LABACE Convention News

Blue Sky Network Helps Operators Track Their Assets

 - August 16, 2013, 12:45 AM
Blue Sky Network's satcom devices are FAA and ANAC certified. (Photo: David McIntosh)

After only four years in Brazil, Blue Sky Network, which offers satellite tracking of and communication with vehicles operating in the air, on land and at sea, has built up a sizable client base, including the Líder fleet that serves Petrobras, the Helisul air taxi operator and energy exploration company HRT. Here at LABACE show-goers can see how Blue Sky’s New SkyRouter and other systems work at the company’s display in the exhibition hangar (Stand 5020).

The California company’s offerings are of particular value in many areas, such as air taxi, air ambulance, rescue and oil and gas. Many of these operations are undertaken in sparsely populated areas in difficult terrain, such as the Amazon basin, where tracking vehicles not only drives efficiencies for operators, but also deliver a major safety enhancement.

Blue Sky Network offers a range of systems and services to meet varying requirements. Onboard systems can provide track only, track and message, or track/message/voice communication options. The system uses dual-mode GSM and Iridium satellite tracking, and allows operators to access data through a cloud-based web portal. GSM signals are used when they are strong enough, but the system automatically switches to the more expensive Iridium tracking when GSM signals fall below a preset threshold.

The company’s New SkyRouter system is in widespread use in the U.S. and beyond, allowing organizations to automatically monitor the locations and routes of their mobile assets in near real-time, and to allow messaging between those assets and the base.

For the base operator, the New SkyRouter system allows vehicle tracking to be displayed on a multifunction screen. Key information for each asset can be accessed on the screen, and the locations of all assets can be overlaid on maps or Google Earth imagery. Additional overlays, such as weather radar or traffic congestion, or offshore lease blocks, are available. There is also a Bluetooth application that allows cockpit-mounted systems to interface with mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

As well as platform-mounted systems, Blue Sky Network has developed hand-held devices, such as the new HawkEye PT Plus. All of the devices, which are FAA- and ANAC-certified, can be programmed to automatically update the asset’s position every minute or two, but in an emergency can be used to send an instant position update with a single button-press. This action also initiates a high-rate positional transmission mode, with updates transmitted every 15 seconds.

To reach smaller operators and expand its services in Brazil, the Blue Sky Network is currently looking for equipment re-sellers to cover regions of the country. It has already inked a deal with Avionics Services, and is in advanced stages of negotiations with other re-sellers in Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and in the Natal/Fortaleza region.

Although Blue Sky Network is open to approaches from other Latin American nations, for now it is concentrating on the Brazilian market, and it expects to more than double the number of systems in use by the end of next year. In the aviation field alone the country offers considerable opportunities on many fronts. Business aviation is an obvious customer, as is the large number of helicopter operators.