“Arinc was the largest acquisition in Rockwell Collins history,” said Brian Kruger, senior director of the company’s ArincDirect unit. Five years ago Rockwell Collins purchased the former Air Routing international trip planning and handling company, creating the Ascend Flight Information Solutions division. After the Arinc purchase in December 2013, Rockwell Collins merged Ascend with Arinc’s services division and created the new ArincDirect business unit, which is part of Rockwell Collins’s Information Management Services division.
ArincDirect is highlighting four key technologies here at MEBA (Stand 625): a new fuel tankering feature; integrated weight-and-balance/performance calculations in the ArincDirect iPad app; new integration with Rockwell Collins’s Flight Operations System (FOS) software for scheduling and operations management; and connectivity solutions for flight crew and passengers.
“We provide a suite of [solutions] that will fit most every segment,” said Kruger. The services offered by ArincDirect’s Houston facility are focused on international trip support, but these services are combined with ArincDirect flight planning and trip support tools that came as part of the Arinc acquisition. The FOS product aids in sending notifications and push alerts to international trip-handling clients, according to Kruger, as well as tracking flight schedules and compliance with regulatory requirements, such as pilot qualifications and record-keeping. “It’s a comprehensive suite of service offerings,” he said.
FOS, designed for both private (Part 91) and commercial (Part 135) operations, “is scalable to fit the mission,” Kruger said. One of the new features added in the last few months allows flight department schedulers and dispatchers to make trip requests via FOS to ArincDirect’s Houston operation. “That’s part of the triangle of our software acquisitions,” he said. “We’re trying to make [our services] more comprehensive and seamless.”
For FOS users that prefer working with third-party software developers, Rockwell Collins makes this possible through the FOS Alliance Network. For example, a charter operator might want to promote the availability of empty legs and can use FOS to notify charter brokers and fill seats that otherwise might generate zero revenue on a repositioning flight. Maintenance tracking company Camp Systems works with FOS to keep aircraft maintenance information current. Another useful capability is real-time updating of on-off times via datalink. “FOS is well connected to many providers in this industry,” Kruger said.
FOS also allows users to link directly to the ArincDirect website for filing flight plans or importing flight plans back to FOS; access flight tracking information, the ArincDirect message center and text and graphical weather; request U.S. and Canada slots; overlay trips on ArincDirect’s mapping tool; and view trip reports on the ArincDirect iPad app.
The new fuel planning service is not only helpful for tankering planning (determining the optimal fuel load), but also allows ArincDirect users to analyze how ramp fees and performance limitations affect the entire flight. Trips of up to 15 legs can be analyzed.