). “Most people are familiar with the black box in airliners. It’s the nearly indestructible sealed recording device that assists investigators in determining the cause of an aircraft accident,” said Star CEO Viraf Kapadia. “What isn’t as well understood is that not only are black boxes not the complete solution, but also by their very nature they are designed to indicate problems after they have already occurred–much too late to help the pilots and passengers.”

Kapadia said the Star-ism for business aircraft is an improved version of an earlier model the company introduced in 2005. “The original version was a significant step forward for in-flight safety; however, it wasn’t doing as much as we wanted,” Kapadia told AIN. “Everything takes time when it comes to software and artificial intelligence. Things have steadily improved the past few years to the point that we have been able to increase the number of parameters per minute the system can monitor from 4,000 to 18,000.” He cautions the limiting factor is the aircraft itself. “Older aircraft, with less sophisticated avionics, don’t provide as much digital information as new aircraft,” he said.

The system monitors parameters accessible through the aircraft digital buses. “Essentially anything that puts out a digital signal is fair game for the system. The more input into the system, the more data that can be mined and analyzed, resulting in a better picture of what’s happening to the aircraft at any given moment.”

One of the main features of the new system is built-in GPS tracking software that can instantly provide an aircraft’s exact altitude, heading and airspeed.
With the proper data available, Star-ism can decrease AOG times, improve predictive maintenance and performance trending, reduce fuel consumption and identify trends across a fleet. According to Kapadia, the automatic system analyzes and reports data in real time so it can be accessed onboard or sent to any ground station through data transmission via satellite. o