Sikorsky 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 the OEM 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 via a 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 inflight information company MM Aviation in Asker, Norway, and Outerlink, a Metro Aviation company based in Shreveport, Louisiana. MM feeds meteorological data to subscribers from sensors currently installed aboard 22 North Sea platforms, while Outerlink's 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 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,” says Lockheed Martin director of global sustainment Simon Gharibian. “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.
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.