Avionics News May 2012 - 55
pret the data can make it an expensive proposition. Now, however, more affordable options are emerging. One of the most interesting is Wi-Flight, a Quebec-based unit of Aircraft Electronics Association member, Aero Teknic. WiFlight has built a solid FDM service, based on an inexpensive smartphone that has been modified to work as a flight data recorder rather than a handset. The current Wi-Flight GTA02 device and associated services are used to detect activities, such as low-level buzzing, gravitational force exceedances, restricted airspace violations and hard landings, according to Pascal Gosselin, Wi-Flight CEO. The device activates automatically when the master switch is turned on. Once the aircraft has been shut down, the device senses that movement has stopped, power is off and vibration has ceased and automatically uploads flight data to the operator’s server, using Wi-Fi at up to 54 megabits per second. The company is the only provider of a fully automated FDM post-processing and analysis solution for mixed-fleet flight schools and small regional airlines, Gosselin said. The service can be used for aircraft maintenance, pilot performance monitoring and pilot training. Wi-Flight sells the recorder at a fleet discount of $349 per unit and offers FDM subscriptions as low as $30 per aircraft, per month. The customer also must buy one or two outdoor Wi-Fi antennas ($150 each) and an upload accelerator ($199), as well as download the Google Earth plug-in for the Firefox or Google Chrome Web browser. Customers also use the Wi-Flight Flight Browser to select flights by tail number, date or type of alert and initiate playback. Alerts are color-coded yellow or red, and red alerts are automatically emailed to operators.
The current product features 3-D GPS position updates four times a second. Actual above ground level altitude is derived from a terrain database. A dual-channel cockpit voice recorder picks up pilot voice and ambient audio. “We can hear the engines running, tires chirping, buzzers in the cockpit and the pilot’s conversations with the co-pilot and air traffic control,” Gosselin said. The system also uses the ambient audio data to derive propeller revolutions per minute by sampling the sound, passing it through a pitch detection algorithm to get the frequency and crunching the data based on the number of engines/prop blades. “It’s remarkably accurate,” Gosselin said. Wi-Flight’s device includes dual 3-axis accelerometers, which detect vibration, such as engine start, and register up to plus-orminus 8 G-forces. The system also includes 8 gigabytes of internal memory – up to 120 hours of flight audio and data – and a tamper-proof glare shield bracket with witness wire or zip-tie.
Continued on following page
ABOVE: Wi-Flight’s selfcontained CVR/FDR installed on the glareshield of a Cirrus SR20. LEFT: Users may drill down into the Wi-Flight Flight Browser interface and initiate playbacks from automatically generated events/alerts.