Appareo announced the release of a new product line of Conexus Aircraft Communication Units (ACUs). These units are lightweight computing and communications devices that function as a data acquisition system for flight data monitoring (FDM) or flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) programs for fleet operators, or as a telematic and connectivity product for airframe manufacturers. The first product in this line, the ACU-200, is already being installed in multiple aircraft.
The ACU-200 can connect with aircraft systems, avionics, or engines using Ethernet, ARINC 429, or RS-422. The unit is qualified against RTCA DO-160G, and is designed with cybersecurity in mind. Additionally, the ACU-200 features very low power states, allowing Appareo customers to remotely connect to the unit and retrieve data even while the aircraft is powered down. The Conexus line is designed to be used in both fixed and rotary wing applications.
For airframe manufacturers, the Conexus ACU-200 is a helpful tool for monitoring the usage of aircraft in the fleet — providing valuable statistics to inform predictive maintenance scheduling, prediction of service work, and to improve depot and part distribution activities to ensure maximum customer uptime. For operators, the Conexus ACU-200 offers a single FDM/FOQA data recorder solution capable of being fit across a broad spectrum of aircraft in a mixed fleet, easing the challenges of integration and data offload logistics.
“FDM or FOQA programs are valuable for fleet operators to monitor trends, identify areas of risk, and deploy training programs to mitigate those risks. However, it can be a challenge for mixed-fleet operators to effectively analyze their flight data when it is collected in multiple acquisition systems” said David Batcheller, President & CEO of Appareo. “The ACU-200 is an ideal solution for those programs because it was designed for use in both modern and legacy aircraft,” Batcheller said.
Using the onboard inertial and GPS capabilities, the ACU-200 can provide an actionable volume of flight data from any kind of aircraft without needing to interface with avionic systems. For aircraft with digital buses available, the ACU-200 can acquire flight data directly from the aircraft system. This allows the ACU-200 to be implemented as a single avionic solution for a mixed fleet.
Additionally, while many flight data acquisition systems rely on physical means of transporting information (e.g., requiring operators to remove SD cards from their flight data recorders in order to transfer the data to a computer), Conexus products offer global 4G/3G/2G cellular data offload capabilities, ensuring the maximum speed of data reception while simplifying system maintenance and reducing costs.
The ACU-200 can be integrated with other Appareo products, such as the Vision 1000 to provide cockpit image and audio data for cellular offload, or with the RDM-300 to provide crash-hardened storage of the data acquired by the ACU-200.
“More than ever, the world recognizes the importance of making data work for us,” said Batcheller. “By developing the Conexus line of telematic and connectivity products that can perform alone or be integrated with our other flight data recording and storage solutions, Appareo is offering an approachable, expandable way for customers to access their data and put it to work.”