Hi everyone and welcome to our blog!

This is where we’ll regularly be sharing interesting news, in depth articles and beautiful pictures, on our favourite topic: aviation and flight data monitoring.

So first things first, let’s talk about Flight Data Monitoring.

According to ATR[1], Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) is “a program for gathering and analyzing data recorded during routine flights to improve flight crew performance, operating procedures, flight training, air traffic control procedures, air navigation services or aircraft maintenance and design”.

This essentially means that aircraft produce a lot of information. In the past, we would barely use these and have a passive approach to safety and maintenance: for example, we would wait for components to tear out before changing them. Today, we have sufficient tools to analyze and act on aircraft to prevent and prepare for any event: our planes and helicopters have become smarter than they were!

But is FDM mandatory?

Yes and no: it depends on the maximum takeoff weight. Under 27 tons, implementing FDM processes is an option. Business jets and small regional aircraft are not required to use these systems. In spite of that, many operators do, for the reasons given above.

Above 27 tons, FDM is indeed mandatory. FDM is part of the Safety Management System (SMS) of an airline, which is “a systematic approach to managing safety (…)[2]”, and in most countries, the implementation of a SMS process is compulsory. This is good news, it means that safety truly matters, to the extent that it is a legal requirement.

Why should you pay attention to FDM?

Big data is everywhere. While sitting on a plane, passengers already have access to a lot of information: At what speed is the plane cruising? How long does it take to get to destination? The objective is to ensure the trip will be hassle-free.

Now, that’s just what a passenger could be interested in, but imagine how much more information the airline needs to operate efficiently! And the more it knows, the better it can arrange and organize its flights, allowing to reduce costs and increase safety. This is still very theoretical, so let’s take an example: on a regular airline flight, data from the engine and key parts of the aircraft show that fuel consumption could be reduced by 10% during the take-off phase. By letting the airline, the flight crew and the training team know about it, it will be possible to slightly modify the take-off method to save money!

Useful lexicon

When reading us, you may come across many different acronyms, and that can be confusing. But we’ve got your back! Here’s what we’ll be talking about:

Flight Data Analysis (Program): FDA or FDAP

Flight Data Monitoring program: FDMP

Flight Operations Quality Assurance: FOQA

Depending on the context (generally geographically related), acronyms may vary.

This is it for this time! Make sure you come back regularly to check our latest articles,

The Cassiopée Team

[1] Flight Data Monitoring On ATR Aircraft, 2016, ATR Training Center

[2] Support Consistent Implementation of SMS, IATA