Appareo has released a new product line of Conexus aircraft communication units (ACUs). These units are lightweight computing and communications devices that function as a data acquisition system for flight data monitoring (FDM) or flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) programmes for fleet operators, or as a telematic and connectivity product for airframe manufacturers. The first product in this line, the ACU-200, is already being installed in multiple aircraft.
The ACU-200 can connect with aircraft systems, avionics or engines using ethernet, ARINC 429 or RS-422. The unit is qualified against RTCA DO-160G, and is designed with cybersecurity in mind. Additionally, the ACU-200 features low power states, allowing Appareo customers to remotely connect to the unit and retrieve data even while the aircraft is powered down. The Conexus line is designed to be used in both fixed and rotary wing applications.
For airframe manufacturers, the Conexus ACU-200 is a helpful tool for monitoring the usage of aircraft in the fleet, providing statistics to inform predictive maintenance scheduling, prediction of service work, and to improve depot and part distribution activities to ensure maximum customer uptime. For operators, the Conexus ACU-200 offers a single FDM/FOQA data recorder solution capable of being fit across a broad spectrum of aircraft in a mixed fleet, easing the challenges of integration and data offload logistics.
“FDM or FOQA programmes are valuable for fleet operators to monitor trends, identify areas of risk and deploy training programmes to mitigate those risks. However, it can be a challenge for mixed-fleet operators to effectively analyse their flight data when it is collected in multiple acquisition systems,” says Appareo president and CEO David Batcheller. “The ACU-200 is an ideal solution for those programmes because it was designed for use in both modern and legacy aircraft.”
Using the onboard inertial and GPS capabilities, the ACU-200 can provide an actionable volume of flight data from any kind of aircraft without needing to interface with avionic systems. For aircraft with digital buses available, the ACU-200 can acquire flight data directly from the aircraft system. This allows the unit to be implemented as a single avionic solution for a mixed fleet.
Additionally, while many flight data acquisition systems rely on physical means of transporting information, such as requiring operators to remove SD cards from their flight data recorders in order to transfer the data to a computer, Conexus products offer global 4G/3G/2G cellular data offload capabilities, ensuring the maximum speed of data reception while simplifying system maintenance and reducing costs.
The ACU-200 can be integrated with other Appareo products, such as the Vision 1000 to provide cockpit image and audio data for cellular offload, or with the RDM-300 to provide crash-hardened storage of the data acquired by the ACU-200.
“More than ever, the world recognises the importance of making data work for us,” Batcheller continues. “By developing the Conexus line of telematic and connectivity products that can perform alone or be integrated with our other flight data recording and storage solutions, Appareo is offering an approachable, expandable way for customers to access their data and put it to work.”