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Business Air News Bulletin
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Omni teams with VIH and SkyTrac for superior connectivity
Omni Helicopters International's S-92, used for SAR off the shores of Guyana, will feature global connectivity through SkyTrac's Iridium Certus satellite system, 4G/LTE cellular and Wi-Fi intelligent connectivity solutions.
The integration, completed by VIH Aerospace in Victoria, British Columbia on behalf of Omni, features SkyTrac's ISAT-200A onboard server and data acquisition terminal.

Lisbon, Portugal-based critical mission service provider Omni Helicopters International is launching a new SAR capability in support of energy sector clients.

Omni's SAR operations have already commenced for a major international oil company in Guyana, where two Leonardo AW139s are providing SAR and medevac cover for a high tempo offshore crew change operation. Prior to commencement of operations, Omni crews undertook a comprehensive programme of dedicated SAR systems and mission training, surpassing IOGP standards. The SAR unit is also jungle SAR capable.

From June 2023, the Guyana service will be assumed by a newly refurbished Sikorsky S-92A search and rescue helicopter. In line with a firm commitment to Guyanese content, Omni also plans to transition the rear crew team for this helicopter to Guyanese nationals by the end of 2023.

“We're delighted and proud of our new SAR service, knowing one day soon it will be a national capability that protects the welfare of the offshore workforce and Guyanese citizens working in that sector,” says Jeremy Akel, OHI Group CEO. “We put together a great team to deliver our capability, and going forward we're excited to be able to offer this vital service wherever our energy or government sector customers need us to create a national capability. In line with our passion for technology, we also invested in the latest connectivity systems for the S-92 SAR aircraft, and we will continue to embrace new innovations at OHI Guyana.”

Omni's Sikorsky S-92A helicopter features a dual hoist, Nightsun, FLIR, a triple litter stretcher kit, extended range fuel tank and Iridium Certus and cellular/Wi-Fi connectivity, capable of delivering dozens of mission-critical capabilities including automated flight following, medical data transfer and real-time HUMS alerting for increased safety and operator efficiencies.

In other news, Omni Helicopters International (Omni) and Canadian MRO VIH Aerospace are working with SkyTrac Systems to enable what the companies are calling the most connected helicopters in the world.

Omni's S-92, to be used for SAR off the shores of Guyana, will feature global connectivity through SkyTrac's Iridium Certus satellite, 4G/LTE cellular and Wi-Fi intelligent connectivity solutions. The helicopter will be capable of delivering dozens of mission capabilities including automated flight following and mission management, medical data transfer, cockpit and cabin connectivity, real-time aircraft exceedance alerting, post-flight automated data offloading, real-time image transfers, satellite Push-to-Talk (PTT), satcom voice, text-based messaging and email capabilities.

“Omni was delighted to work with SkyTrac and VIH to complete the return to service of this exceptionally capable Sikorsky S-92A search and rescue helicopter against an exceptionally tight deadline,” says Omni group COO Duncan Moore. “Omni has a passion for innovation and technology, and so we could not resist the opportunity to load the helicopter with tech knowing that the connectivity might help save lives; that was all the motivation we needed.”

The integration, completed by VIH Aerospace in Victoria, British Columbia on behalf of Omni, features SkyTrac's ISAT-200A onboard server and data acquisition terminal, SkyLink 7100 Iridium Certus connectivity system, cockpit display panel and dispatch voice interface (CDP/DVI) for voice and text communications, and associated antennas.

“Working on the S-92 project was a truly collaborative effort by the entire VIH Aerospace team,” says Jeff Norie, president and CEO of VIH Aerospace. “Our people, our can-do attitude and our commitment to quality are the value-added differentiators that set us apart from our competitors. It was truly a pleasure to team up with Omni and SkyTrac to bring this challenging project to successful completion.”

SkyTrac's stalwart ISAT-200A, now in its seventh generation, will enable voice, PTT and data acquisition capabilities and will interface with onboard avionics systems to enable monitoring of aircraft performance parameters. The ISAT-200A, featuring multiple digital and analogue interfaces, will be used to acquire and transmit aircraft exceedances in real-time to alert operational control centres (OCCs), providing timely notifications for enhanced maintenance planning. With real-time data transmission, OCCs will be able to analyse exceedance data in real-time to provide advanced alerting to maintenance crews and add an additional layer of oversight to the aircraft data monitoring process.

The SkyLink will enable up to 88 Kbps of LEO satellite, up to 50 Mbps of 4G/LTE cellular and will also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for onboard cockpit EFBs, PEDs and medical devices. The SkyLink will be capable of transmitting photos in real-time through powerful cellular and satellite connectivity to aid in SAR efforts when applicable.

Armed with the ISAT-200A's and SkyLink's powerful intelligent connectivity capabilities, Omni will also be able to stream real-time patient data with 99.9% uptime reliability with resilient satcom in locations where cellular connectivity is unavailable with the ability to dynamically switch to cellular networks when 4G/LTE connectivity is in range. This capability, called medical data transfer, will provide continuous monitoring and transmission of critical patient data from the incident site to the hospital, enabling receiving physicians to prepare in advance of a patient's arrival.

“We are extremely proud of this collaborative effort between Omni Helicopters, VIH and SkyTrac to enable what is the world's most connected search and rescue (SAR) helicopter,” says SkyTrac VP of sales and marketing Jan van der Heul. “Connected aircraft platforms are integral for state-of-the-art operators, and we stand by our ability to deliver truly global connectivity from any point on Earth.”

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