AeroMechanical Services Ltd. (AMA) Advanced Aircraft-to-Ground System Upgraded for Continuous Data Streaming



    
    AeroMechanical Services Ltd.
    TSX-V Trading Symbol "AMA"
    A Tier 2 Industrial Issuer
    

    CALGARY, June 12 /CNW/ - AeroMechanical Services, Ltd has completed
testing of an upgrade to its Automated Flight Information Reporting System
(afirs(TM)) that allows continuous streaming of GPS position and aircraft
parameter data from aircraft to ground in addition to the currently deployed
event-driven reporting of position and selected aircraft data. The prototype
development started several years ago with Aloha Airlines, but was interrupted
when Aloha ceased operations in 2008. Because of afirs(TM)'s use of the
Iridium satellite constellation and its own GPS receiver, afirs(TM) can report
from any point on the earth to any other point through its internet delivery
system.
    As the data are analyzed to find the causes of the Air France Flight 447
tragedy, calls are being made for a "live black box", a method of streaming
critical flight information in real time to provide insight into incidents in
the event that an aircraft's Flight Data Recorder cannot be recovered. Even
though the aircraft may have been operating out of radar coverage, Air France
Flight 447, an Airbus A330-200, was very well equipped with a system that
transmitted aircraft status and position data via a satellite communications
method, without which the aviation community would have limited information
with which to proceed with the accident investigation. Yet even aircraft
equipped with these advanced technologies (and many are not) are subject to
the limitations inherent in any system that is not programmed to automatically
"stream" (continuously transmit) position and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) data
in real time under a set of pre-defined conditions (e.g., loss of cabin
pressurization, rapid change in altitude or attitude, engine failure, or
excessive "g" loads). At a time when calls are being made for new technologies
and changes to legacy systems, it should be made clear that such solutions
currently exist, are certified for aviation use, and are commercially
available.
    Under the brand of FLYHT, AeroMechanical Services (AMS) of Calgary,
Alberta, Canada manufactures and markets the afirs(TM) 220, a "smart" box
capable of being programmed with any number of specific conditions that would
trigger a streaming mode for position and FDR data. afirs(TM) provides an
automated link between onboard avionics (including GPS and the FDR), a global
satellite network called Iridium that has no coverage gaps anywhere on the
globe, and a ground based web server called UpTime that automatically routes
messages to any designated recipient, all within seconds. afirs(TM) also
provides an independent 2-way voice capability for crews to contact ground
personnel, also over Iridium with no coverage gaps anywhere in the world. The
afirs(TM) system uses an Iridium satellite modem that is capable of streaming
data to the ground at a rate of 2400 bits per second from anywhere around the
globe. Iridium provides sufficient bandwidth for afirs(TM) to send pre-defined
parameters recorded each second by the Flight Data Recorder. Unused bandwidth
is available to send additional data recorded every second by the AFIRS
system, including valuable GPS position and certain discrete parameters not
usually recorded by FDRs. In normal operations, reports are typically sent
every 5 minutes, but that reporting interval can be adjusted either by the
operator or automatically by an event on board. The periodic data stream
occurs automatically when the afirs(TM) system functions in "normal" mode and
transmits key operational data by means of short burst data (SBD). When a
critical condition is detected, the afirs(TM) system can automatically switch
to emergency mode and start streaming data. The combination of normal
transmissions of short burst data and emergency streaming of critical position
and FDR data is a significant contribution to aircraft safety and efficiency
as well as being cost effective.
    In addition to pre-programmed events that trigger position and FDR
streaming, the system's emergency mode can be manually initiated by the pilots
via a cockpit "event button" in hijacking or other non-system related
emergencies. Once the emergency mode is initiated automatically by a systems
event or manually by the flight crew, any number of alerts and displays can be
generated at the airline operational control center (AOC), and any person or
facility anywhere on the planet that has internet connectivity or a phone can
be alerted automatically, including air traffic control. Redundant
ground-based IBM host servers within the UpTime(TM) system receive the data
from the aircraft and generate alerts and messages in the predetermined manner
selected by the airline, sent out by e-mail or other messaging formats, all
within seconds. This functionality is easily customizable by the airline. An
operator can generate the streaming request from the ground by sending a
secure message to the aircraft through the UpTime interface.
    "Our afirs(TM) UpTime(TM) technology has since 2004 been tracking
aircraft in all parts of the world using Iridium for satellite communications,
and sending pre-defined data from the aircraft periodically during routine and
non-routine operation of the aircraft, including previews of events that are
outside normal ranges. This new extension of our afirs capability will allow
an operator to receive all data on a continuous basis from an aircraft if it
encounters a major in-flight issue, or if the crew choose to initiate
continuous streaming of data and position reports", stated Richard Hayden,
President of AMS. "This capability is not only valuable in improving responses
to in flight issues, but in the rare case where an aircraft goes down, this
data stream can provide immediate insight into the exact flight path and
possible cause of the accident".
    One of AMA's customers who flies long over water routes to remote areas
of the world is North American Airlines, a charter operator based at JFK
Airport in New York. Paul Sterbenz, NAA Vice President for Strategic
Development, states "North American Airlines has equipped all of its aircraft
with afirs over the past eighteen months. We are very pleased with the results
that we are experiencing to date. Still, we believe that we are barely
scratching the surface in the use of this cutting edge technology. We look
forward to further development and additional functionality, such as streaming
data, that will come on-line in the months ahead."
    Unless the aircraft black boxes are recovered from the ocean's
mountainous bottom in mid-Atlantic, it is doubtful that the precise cause of
the AF447 tragedy will be known. What little data were received, however, was
due to real-time satellite-based communications capability that should be
standard on all aircraft flying outside of radar and terrestrial-based data
communications coverage, especially given that streaming position and FDR
information is available today. afirs(TM) is certified by Transport Canada,
the FAA, EASA, and CAAC (China) for use on over 30 aircraft models. Currently,
31 operators in 6 continents have contracted with AMS for afirs(TM) and many
are tracking aircraft on transoceanic flights and in remote areas that are not
fully served by ground based receivers and radar.

    About AeroMechanical Services Ltd.

    AeroMechanical Services Ltd. provides proprietary technological solutions
and services designed to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in the airline
industry. The company has successfully patented and commercialized three
products and associated services currently marketed to airlines, manufacturers
and maintenance organizations around the world. Its premier technology,
afirs(TM) UpTime(TM), allows airlines to monitor and manage aircraft
operations anywhere, anytime, in real-time.

    
              afirs, UpTime, FLYHT and aeroQ are Trade Marks of
                         AeroMechanical Services Ltd.

    The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept
    responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.
    





For further information:

For further information: AeroMechanical Services, Richard Hayden,
President, AeroMechanical Services Ltd, (403) 291-7434, (978) 590-5857,
rhayden@flyht.com; To help arrange interviews, please contact: Bob Beaty, The
Howard Group Inc., Toll Free: (888) 221-0915, Phone: (403) 221-0915,
bob@howardgroupinc.com, www.howardgroupinc.com

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AEROMECHANICAL SERVICES LTD.

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