Any corporate pilot will confess that they’d rather vacuum the cabin than manually update their aircraft’s time and cycle logs after each flight. With the introduction of SD FlightLogs and the SD Crew app, Satcom Direct has virtually eliminated that time-consuming and error-prone process.
With all the new pilot workload-reducing technologies and capabilities found in the cockpits of today’s corporate and charter aircraft, there’s one task that is still largely a “pencil and paper” process: Logging the OOOI (Out, Off, On, and In) times for each flight. Or, at least it was. With the introduction of its updated SD FlightLogs and new SD Crew app, Satcom Direct has taken giant leaps in automating your aircraft’s recordkeeping process.
“Today’s new aircraft are high-tech assets rich in data, yet they are being managed by antiquated processes on the ground. By and large, many of the processes required to collect and record critical flight data is still a manual process, even though we can now get all the accurate times we require right off the airplane and it’s accurate down to the minute,” explained John Kummer, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Programs for Satcom Direct. “Any of our data link customers can now subscribe to SD FlightLogs in their SD Pro Platform and gather all of the available data right off the airplane at the end of the flight in real time.
“We know weight-off-wheels, weight-on-wheels, door open and close; we can even tell you how long you were holding. The airplane’s data allows us to calculate practically anything you need to know about any flight,” he said. “We can now automate all of the OOOI data collection processes and present the information back to the flight crew in real-time—no more ‘pilot math’ required. All the pilot has to do is verify the information and it’s automatically sent to the flight department.”
Kummer said that the idea behind SD FlightLogs and the new SD Crew app is to enable the automation of data collection and then to present it on three simple screens to the flight crew on whatever type of device they select.
“It allows you to easily review and verify the information. Once it is verified, it keeps moving through the flight department’s ecosystem and ends up with a ‘gatekeeper’ or second level of verification (i.e. maintenance director or other approving authority) where it can be pushed into the operation’s maintenance tracking software,” he said. “We are now fully integrated with the leading tracking packages including CAMP and Flightdocs.
“We also have an agreement with Rolls-Royce to provide electronic engine times and cycles for the operator’s engine warranty program,” Kummer said.
Speaking of engine warranties, another benefit to SD FlightLogs is the elimination of the time-honored aviation practice of “rounding times.”
“The industry rounds everything—flight times, logbooks, maintenance tracking times—everything is rounded to the nearest tenth of an hour. It sounds harmless, but if you look at it, rounding up actually adds time to the airframe and engines,” he said. “If you’re on an hourly to-do list and you add time, you are going to reach your maintenance times sooner and cost yourself more money.”
Of course, as you may well expect, if it comes from Satcom Direct, it’s designed to be easy to use. In fact, Satcom Direct is not only the creator of SD FlightLogs and SD Crew, the company’s own flight department is a customer.
“We operate a GIV and a Citation Sovereign and it’s a huge advantage to be able to test all of our services in real-world situations,” explained the company’s Chief Pilot, Dallas Shoeneman. “We have found that learning to use SD FlightLogs and SD Crew has been extremely intuitive and it really has increased the accuracy of recordkeeping from our flight department’s perspective.
“By using the two capabilities together, we’ve seen our flight crews be able to more quickly validate their flight times and cycles on the airplanes and get that information to our schedulers and maintainers in a more timely fashion,” he said.
“And as a nice side benefit,” Kummer concluded, “since most of the information is auto-populated, the SD Crew app provides our pilots with a pretty nice logbook.”