FAA Certifies Alakai’s Flight Data System (FDM) On AS350 Helicopters


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FAA Certifies Alakai’s Flight Data System (FDM) On AS350 Helicopters

By Daniel Baxter

February 2, 2011 - Alakai Technologies announced today that the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of Alakai’s digital Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) systems and wireless internet units on Eurocopter AS350 and EC130 helicopters.

The AS350 and its derivatives, with over 4,000 helicopters sold are used by police, forest service, oil exploration, flight-seeing and emergency medical service (EMS) operators worldwide. AS350 operators can now achieve comprehensive airline-style FDM (also known as Flight Operational Quality Assurance or FOQA) programs at a fraction of the cost for airline systems. 

Older, round-dial cockpits become part of a smarter, safer, more-connected aircraft. Operators benefit from Alakai’s on-board and backend algorithms that turn mountains of raw data into objective, actionable recommendations and decisions. The system works with older round-dial as well as the latest glass cockpit aircraft.

GA-FDM, a leading provider of Flight Data Monitoring solutions, will immediately begin offering the Alakai system to AS350 operators worldwide. GA-FDM analyzes the volume of data produced from each flight to help operators identify accident precursors, reduce risks, enhance training, and reduce operating costs.  

Detailed FDM reports highlight aircraft and pilot performance, guided by expert suggestions for preventive and corrective measures. Customers experience significant operational savings, including reduced fuel and maintenance costs, safety improvements, enhanced training, and lower insurance costs. 

“We are excited to begin operational use in the AS350 fleet”, said Scott Meacham, co-founder of GA-FDM. “Alakai’s equipment makes comprehensive FDM programs affordable for single or small operators as well as large fleet customers, and allows operators to use objective data, information and knowledge to manage risk and assure continual safety improvements in their operations. Flight Data Monitoring is a critical component of every predictive and efficient Safety Management System.” 

Alakai Technologies is a Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based corporation that develops, manufactures, integrates and certifies products that improve aircraft safety. The Alakai system provides the most affordable, flexible FDM solutions for real-time analysis of engine, flight and aircraft motion parameters.


The system includes a web-enabled Digital Flight Data System with built-in engine and aircraft monitoring, embedded Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and accelerometers, flight analysis, and automatic wireless transfer for uploads over the Internet, and is capable of recording over 180 aircraft parameters depending upon avionics configuration.  

At the conclusion of each flight, the system sends synopsis emails to users, and automatically uploads flight and analysis results to Alakai’s servers, where experts eview flights, analyze reports, and provide safety feedback to operators. The system also helps operators meet or exceed the recommendations called for in the FAA’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for EMS helicopters. (for information on Flight Data System for General Aviation).

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