FOCUS on...APPS FOR AVIATION
Location, communication and safety management were buzz words among the newest batch of app-makers at the 2012 Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas. Helicopter Association International led off the bunch with an app to help you find exhibitors, and find out about them, too. But that was just their convention app. The organization has also turned its Helicopter Annual printed industry directory into HAI Mobile, a smartphone app that gives instant access to the entire database, in its most current form. The app also links to FAA databases for up-to-date Notams and regulations. Links are included to TSA, NTSB and even a directory of aviation officials in the U.S.
SkyTrac Systems, a flight-following and satcom supplier, released its RDA user interface for the iPhone at the Expo. “RDA allows users to increase the functionality of their system,” said SkyTrac president and CEO Kathleen Wallace. The app connects to the SkyTrac system via an installed Wifi unit. RDA provides a simple interface for passengers to have air-to-ground text and voice calls.
Blue Sky Network is offering a free HTC Android smartphone or Visio Android tablet to the first 10 purchasers of its new Hawkeye Link. “We chose a Bluetooth-based system so that voice calls can be made while the user is wearing a Bluetooth-capable headset,” said Matt Caldwell, sales representative for Blue Sky. “You can dial Iridium satellite phone calls right from your smartphone, without the need for a satellite phone,” he continued.
The program also handles text messages and email. “The nice part about it is that the user interface, the smartphone or the tablet, are completely familiar to all users,” said Caldwell. The Hawkeye Link is portable and can be carried from BlueSky equipped aircraft to aircraft.
Latitude Technologies Corporation demonstrated the newest version of its WebSentinel app at Heli-Expo 2012. Registered users of Latitude’s SkyNode satcom products, who have a WebSentinel service account, can now view live and historic flight-tracking data, adjust reporting parameters and do two-way text messaging with their SkyNode products.
Mikey McBryan, general manager for Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife, Canada, was the first customer to use the new app. “We operate 18 aircraft and fly to the northernmost airport in the world. I have less stress when I am away from the office, because I have the convenience of tracking aircraft from anywhere. Now the plane information is always in my pocket,” said McBryan.
The app is freely available in the Apple App Store and functions on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. For users of Latitude’s existing iOS app, the new version is available as an update.
Sextant Readings Solutions introduced its Q-Pulse Audit app for iPad and iPhone with a special show price that includes implementation and training on the product for any company purchasing its fully IS-BAO (H) compliant app.
“We built the IS-BAO audit questions and guidance right into the app,” said Bob Trevelyan, president of Sextant Readings Solutions. “The idea was to use the simple interface of the Apple product to make the audit process everyone's business in your company,” he continued, explaining that Q-Pulse Audit replaces paperwork onsite and through simple guided checklist gives each employee in the company the ability to be the provider of integral data necessary to complete the audit process.
“It's really a document-distribution system in an app,” he said. “Say someone spots an issue. They can sign onto an iPad, enter the Q-Pulse app, and immediately document the issue, even send an ASAP report that can be exported to ASIS.” The app and laptop versions of Q-Pulse are IS-BAO, SASO and IOSA compliant. FlightOffice.com's CEO Pierre Rouleau has taken the concept of an app just a little further, designing an entire management solution for flight operations that can be run, through an app on an Apple iOS device. “We’ve put flight department management into the cloud,” said Rouleau. “The iPad is an approved device in the cockpit, which is why we chose the platform for the FlightOffice product.”
The product can be used for dynamic real-time monitoring of flight department crews, maintenance, training, scheduling, communication, SMS, tracking of key performance indicators and accounting. During Heli-Expo 2012 the company is offering a free iPad (with 3G and WiFi) for every aircraft in one’s fleet for each new customer signing up for a three-year contract.