S-92 helicopter operators flying to Norway’s North Sea oil rigs will soon be able to receive real-time meteorological data direct from micro weather stations located at destination helidecks. Integrated by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), into the 2.2 release of the iFly Sikorsky™ flight performance calculator, the upgraded app will allow flight planners and aircrews to determine environmental conditions at offshore rigs before an aircraft’s departure from home base, or optionally via satellite communication link while in flight.
iFly Sikorsky connectivity to real-time weather at offshore oil rigs comes courtesy of recent agreements between Sikorsky and:
• MM Aviation (Asker, Norway) part of Aircontact Group AS, whose In-Flight Information Services (IFIS) technology collects and feeds meteorological data to subscribers from sensors currently installed aboard 22 North Sea platforms.
• Outerlink, a Metro Aviation company (Shreveport, Louisiana) whose IRIS satcom system will bring IFIS weather data directly into the cockpit during flight. IRIS is currently used by an S-92 operator in the Gulf of Mexico region, where the L-band satcom link downloads Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) data to home base.
“We’ve combined IFIS and IRIS into the iFly Sikorsky app to bring a new level of situational awareness to offshore transport operators,” said Simon Gharibian, director, Global Sustainment Centers of Excellence, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Missions Systems. “Getting weather conditions into the hands of pilots before they leave for an offshore rig, or optionally while they are en route, not only will save the cost associated with aborting a landing after a long ocean crossing, but also can dramatically improve operational efficiency as well as safety of flight.”
IFIS collects and transmits real-time weather and helideck pitch and roll conditions to an MMA server from sensors positioned on rig helidecks. During pre-mission planning, IFIS is available via Wi-Fi or cellular connection. In-flight, IFIS can be accessed using IRIS. Currently, IFIS is available on 22 platforms in the North Sea.
Launched in 2013 for operators of Sikorsky S-92A® and S-76D™ commercial helicopters, the iFly Sikorsky app gives flight planners and pilots a quick and easy method to configure aircraft cabin layout; calculate aircraft weight and balance; access weather data; review takeoff, landing, and cruise profiles; predict aircraft performance during each phase of flight; and determine range relative to aircraft position and intended destination.
In addition to the IFIS and IRIS capabilities, the 2.2 release of the iFly Sikorsky app includes an updated cruise page allowing pilots to:
• Access METAR and TAF weather data for origin and destination airports,
• See aircraft positions relative to the origin, destination, and alternate airports,
• Push environmental conditions (temperature, pressure altitude, winds, etc.) to the app’s In-Flight Performance pages, which now present Hover, Takeoff, Cruise and Landing aircraft profiles in graphical form, and
• Determine the aircraft’s range with and without reserve fuel.
Sikorsky is beta testing the 2.2 release of the iFly Sikorsky app, which will be available this summer from the Apple Store for the iPad tablet.
Sikorsky invites interested S-92 and S-76D operators to test the 2.2 iFly Sikorsky release by emailing their interest to [email protected]mco.com, or visiting the Sikorsky booth during HAI Heli-Expo. Following beta test, Sikorsky will release the final version by mid-year.
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