On almost any day, you can peer into the sky and find small planes weaving through the woods and mountains. Harsh weather, rough terrain, size and the diversity of the landscape sets Alaska apart from almost anywhere else — demonstrating a much greater necessity for pilots to be better connected.
Pilots are routinely operating in extremely remote terrain where it’s near impossible to communicate and in the age of the global community, we knew there was a better solution.
Lynden Air Cargo approached FlightCell and the team at TracPlus Global in search of a better system — one that would offer seamless tracking, voice communications and email to and from the cockpit with flight plans and documents, regardless of their location.
Lynden Air Cargo operates a major global operation out of Anchorage Alaska, providing scheduled service throughout Alaska and charter flights to or from anywhere in the world. Lynden needed rock solid reliable flight tracking with unrestricted email size to/from any smart device, anytime, anywhere on earth to ensure the success and safety of their often, mission-critical, operations.
“We operate our seven airplanes absolutely anywhere on earth,” Joe Anderson, Lynden Cargo.
Lynden travel anywhere from floating ice runways in the middle of the arctic ocean to the bowels of Africa, Papua New Guinea, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We can have an airplane supporting research teams via ice runways in the Arctic Ocean one day and it could be doing anything from hurricane relief in the tropics to humanitarian support in Africa or oil field support on any other continent a few days later,” Joe Anderson, Lynden Cargo.
In addition to carrying cargo, their services include disaster relief, firefighting and oil spill response.
Many of their pilots end up in places that do not have cellular coverage, or if they do, they usually won’t have access to it unless they are there for a while and track down the correct SIM cards.
In some locations, Iridium is much cheaper than having the wrong cellular plan or SIM card. In North America, you will not get cell coverage above ~10,000 feet, so Iridium Satellite is their only option at that point.
Satellite communications are therefore often the only reliable option to get flight plans and other critical data to airplanes. This capability is mission critical when the flight deck is Lynden’s only option for an office in most locations.
Flight plans can be 9,000 or more characters, so this posed a problem for most other Satellite-based systems.
We first met Lynden Air Cargo in 2015 when they purchased a Flightcell DZMx for an aircraft that was to be contracted to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in Australia. Lynden was impressed with the DZMx and the can-do attitude of the team at Flightcell and TracPlus Global.
As a result, Lynden upgraded their entire fleet to DZMx with the assurance that functionality would be developed to meet their needs of transmitting large email to their airplanes.
Flightcell DZMx with remote heads were installed to provide operation from both sides of the Hercules cockpits. The units were configured for worldwide coverage of voice, data and flight tracking utilizing both Iridium and cellular networks. WiFi routers were installed to provide wireless connectivity to the DZMx for tablets and other smart devices. Flightcell, in partnership with TracPlus Global, developed new software to allow large emails to be sent from the operations department to the aircraft over the Iridium satellite network.
“We needed rock-solid, reliable flight tracking with unrestricted email size to any smart device in our flight deck, anytime, anywhere on earth,” Joe Anderson, Lynden Cargo.
The DZMx’s have proven themselves in the demanding situations and environments that Lynden Air Cargo find themselves in. They are providing reliable flight tracking and are working great for conveying large text emails via Iridium to on-board smart devices. Lynden Air Cargo is planning to utilize the DZMx form feature, to compile and send pre-formatted reports off the aircraft.
If the technology industry can help support better communication between emergency services providers throughout missions, we will see better outcomes. To do this, we need to work collaboratively. We know we will never be everything to everyone. Rather than denying people of choice, we are actively pursuing more relationships and more partnerships so we can find solutions that help people, help others.
A business model that puts people first is the only way forward.