At Helitech 2011, Blue Sky Network (BSN) exhibited a renewed line of tracking devices that can help flight dispatchers to know, in real-time, where their fleet’s helicopters are. Through the SkyRouter web portal, they can receive regular updates on the aircraft’s altitude, heading and location, explained hardware engineer Steve Larson.
BSN uses both GSM cellphone and Iridium satellite coverage. As an option, customers can choose a dual mode, where the system is set on the less-expensive GSM network by default. It turns to satellite only when GSM is not available.
One interesting feature of the Skyrouter is geo-fencing. “If you want to prevent your pilots from flying over Cuba, for example, you simply draw a line around Cuba on Skyrouter’s map,” Larson told AIN. The flight dispatcher then receives an alert if the aircraft flies through the “geo-fence.”
The usual two-way text messaging capability is standard, with an option for a touchscreen that enables plain typing. Otherwise, the messages sent from the helicopter are pre-programmed. BSN’s products can be retrofitted to any helicopter. “We only need electric power and a location for an antenna,” Larson said.