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Calgary’s Flyht Aerospace Solutions’ stock on the rise

March 13, 2014, Calgary - A Calgary company whose technology allows for the live streaming of black box flight data has seen its stock rise 30 per cent since the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.


March 13, 2014
By The Calgary Herald

Shares in Flyht Aerospace Solutions jumped from $0.56 at closing on
Friday, March 7 to $0.70 by the end of the day on Monday, March 10. The
stock closed at $0.66 on Tuesday, but by the end of the day Wednesday
had climbed to $0.73.

 

Flyht Aerospace Solutions president Matt
Bradley said that, until investigators determine what happened to the
Malaysia Airlines jet, it’s impossible to know whether his company’s
technology could have done anything to assist. But he said — just like
the vanishing of Air France 447 over the Atlantic in 2009 — the latest
incident appears to be driving renewed interest in high-tech inflight
data systems.

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“We don’t replace the black box,” Bradley said,
referring to the industry-standard flight data recorders in use today.
“The black box is meant to listen, record, and survive, and we need that
box to continue to do what it does. The AFIRS system does something
very different.”

 

Traditional black boxes are meant to withstand
crashes, and as a result, are relied on heavily in accident
investigations. The problem is, they’re only useful once they’re
recovered — they’re not helpful in a situation like Malaysia Flight
MH370.

 

Flyht’s Automated Flight Information Reporting System
(AFIRS) uses satellite technology to stream black box data in real-time
to dispatchers on the ground. It also gives pilots the ability to alert
ground crews with the touch of a button to any abnormal situation in the
air.

 

Bradley said “abnormal” doesn’t have to mean an emergency —
it can be as simple as the appearance of an unusual weather pattern or
the presence of an unruly passenger. But getting advance notice that
something out of the ordinary is happening gives airline operational
control crews the chance to keep an eye on a specific aircraft’s flight
pattern and prepare for a possible call for assistance.

 

“With the
aircraft we’re tracking in really remote and harsh areas in Northern
Canada, those pilots make use of that alerting function all the time,”
Bradley said. “They just want dispatch back at the airline operational
control centre to know, ‘Hey, I’m doing something different here. Keep
any eye, just in case things worsen.’ ”

 

Flyht’s technology has
been installed on approximately 350 aircraft on 35 airlines around the
world, and the company has been working diligently to expand its reach,
pursuing certifications for as many aircraft types as possible. So far,
the company has received or applied for AFIRS product approvals for
various aircraft models from Transport Canada, the Federal Aviation
Administration in the United States, the European Aviation Safety Agency
in Europe, and the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China.

 

In
the last 12 months, Flyht has also inked a number of significant deals —
including a recent contract to install AFIRS on 218 airplanes belonging
to seven different airlines in China. New government regulations in
China call for all commercial aircraft to be equipped with satellite
communication technology by 2017.

 

It costs about $100,000 per
plane to install AFIRS technology, but Bradley said he doesn’t think the
cost is a barrier. He said there are a lot of behind-the-scenes
discussions going on right now in the aviation industry about the future
of streaming black box capabilities, and that bodes well for his
company.

 

“This is not an environment where you can afford to get
things wrong, so I think the aviation industry is actually moving very
quickly,” he said. “I think the growth is moving at quite a quick pace,
considering the amount of work and analysis that needs to be done.”