The US Forest Service recently released new requirements for firefighting helicopters on their Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC). It requires real-time communications, automatic flight following, and ATU bucket drop data, together with cockpit audio recording and Flight Data Monitoring (FDM).
Three companies have combined their expertise to build a system that meets the requirements without overburdening aircraft and budgets, according to a press release issued by GPMS, Blue Sky Network, and Flightcell.
Below are excerpts:
Today, GPMS International, Flightcell, and Blue Sky Network jointly announced a combined solution featuring their industry-leading technologies that creates a fully compliant, lightweight, cost-efficient option for operators looking to bid on the recently released U.S. Forest Service Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC) firefighting contract.
Executives from the companies explained that many operators are having difficulty finding workable solutions to satisfy the new requirements in the USFS contract. By pairing Flightcell’s and Blue Sky Network’s enabled communications, flight following, Additional Telemetry Unit (ATU), and cockpit audio recording with GPMS’s advanced Health and Usage Monitoring System, the combined package meets new USFS requirements including the “modern aircraft” specification for HUMS.
“After many discussions during the HAI Firefighting and Aerial Firefighting shows, operators told us that they are looking for a solution to meet the new USFS requirements without overburdening their aircraft with additional weight or complexity or stacking single system costs onto their budgets,” said Todd Powers, GPMS VP of Sales. “What we have created here with Flightcell and Blue Sky Network is a lightweight, economically efficient solution to bring aircraft into compliance and allow operators to compete for this new contract.”
It puts Flightcell’s DZMx Plus and Smarthub cockpit audio visual recording onboard and, using Blue Sky Network’s connectivity service and SkyRouter™ fleet management platform, data is ported via a dual Satellite/LTE modem, where operators get comms, ATU data, and flight following in real-time together with downloadable audio/video recording.
Completing the solution, GPMS’s Foresight MX system provides the in-depth flight and machine monitoring that are part of the MATOC’s modern aircraft requirements for HUMS. Foresight provides engine and airframe vibration monitoring, engine performance monitoring and cycle counting, flight data monitoring with exceedance alerting, as well as rotor track and balance monitoring and adjustment solutions.