Aviation information management is complex and handles enormous amounts of data regarding flight management systems, aircraft weight and balance data, departure control systems and even information about car rentals, online check-in and passenger data. For this reason it is critical that the information can be collected, stored and used efficiently and above all, securely.
Airlines, operators and airports use specialist providers of information management systems to ensure correct and reliable management is seamlessly efficient, fast and ultimately secure, often storing incredible amounts of sensitive data. Airport operations rely upon accurate data analysis to allow for smooth productivity.
Amadeus, a technology partner in aviation, has come up with a software solution that uses predictive analytics to pick up potential problems before they occur. Netuitive is a cloud-based system that monitors their Alta DCS, flight management system and all the aforementioned considerations. It is expected to be ready for commercial release in the latter half of this year, and will aim to simplify the data management arena.
The recording and delivery of reliable aviation weather data is a critical component in maintaining safety in the skies. Adverse weather is one of the major contributors to aviation accidents on a global scale. But where does the data come from?
All over the world, weather stations are continuously monitoring and recording weather data consisting of temperatures to cloud cover and everything in between. These stations are called Automated Surface Observing Systems. Supercomputers take this data and use equations and calculations to enable weather forecasting.
The aviation weather data readings must be accurate and as fresh as possible to facilitate swift decision-making, flight planning and scheduling. The FAA issues coded messaging to airports, air traffic services and other authorities with numbered data to ascertain the source of the aviation weather data. Currently, there are 5,431 stations recognised by the FAA.
Timely delivery of aviation weather data is managed by ATS via airline data link, radio communications and often via satellite. Using ACARS, HFDL and CPDLC communications, aviation weather data keeps the safety of all aircraft as a priority. State-of-the-art technology in aviation today can mean that via type b messaging capability, aviation weather data can be accessed and delivered within a second.
As the aviation industry reels in shock as a teenage stowaway breaches airport perimeter fencing to board an aircraft bound for Maui, even more serious questions are raised about airport security. Video surveillance footage clearly shows the boy make his way across the tarmac and climb into the wheel well of the plane, yet it was missed.
Since 9/11, airport security has been stepped up, or so we thought. There are increasing numbers of airport breaches being reported, articles claiming that passport checks are not being accurately carried out and monitoring equipment not being monitored.
Holes in security are most certainly there. Although security cameras are installed, they must be manned consistently to be effective. Airport perimeter fencing is more effective at keeping animals from the runway than people, it is said.
Officials are concerned and according to the New York Times, portions of the fencing at the airport are falling down in places.
An investigation into the November shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that resulted in the death of airport security officer Gerardo Hernandez and the injury of three others, has highlighted airport communications issues and the need for enhancement in this and other physical security areas.
It is important that lessons learned from the tragic incident are used to review and improve security operations and make changes to bolster safety at not only LAX, but at airports across the country. Subcommittee chairman Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. said that ‘communications breakdowns are not unique to LAX.’
The panel was told that co-ordination among ‘all relevant agencies’ and technical issues prevented the agencies from communicating directly with one another, taking more than 45 minutes before a cohesive plan could be put into action.
The incident is likely to put pressure upon authorities to implement technology to enhance airport communications and the interoperability of communications to ensure such an incident does not recur. Across the world, airport security issues are being raised, from passenger processing to physical security and perimeter fencing.
With technological advancements, information sharing and communications systems, there is a realisation that the solutions are available, yet action needs to be taken and investments made to ensure utmost security is held paramount in airports across the globe.
The iPad Mini with retina display will soon become a feature on the flight deck after being issued with a letter of Operational Suitability by the FAA for use with Jeppesens’ electronic flight bag (EFB).
‘We are pleased with the findings of the FAA evaluation team confirming the use of iPad mini and Jeppesen mobile EFB solutions,’ said Tim Huegel, director of Jeppesen Aviation Portfolio Management, ‘iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display offer pilots the incredible detail and ease of use they need when leveraging our valuable data-driven apps and flight information in the cockpit’.
U.S. operators and air carriers must gain formal FAA authorisation for the use of electronic flight bag applications on the flight deck and Jeppesen will issue copies of the letter to those customers that express an interest in the use of the iPad Mini for specific use in their authorisation application.
Other providers of EFB solutions include ARINC Direct, recently acquired by avionics giant, Rockwell Collins. EFB solutions, such as iPad pilot apps, can minimise weight in the cockpit and bring a significant reduction of the pilot’s workload, offering sharing capabilities for flight information, changes to the flight plan and real-time weather updates, graphics and maps.
The advent of the iPad and now the iPad Mini on the flight deck moves the industry another step closer to the sought-after paperless cockpit.
Following the disappearance of flight MH370, the focus of the Annual General Meeting of IATA this key will be enhancing security and finding ways to prevent the recurrence of such an incident.
Tony Tyler, Director-General and CEO of IATA stressed that speculation on the aircraft cannot be a guide to move forward, he said, ‘We need to base our efforts on evidence and conclusions that will come out of investigation. When an incident or accident occurs, our thoughts go to the families and friends of all those on board, and we rededicate our efforts to make this industry even safer.’
Mr Tyler added that the air transport industry is safe, with a low accident-flight ratio, but the ‘world cannot afford to leave the unprecedented missing of such a large aircraft as an aviation mystery’.
Among the issues to be addressed will be the length of time it is taking to locate the missing aircraft and to ensure that adequate flight tracking can be put into place. The issue of airport security and passenger screening has also been highlighted by the fact that two passengers were able to board with stolen passports.
The AGM, scheduled for early June, will focus upon improvements to passenger safety and will discuss the urgency of countries to provide advanced passenger information.
Rockwell Collins, recent acquirers of ARINC Inc, has announced an expansion on its Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) 1/A capability and is offering an upgrade to Dassault Falcon 50EX, 2000 and 2000EX that are currently equipped with their avionics and flight management systems. The upgrades will be available during 2015.
The FANS a/A upgrade will bring operators savings of both fuel and time, helping to reduce the pilot’s workload with CPDLC capability and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and offering enhanced clarity of communications in remote oceanic and Polar Regions of the globe.