Chicago O’Hare Dubbed the Most Connected Airport in the World

OAG recently released Megahubs 2022, a list of the Top 50 most internationally connected airports in the world and the Top 25 most domestically connected airports in the U.S. Last updated in 2019, Megahubs provides fresh insights into how ongoing air travel disruption has affected global connectivity over the past three years.

A strong domestic aviation market propelled U.S. airports to dominate Megahubs this year. Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) moved up from its third-place 2019 ranking and is now the #1 most internationally connected airport in the world and leads North America for the fifth consecutive time. On the busiest day of aviation at ORD, there were 43,350 possible connections within a six-hour window, compared to 65,294 in 2019.

O’Hare is followed globally by Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Atlanta (ATL), Seattle (SEA), Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK). In total, 18 U.S. airports landed on the Top 50 with 13 taking the top 20 spots. Domestically, Atlanta ranks #2 and Dallas/Fort Worth ranks #3 in the U.S. Outside of North America, the most connected airport was Indira Gandhi International Airport(DEL), which came in #13 globally.

“With a total of 66 destinations served in August 2022 and ranking third in the world in terms of total capacity, O’Hare launched to #1 on the world stage,” said John Grant, chief analyst at OAG. “Given the combination of fewer international destinations and the strength of recovery in the U.S. domestic market, it’s not surprising that seven U.S. airports have taken the top global spots this year.”

The top three U.S. airports are dominated by United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. United Airlines owns 46% of flights at O’Hare (down 2% from 2019) and American Airlines owns 85% at Dallas/Fort Worth. Delta Airlines has a 77% share of flights at Atlanta.

Eight U.S. airports also landed on the Top 25 Low-Cost Carrier Megahubs list, with Denver International Airport (DEN) ranking third overall – up from its #55 ranking in 2019 – due to the strong presence of Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines. United Airlines is the dominant carrier at DEN, with a 52% share of flights.

London Heathrow (LHR) dropped to #22 globally after ranking as the #1 most internationally connected airport in 2019. The number of possible connections on the busiest day of aviation at LHR has fallen by 40% as a result of schedule reductions which affected high frequency short-haul routes.Mexico City Juarez International Airport (MEX) is now the highest ranked non-U.S. Megahub, which came in #8 globally.

Megahubs is created using OAG’s fligth data platform of the most comprehensive airlines schedules and global flight connections database in the world. Fight connectivity is based on regional location and airline type. Rankings include the dominant airline at each hub and the share of flights operated by that carrier. In some instances during recovery, flight and destination combinations have been radically changed, leading to notable names missing in Megahubs 2022.

Tetra Tech Awarded Airspace Optimization Support Contract

Tetra Tech has been awarded a technical assistance contract by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to support Mexico’s civil aviation program. Under this 18-month contract, our technology and aviation experts will optimize airspace communications, navigation, surveillance, and air traffic management.

Tetra Tech will use simulation models and advanced data analytics to develop a phased national civil aviation master plan for the Mexican Federal Civil Aviation Agency. We will apply Tetra Tech’s patented Volans software as a service (SaaS) technology to provide optimized airspace capacity, economic analysis, and environmental solutions. This project is a priority for the Mexican government to carry out its mandate of air traffic management oversight in the country.

“The Tetra Tech Federal IT Group has provided lifecycle services to support the Federal Aviation Administration and other international aviation authorities in their mission to deliver safe, efficient, and sustainable airspace for more than 20 years,” said Tetra Tech Chairman and CEO Dan Batrack. “We are pleased to use our cutting-edge Volans technology to support USTDA and the Mexican civil aviation program in this critical transportation infrastructure project that will improve aviation performance, operations, and safety as part of Mexico’s multi-year National Infrastructure Program.”

Triple P – Permit Processing Platform Promises to Change the Processes for Obtaining Landing Permits

APOLAX Soft is a new software development company and its team says their aim is to create different platforms and software dedicated to the Civil Aviation Authorities, which will help to minimize the time required to process different working flows and cost efficient solutions. The first product that will be offered to the market is the landing Permit Processing Platform. This is a platform that is a key solution for the Civil Aviation Authorities of countries where it is mandatory to obtain a landing permit before the departure from origin. 

After a year of collaboration, APOLAX Soft and GentLab created the first engine. The company created an initial model of a platform on which they hope to build up the Landing Permit Processing Platform as per need of particular CAA.

Main Features of Triple P

Triple P is a totally new channel of information exchange, encouraging a change of habits and making obtaining permits easier.

Triple P gives the possibility to process landing permit applications from any location worldwide, without any need to be at a particular place, even from a mobile device or from a tablet.

Triple P gives unlimited possibilities to the Civil Aviation Authority to make a full systematization of all flights, operators, handling suppliers, handling agents, aircraft documents, to check any document validity in the database of submitted documentation and to monitor all processes without additional efforts.

Platform users can also directly communicate with each other without leaving the platform, sending separate mail, AFTN, or SITA message or calling by phone.

Triple P can also give the possibility to search any flight with flight number, permit number, operator, airport code, and has the possibility to give full statistics according to pre-arrange description, as well to give full information on the register of issued permits.

The Triple P working process is very simple. Once a particular operator, or handling supplier, submits a permit application, CAA’s permit department duty officer will get a notification on accepted new request. He/she will overview the initial request, flight details, passenger, crew data, submitted documents validity, its status, and if one will consider that the application meets legislation requirements, one is pushing the approval button.

Once all parties designated by CAA with such authorization will approve the landing permit application, CAA’s permit department duty officer will make a final review of all approvals and give the final approval on the permit application.

After the final approval, the system will automatically generate a landing permit number and it will be automatically shown in all user’s dashboards that are participating in the permit application approval process.

Triple P also helps its potential users, operators or handling suppliers by simplifying permit obtaining processes. The request form given in the platform is built up according to the requirements of a particular CAA. Step by step, the permit applicants are asked to provide all required information or documents needed for obtaining a landing permit. 

From the moment of submitting a permit request, until the granting of a landing permit, applicants can see the actual status of the permit and at what stage it is pending. 

Triple P’s logic is built in such a way that gives the possibility of its user applicants to update any submitted information at any time, it does not matter if you are updating flight schedule, or making aircraft change, changing arrival or destination airport, passengers or crews assigned for a particular flight. The platform gives the possibility to make any required updates as often as needed. Each update in the platform will be shown as a revised application.

After submission of a filled out questionnaire by appropriate CAA, in 15 working days the APOLAX team gives a full report on how the system will be rebuilt, what the final interface of the product will be and what will be delivered as the final product. From the signing of the purchase agreement with particular CAA, the IT team starts working on the creation of the final version of Triple P. The average time of creating the final version of Triple P for a particular CAA can take three to five months. 

Triple P is the only platform worldwide that can be totally free of charge for customers who are ordering this platform. APOLAX Soft has created special price offers that depend on particular CAA requirements and can be different according to using cloud technology or using local servers of CAA. 

The company says their ultimate goal is to create a completely new platform which will simplify the work of people involved in the landing permit obtaining process, speed up a time sensitive process and create the basis to completely change the workflow of CAA’s everyday life.

Collins Aerospace Launches FlightHub

Collins Aerospace Launches FlightHub

Collins Aerospace says it is advancing digital aviation solutions that make flight more efficient and sustainable with FlightHub, a new Electronic Flight Folder accessible from an aircraft’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). FlightHub centralizes data sources and workflows for pilots and airlines, coordinating the lifecycle of an entire flight from start to finish.

Collating information into a single stream, FlightHub gives fast access to all their flight information, from pre-flight documents, like flight plans and weather information, to post-flight summaries with actual timing and fuel burn reports

FlightHub customers will also get access to Collins’ new Flight Profile Optimization (FPO) solution that delivers real-time route recommendations throughout a flight to help reduce CO2 emissions by saving fuel and time. Set for release later this year, FPO provides flight path information taken from multiple aircraft and ground sources for more up-to-date information than what is generally obtained from the operational flight plan (OFP) and the flight management system (FMS), which can be several hours old. In aggregate, airlines using FPO could see up to 1% annual savings on fuel per year.

“We’ve created FlightHub to reduce workload and streamline the experience for pilots, by cutting out unnecessary time sorting through multiple data sources. The application is also a quick and easy installation for airlines, which is key when implementing new technologies,” said Jen Schopfer, president of connected aviation solutions for Collins Aerospace. “Flight Profile Optimization is the first of many features we will be introducing into FlightHub as we build and implement the right solutions to help our customers operate more efficiently and more sustainably.”

FlightHub supports the integration of airline and third-party applications and can operate as a stand-alone system or connect to the aircraft’s IP network to receive real-time updates. It’s one of many Collins applications designed with its unique data and analytics capabilities to provide value and efficiency to its customers across the aviation industry

Collins Aerospace and FlightAware Launch WebUAS Integration to Support AAM

Collins Aerospace and FlightAware Launch WebUAS Integration to Support AAM

Collins Aerospace says it is leveraging the synergies of its recent acquisition of FlightAware by announcing the availability of new aircraft tracking and alerting features for its Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) digital platform, WebUAS. By integrating FlightAware Firehose, a comprehensive global flight tracking and ADS-B flight status data feed, WebUAS is now able to provide Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and UAS operators a high-fidelity picture of active flight operations within airspace they are monitoring.

Autonomous and remotely-piloted flights are currently unable to commercially operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) because of gaps in Air Traffic Management (ATM) technologies and infrastructure systems. Collins says it is helping to bridge these gaps with the integration of aircraft telemetry data and primary radar feeds, and the ability to stream real-time aircraft tracking data from 195 different countries, private data link partners, and a comprehensive ADS-B network.

“Collins is not only preparing for the future of flight, but also setting the framework for the successful integration of autonomous operations through the integration of FlightAware data with the rest of ourleading digital and connected aviation solutions,” said Jen Schopfer, president of connected aviation solutions for Collins Aerospace. “By continuing to deploy intelligent solutions and connected flight services, Collins Aerospace is helping to create the path for expanded Advanced Air Mobility and creating new value for the aviation community.”

In addition, Collins Aerospace is an active partner for NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign as a Developmental Test partner for infrastructure services. That campaign’s goal is to promote public confidence and accelerate the realization of emerging aviation markets for passenger and cargo transportation in urban, suburban, rural and regional environments.

Kathmandu Airport Implements New RNP AR Procedures Designed by NAVBLUE

Kathmandu Airport Implements New RNP AR Procedures Designed by NAVBLUE

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has published an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) amendment for the entry into service of new RNP AR approaches and departures developed by NAVBLUE for Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA: KTM, ICAO: VNKT), the main airport serving Kathmandu, which is surrounded by mountains and a very challenging operating environment.

Required Navigation Performance with Authorization Required (RNP AR), a Performance Based Navigation (PBN) navigation specification, is a good solution for this type of airport. RNP AR allows navigation accuracy down to 0.3NM and below, and performing turns after the final approach point: trajectories can fit better in the obstacle landscape, reducing minimas while maintaining safety.

NAVBLUE had already developed RNP AR procedures in 2012 for Runway 02 at Kathmandu Airport, which includes Radius to Fix (RF) turns in the final segment to allow a curved approach around the mountains, as opposed to the straight-in VOR approach (VHF omnidirectional range) usually required to go over a mountain. These RNP AR procedures allow a comfortable glide slope of 2.8 degree compared to the VOR glide slope of 5.3 degree.

The new RNP AR APCH procedures designed by NAVBLUE in 2021 for Runway 20 at Kathmandu airport offer an IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) alternative to the current VFR (Visual Flight Rules)/circling approaches. RNP AR departure procedures for both runway ends have also been developed providing full benefits to operators equipped with this capability, NAVBLUE says.

The new RNP AR procedures, airlines flying to and from Kathmandu airport will benefit from lower approach minima and fewer weather related diversions, a fully guided approach in both lateral and vertical (using flight director and/or autopilot), optimized airspace with fully repeatable, predictable trajectories and reduced fuel consumption due to shorter procedures compared to the conventional ones, and optimized vertical paths of the trajectories.

“NAVBLUE is proud that Kathmandu airport will now benefit from new RNP AR procedures, which should generate significant benefits for airlines flying into Nepal,” said Fabrice Hamel, CEO of NAVBLUE. “For Runway 20 it even allows for instrument flight procedures where none existed before. These fully managed RNP AR procedures reduce the risk of unstabilised approaches and involve fewer go-arounds, bringing operational benefits for the airport, both in terms of efficiency and safety.”

NAVBLUE says it has already supported many airlines in their ops approvals, Flight Ops Safety Assessment (FOSA), RAIM predictions and navigation database validation for their RNP AR operations into Kathmandu, in order to enhance the regularity and safety of their operations in their flights to Kathmandu.

IndiGo, India’s largest airline, has chosen NAVBLUE and Airbus’s RNP AR modification to upgrade some of its latest A320 aircraft and to obtain RNP AR approvals to take advantage of the new procedures. Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal.

Eight Airlines Select NAVBLUE’s Mission+ Electronic Flight Assistant

Eight Airlines Select NAVBLUE’s Mission+ Electronic Flight Assistant

Officially launched by Airbus last November, Mission+, the first Electronic Flight Assistant, has already been selected by eight operators. The Mission+ community includes National Airlines, Air Transat, Peach Aviation, flyadeal, Jazeera Airways, Cyprus Airways, Air Malta and Airbus Transport International (ATI).

Mission+ was created by NAVBLUE combining its Flight Operations expertise, the technical experience of Airbus pilots and the feedback from airlines worldwide, the company says.

Gathering all the information pilots need in one single application on a globe-centric display, Mission+ integrates mission management data and documentation, cockpit check-list, navigation charts and airport maps, real time weather conditions, aircraft performance data — usually only available to pilots via multiple sources.

As an Electronic Flight Assistant, Mission+ reduces pilot workload and streamlines the flow of information between ground and onboard systems, says NAVBLUE. Pilots will be able to optimize their flights from preparation to closure. Mission+ also increases efficiency by reducing manual entries and therefore risks of errors. “With NAVBLUE and Mission+, we aim to improve our airline’s operational efficiency, with a new generation EFB integrating all the information our pilots need, before, during and after flight, on an easily accessible and fully integrated platform,” Captain Ali Bourahla, chief pilot at Jazeera Airways said.

The solution ensures a flexible platform with optional modules that can be customized to airline specific requirements.

National Airlines, Air Transat, Peach Aviation, flyadeal and Air Malta will use the mission management module (electronic flight folder), while Jazeera Airways, Cyprus Airways, Airbus Transport International (ATI) have selected Mission+ for both charting and mission management modules.

“With over 30 years of experience in charting and paperless cockpit operations, we offer the first Electronic Assistant that enhances the pilot’s journey experience and the airline’s operational efficiency,” said Fabrice Hamel, CEO of NAVBLUE. “We are proud to already count eight airlines joining the Mission+ community.”

FDM’S PATH FORWARD: SAFETY PLUS SUSTAINABILITY

FDM’S PATH FORWARD: SAFETY PLUS SUSTAINABILITY

Flight data analysis providers are expanding their portfolios of services to help aircraft operators derive more value from the flood of information streaming off their flights every day.

Companies like GE Digital, Scaled Analytics, AirSync, CloudAhoy, Collins Aerospace, and Polaris Aero and others are focused primarily on helping aircraft operators identify potential flight safety risks through programs like flight operations quality assurance (FOQA), flight data monitoring (FDM), and overarching safety management systems. These help operators develop measures for avoiding or mitigating those risks.

Aircraft operators — commercial and business aviation ones — are confronting economic pressures from Covid-19’s lingering suppression of travel, as well as persistent labor shortages and rising inflation. They also are working to meet social and political pressures for reducing their flights’ harmful effects on the climate and making their operations more environmentally sustainable.

The data analysis firms are broadening their flight safety focus to help customers meet those economic and sociopolitical pressures — and increase their value to customers — through smarter use of flight operations data.

Luke Bowman GE Digital
Luke Bowman
GE Digital

“We’ve really started to see, particularly on the airline side, the expansion of the use of this data,” Luke Bowman, senior product manager at GE Digital, said. That prompted the company to update FlightPulse, its fully configurable modular electronic flight bag app, to let pilots access their individual operational efficiency metrics and trends after each flight. This allows an airline to “deputize the flight crews to be part of the sustainability journey. There are a lot of things that pilots can do to operate more sustainably.”

Dion Bozec Scaled Analytics
Dion Bozec
Scaled Analytics

Likewise, Kanata, Ontario-based Scaled Analytics eyes expanding its services. President and CEO Dion Bozec founded the Canadian company in 2014 to establish a modern, easy-to-use, affordable flight data analysis service.

Flight data analysis by GE Digital indicates business jet pilots all but ignore collision warnings from their aircraft’s TAWS, even if IFR weather and at night. GE chart.
Flight data analysis by GE Digital indicates business jet pilots all but ignore collision warnings from their aircraft’s TAWS, even if IFR weather and at night. GE chart.

“Safety doesn’t sell, so we’re looking at doing other things with the data,” Bozec said. “Fuel usage is a big one. CO2 emissions is another thing that’s on our roadmap.”

The Payoffs

Flight safety data analysis does have payoffs. GE Digital analyzed 14 years of flight data for business jets from its Corporate FOQA (C-FOQA) service. It found that pilots fully or partially ignored 97 percent or more of callouts from terrain alert and warning systems (TAWS) that their aircraft was about to collide with ground, water, or obstacles.

Controlled-flight-into-terrain (CFIT) crashes are among the world’s top persistent safety concerns, along with runway incursions, loss of control in flight, and midair collisions. Numerous organizations consider preventing CFIT crashes a top priority. Although not the most frequent, CFIT crashes account for a substantial number of fatalities.

GE Digital looked at it 889,886 flights involving 1.85 million flight hours and 3,200 airports in more than 190 countries. Fifty-five aircraft makes and models were included, 60 percent of which were large business jets and 20 percent of which were mid- or super-mid-sized ones.

Of 28,421 TAWS alerts analyzed, the study found that pilots only responded fully to 2 percent of TAWS cautions and 3 percent of more serious TAWS warnings, which alert flight crews to imminent collisions. Pilots did not respond at all to 80 percent of TAWS warnings and had what GE Digital called a weak response to 14 percent (74 percent and 24 percent, respectively, for TAWS cautions). In 3 percent, pilots responded opposite to what TAWS advised (1 percent for TAWS cautions).

More disturbing, perhaps, is that GE Digital found that pilots failed to respond to virtually all TAWS alerts while flying in instrument-flight-rules weather or at night.

Those findings contrast with GE Digital’s assessment of pilot actions following warnings of collisions with other flights from traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS). Pilots responded in some way to 94 percent of TCAS alerts.

“One of the things that we’re focusing on now is that risk of CFIT and the TAWS response,” Bowman said. “We have the data over many years, and there hasn’t been a meaningful change in those risks.” GE Digital presented its findings at the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) annual Business Aviation Safety Summit in May.

FOQA

FOQA, according to the FAA’s airline-focused Advisory Circular (AC) 120-82, is a voluntary safety program designed to allow operators and pilots “to share de-identified aggregate information with the FAA” so that it can monitor “national trends in aircraft operations” and focus resources on operational risks in flight operations, air traffic control, and airports. FOQA’s goal is to enable operators, pilots, and the FAA “to identify and reduce or eliminate safety risks, as well as minimize deviations from the regulations.”

FOQA traces back to 1960s efforts by British Airways and TAP Air Portugal. In 1992, the FSF defined an industry standard for such programs and coined the term FOQA. AC 120-82 was adopted in 2004. FOQA by then was being adopted by business aviation. GE Digital in 2007 launched its C-FOQA program. CAE Flightscape followed suit in 2009.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) describes FDM as “the routine collection and analysis of flight data to develop objective and predictive information for advancing safety.” That involves continuously recording flight parameters, routinely collecting that data, and processing it to extract safety-relevant information, such as operating procedure deviations.

Bob Rufli Air Charter Safety Foundation
Bob Rufli
Air Charter Safety Foundation

“We talk a lot about FOQA and FDM, and everybody goes, “Well wait a minute. What’s the difference?” said Robert Rufli, newly appointed director of operations for the Washington, D.C.-headquartered Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF). “The reality is nothing. The whole thing ties together as part of the safety management system that you as an organization have.”

That foundation is beta testing an FDM service for its more than 290 member companies. The test is using AirSync’s Bridge telemetry unit setup and CloudAhoy’s post-flight debriefing app and services. It includes two light jets and one turboprop because it specifically aims to support aircraft that may not have had quick access recorders (QAR) installed. AirSync’s setup can extract data from Garmin devices through a USB connection.

Rufli, who is ACSF’s past chairman and was Pentastar Aviation’s flight operations vice president, will oversee the FDM service and other safety activities.

Looking forward, the FSF is calling on the world’s aviation leaders to take safety data analysis to a new level. Last year, it launched the Learning from All Operations initiative to broaden analysis to “successful” operations as well as ones that result in safety incidents or crashes.

“The time has come for aviation to complement the traditional approaches to learning for safety and recognize the issues that arise from increasingly complex systems and environments,” the FSF wrote in a July 2021 white paper laying out its rationale for the initiative. “We call for a fundamental shift to learn from all operations and events — not just from those that are unwanted.”

Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA)/Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) can help identify and monitor leading indicators of safety-related flight events. It can also correlate multiple data sources and assist with root cause analysis.
Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA)/Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) can help identify and monitor leading indicators of safety-related flight events. It can also correlate multiple data sources and assist with root cause analysis.

Costs Come Down

Identifying hazards and managing risks remains essential, the FSF said, but organizations should seek new insights by analyzing everyday work across all types of outcomes. This could “enable learning that is more frequent, sensitive and timely” and “enhance safety management that is often based on a small subset of performance information, which may introduce avoidable but unrecognized consequences into the aviation system.”

As well-established and proven a practice that it is, flight safety data analysis still faces challenges. Getting company owners and managers to buy into the practice is one. Another is getting pilots to trust and embrace the process. A third is data, both the growing volume available for analysis and the quality of it.

A big hurdle to buy-in has been the cost of flight data analysis systems, in dollars and in staffing (particularly for small and mid-sized operations).

“The cost of having this equipment has really come down,” ACSF’s Rufli said. “If you tried to put in a system like the airlines have into a 1980s or 1990s airplane, it was expensive — $200,000, $300,000 for good system installed in a Gulfstream 4. With the new technology that’s out there nowadays, it’s much, much cheaper.”

ACSF has said its planned FDM service, which is aimed at small and mid-sized operators, should cost about $4,000 a year per aircraft to start and roughly half that thereafter.

FOQA/FDM providers have evolved to reduce their customer’s staffing burden. Most offer “software-as-a-service.” They maintain the database, computing power, and algorithms for analysis. Customers can run the analysis themselves or use the provider’s analysts. They don’t need to buy and host hardware. That’s appealing for an operator with few employees.

“Twenty years ago, when I started, the airline’s safety shop was the only one that had this data,” Bowman said. “People were literally locked in a room with servers and the only thing that went in and out of that room were the discs that came off planes.” Today, that data is typically uploaded to the Cloud and available — in de-identified form — to safety, flight operations, and maintenance managers.

Scaled Analytics is expanding its services to include a “light” SMS allowing customers to link an SMS report to its FDM service so the reported event can be animated. Scaled Analytics image.
Scaled Analytics is expanding its services to include a “light” SMS allowing customers to link an SMS report to its FDM service so the reported event can be animated. Scaled Analytics image.

Trust — establishing and reinforcing it with pilots — is a big part of conversations about FOQA and FDM programs even today. Advocates ranging from those at union-represented airlines to ones in online forums spend much time explaining that such programs are not punitive (unless a pilot’s actions are proven reckless, negligent, or criminal) and that protections are in place to shield pilots from retribution for operational errors.

One is a “gatekeeper” function through which the identity of pilots involved in an event is not shared with those reviewing that event and an independent person debriefs the pilots, passing on their comments and observations but not their names. Of course, flight data analysis in shops that only operate a few aircraft is difficult to de-identify. It is essential there that management honor the non-punitive pledge.

Gaining pilots’ trust has become easier. One reason may be the general population’s greater use of data.

“Data is everywhere,” Scaled Analytics’ Bozec said. “I’ve got this data that helps me exercise or this data that helps me see how my car is running. Maybe it’s a logical extension to use data to see how I fly and be safer.”

Another reason is lack of punishment. “I have never heard of any operator punishing the flight crew for anything that’s been detected on a FOQA program. Management teams understand how these programs are meant to work. I think maybe that’s helped build that trust.”

The Data Challenge is New and Old

The volumes of data are growing. Take jet engines as an example.

Five years ago, engine manufacturers got data in bytes or kilobytes on single powerplants operating in flight. Single engines today generate gigabytes. “We’ve completely jumped over the megabyte portion,” Arun Srinivasan, Pratt & Whitney’s associate director of strategy for engine health management, said. Given the number of aircraft flying around in the world, “you can imagine the magnitude and volume of data that we are collecting” on engines alone.

Flight data still needs to be cleaned up. Consider touchdown speed.

“It may seem like touchdown should be really easy to know,” Bowman said. It should be when the landing gear squat sensor is activated. But GE Digital’s analysts found that squat sensors actually have a delay in them. “The plane’s moving fast enough that if you have a one second or a two second delay, he said, “the aircraft is significantly further down the runway” when the data says the aircraft just landed. So the analysts looked at other sensors, like wheel speed sensors.

cockpit at night landing

“You can see when the wheels spool up,” he said. “That’s a better indicator than a squat switch. The team recently released a big update to our touchdown time point. Our team is constantly improving the algorithms as well as the software that the algorithms run on.”

GE Digital’s data shows that flight data analysis has contributed to significant reductions in CFIT and loss-of-control crashes and runway excursions. GE Digital chart.
GE Digital’s data shows that flight data analysis has contributed to significant reductions in CFIT and loss-of-control crashes and runway excursions. GE Digital chart.

Scaled Analytics has just started doing engine trend reporting to help customers’ maintenance departments schedule engine maintenance and monitor engine health. “We don’t do the actual engine health monitoring here,” Bozec said. “We collect that data for the operator’s experts.”

The company is also offering “light” SMS version that fully integrates with the FDM data. “We are not going to be competing with the many SMS companies out there,” Bozec said. “What we want to do is enable customers to link a pilot’s SMS report right to the FDM flight and look at an animation of the flight.”

GE Digital has integrated its C-FOQA with Polaris Aero’s VOCUS SMS safety management system, enabling flight data from VOCUS to be forwarded automatically to that service. C-FOQA also integrates Collins Aerospace’s ARINCDirect flight planning services, including its Debrief application. That gives pilots direct visibility into C-FOQA data for their own flights.

All these experts agreed that flight data analysis continues to prove its worth. For example, GE Digital’s data shows that flight data analysis has helped reduce CFIT crashes by 49.3 percent, loss of control in flight by 38.1 percent, and runway excursions by 37.2 percent over five years.

“FDM is the validation, the verification of what’s happening out in the operations,” Rufli said.

Top Pilot Training Center in Europe Chooses Private-Radar

European Flight Academy, a Lufthansa Group flight school, selected Private-Radar as
their Flight School Management System after an exhaustive analysis of the leading
software on the market.

With 60 years of experience in the field of flight training, Lufthansa Group has
strong demands for a modern online flight training management system to manage their
multi-base training centers. When it came time to commence training operations at
European Flight Academy, they wanted to offer the best training management platform
to their students, instructors, and staff.

“We were using different software solutions across multiple bases in different countries, which was inefficient. After evaluating the leading software on the market, Private-Radar was chosen because it offers a state-of-the-art solution and is also flexible and adaptable to our processes,” said Carsten Mangasser, head of Pilot School and deputy head of Training ATO at Lufthansa Aviation Training Switzerland. “Private-Radar is without a doubt the best solution for European Flight Academy.”

Private-Radar’s Flight School Management System gives flight training centers
complete control over all their training, administrative, and operational information with
an all-in-one platform. Training centers can simplify tasks like scheduling flight and
ground lessons, following student progress, invoicing, reporting, and managing aircraft
maintenance. Private-Radar is also audit-ready and compliant which was a requirement
for European Flight Academy.

Prisque Lemblé, founder and CEO of Private-Radar, added, “We are honored
to have been selected by such a prestigious and experienced training center. Both
companies will benefit from this partnership as it will create a unique opportunity for a
collaboration that will directly enhance our current solution using their industry
expertise.”

Since the 1960s, Lufthansa and SWISS have been training commercial pilots at the
highest level with the predecessor flight schools of the European Flight Academy. This
many years of experience and the close interaction with the aviation companies of the
Lufthansa Group enable optimized, practice-oriented training.

With this unique foundation, they are constantly developing their training and the flight
school concept in order to optimally meet the requirements of tomorrow.

The European Flight Academy has been the flight school of the Lufthansa Group since
2017. Today it trains young pilots for airlines inside and outside the Lufthansa Group
and maintains a fleet of modern training aircraft in Germany and Switzerland for this
purpose.

WestJet partners with Aero Design Labs to Test Mod Designed to Reduce Fuel Burn

WestJet recently announced a new partnership with Aero Design Labs to modify the airline’s 737-700 NG aircraft for greater reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency. WestJet says it is committed to make investments to reduce the airline’s environmental footprint. It is anticipated that the modifications will reduce overall fuel burn through drag reduction and lead to long-term cost savings and reduced carbon emissions on the 737-700 aircraft.

“With one of North America’s youngest and most efficient fleets, WestJet continues to make significant investments to make air travel more sustainable,” said Diederik Pen, WestJet chief operating officer. “Through our innovative partnership with Aero Design Labs, we are currently testing a first-of-its kind product designed to reduce fuel burn and improve the efficiency and longevity of our 737-700s.”

The Aero Design Labs team created the Aerodynamic Drag Reduction System (ADRS 1) for the Boeing 737-700 fleet. WestJet was a key partner in the installation, certification and validation of the product. The airline and Aero Design Labs worked together to gather data and findings which drove additional modifications and feedback on the technology, which will be added to the aircraft once approved and validated by Transport Canada for commercial use.

“We are delighted that WestJet as the largest 737NG operator in Canada chose to partner with ADL as the launch customer on the 737-700 using our ADRS1 Kit that we have developed for the 737NG family. WestJet clearly shares our enthusiasm and conviction toward reducing carbon emissions. This starts the journey today towards WestJet’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Chris Jones, chief commercial officer at Aero Design Labs.

WestJet’s partnership with Aero Design Labs comes as the airline furthers its efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Following regulatory approvals, WestJet will continue to work with Aero Design labs to determine further fleet implementation plans and to validate data and efficiency findings. 

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