Getting the Most out of Flight Data Monitoring: FDM + Foresight
I have always looked at flight data monitoring (FDM) as one of the technologies that just make sense in aviation. Not all aircraft are flown the same way, or in the same environments, and not all missions go according to plan. When I was the Chief Pilot, how was I supposed to know our pilots were flying in accordance to regulations and our procedures? How am I supposed to know the actual status of the aircraft and whether recent or past flights may have had exceedances that would impact the performance of the aircraft or safety for future flights?
Though we should be able to trust our folks to do the right thing when no one is watching, we need to be watching to make sure they’re doing the right things.
Having FDM equipment on board is the place to start, but the real benefits really only begin when the information is analyzed and acted on as part of a larger, operational management program.
Why do I need HFDM? What are the benefits?
Well first, according a US JHSIT analysis in the VAST/IHST Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring Toolkit, it has a 137% Return on Investment that has a Discounted Payback Period (DPP) of 0.1 years.
What other technology out there is going to pay for itself and more that fast while increasing the safety of the operation?
But most of our customers originally researched HFDM because they were either interested in monitoring and recording flight data to improve the operational safety and efficiency of their flight program, or they are looking to fulfill a regulatory or contractual requirement. Both are understandable reasons because it is important for aviation programs to track how their aircraft are being flown in order to identify abnormal occurrences and remove risks. This is data that everyone in an aviation program can use.
- As an owner/operator, you need the information to know how your aircraft is being operated, how many hours it has flown, and in what conditions. This allows for better asset and risk management.
- The flight team can use the data to log, analyze, and evaluate their flight performance. They can incorporate the information in their training program to establish flight parameters, provide feedback, reinforce good behaviors, or to suggest change.
- The maintenance team needs the data to analyze and evaluate the status of the aircraft and to identify whether there are instances during the flight (or flight history) that might impact aircraft safety or the health of the engine and vital subcomponents.
And as we discussed in “HUMS for HEMS”, standalone helicopter HFDM solutions, including camera-based systems, might meet regulatory or contractual mandates, but these basic monitoring systems miss vitally important information for operational safety like helicopter engine and component health data. By monitoring how the aircraft is being operated (HFDM) and how the machine itself is operating (HUMS), operators can have a comprehensive solution without stacking single system costs, adding weight, or sacrificing interoperability.
HFDM + HUMS
As mentioned in the HFDM Toolkit, HUMS increases operational safety and includes benefits of:
- Reduced dedicated maintenance
- Improved maintenance scheduling and logistic support
- Reduced parts usage through accurate and automated usage monitoring
- Reduced no-fault-found (NFF) events
- Reduced consequential damage through early diagnosis
- Improved event/incident/mishap analysis
But did you know that according to a VAST survey, HFDM and HUMS are two of the top eight areas that have been identified as the best opportunities to prevent helicopter accidents?
Or that the European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST) released a report that also recognized both HFDM and HUMS as part of the top technologies “..to Mitigate Helicopter Accident Factors (especially Fatal)”?
Shouldn’t you be looking for a system that does both?
The Power of Foresight
So, HFDM involves accessing, analyzing, and acting on flight data. And Foresight does HFDM really well by capturing critical flight parameters, flight playback, and Chapter 1 and custom flight exceedances that can automatically trigger SMS/email alerts after the flight. It’s everything you need from a HFDM system.
But one of the things I like most about our Foresight system is that it delivers HFDM, plus aircraft performance and condition monitoring, PLUS comprehensive coverage and predictive health monitoring of the engine and vital dynamic components. All delivered automatically, touchless, available nearly instantly any where in the world.
No other HUMS solution on the market has our advanced capability.
Foresight also converts this data into actionable information by delivering prognostic health reports for vital systems and subcomponents, Remaining Useful Life (RUL) estimates on trending components, and automated RTB solutions after every flight.
Utilizing Foresight not only can our customers satisfy their HFDM needs, but they can also immediately optimize their aircraft performance, their maintenance programs, and improve their operational safety and efficiency.
Gathering, analyzing and most importantly acting on aircraft performance and flight data are critical parts of safe aviation operations and as parts of having comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS) and Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. Both HFDM and HUMS were identified by VAST and the EHEST as part of the best opportunities to prevent helicopter accidents and reduce costs with dramatically fast returns on investments. Doesn’t it make sense to get a system that does both, while being 50% lighter and significantly less expensive than other solutions?
Isn’t it time you gave us a call to learn how you could have the power of Foresight?