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International aviation body cites advantages of AMA technology

Oct. 20, 2010, Calgary - In an interim report on the feasibility of implementing improved aircraft
tracking services across the Atlantic and on demand data streaming, the European Oceanic Position Tracking Improvement & Monitoring (“OPTIMI”) program has cited AeroMechanical’s (“AMA”) technology as a readily available solution for the airline industry.


October 20, 2010
By Carey Fredericks

AMA’s involvement with OPTIMI program was the direct result of the company’s efforts to assist in improving the safety and rescue efforts should an event such as the tragic loss of AF447 in June 2009 be repeated.

The objective of the OPTIMI Project is to “conduct a study that will analyze and demonstrate the feasibility of implementing oceanic flight tracking services and the down linking of safety data in the Atlantic areas of the NAT, EUR and AFI ICAO regions at a reasonable cost and within a limited timeframe (2011).”

“AMA’s technology is a valid option for consideration within the OPTIMI project as being universally available to civil and military operators within reasonable timeframes,” the preliminary report stated. The team that is conducting the research study defined AMA’s technology called afirs UpTime as a medium term solution stating, “Short term refers to trials in 2010 and implementation in 2011. Medium term refers to trials in 2011 and implementation after 2012.” Efforts to organize an OPTIMI trial with one or more existing AMA customers are underway. AMA has proven technology (patented with further patents pending) that can automatically stream vital data normally secured in the black box as well as position information to multiple designated ground sites when a potential malfunction is detected aboard an aircraft. The streaming can also be manually triggered by the flight crew or ground based operations personnel.

OPTIMI is one program being implemented by the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking. The members of OPTIMI include Air France, Airbus, AirEuropa, SITA, and other European Air Traffic control agencies.

AMA is the sole non-European member included in the consortium and the sole datalink specialist. Note that neither SESAR nor OPTIMI specifies equipment, but rather fully evaluates candidate solutions and issues recommendations regarding implementation feasibility and impact.

The OPTIMI working group stated in its preliminary report that, “This solution offers great flexibility and is unique in its ability to use a wide range of events to trigger alerts/position reports automatically. Down linking FDR data during specific periods is also potentially of great value. This system does not require ACARS or FANS1/A equipage; rather it monitors ARINC 429 and 717 data buses and transmits selected data in accordance with rules embedded in the on board software.

The (streamed aircraft) data is stored in a secure location and can be delivered to any computer in the
world securely and within seconds”. The report further states that “International aviation authorities have approved AMA’s technology for installation in over 25 aircraft types/models and by different governing bodies thus certifying the system for world-wide use,” the reported added. Referring to AMA’s unique data streaming solution, the OPTIMI report stated, “This process can be set up to only transmit in abnormal situations, thereby reducing data volume and cost.”

AMA was selected and awarded a subcontract as a member of CEDAR (Critical Event Detection and Reporting) consortium to support OPTIMI as was announced in a February 8, 2010 press release titled “AeroMechanical Services selected to contribute to European Oceanic Position Tracking Improvement and Monitoring.”