Flight planning in the palm of your hand

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 EVA talks to Jay Ammar Husary, Executive VP of UAS International Trip Support

UAS International Trip Support has continental headquarters in Houston, Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Dubai, with regional offices in Lagos, Nairobi, Beijing and New Delhi, along with station managers in 23 global locations. The company was founded in 2000 and is now one of the largest global trip support providers. Jay Ammar Husary, the company’s Executive Vice President, has been with UAS from its inception.

Q: What was the founding idea for UAS? How did it all begin?

A: We wanted to start a company that would bring about a real step change in the way flight planning and trip support companies dealt with clients. The traditional approach has been to do the basics and a bit beyond, but much was still left to the client, particularly if they encountered any difficulties along the way.

All trip planning companies promise a complete hand-holding service for clients, but very few of them manage to deliver on that promise 100% of the time.

It was clear to us that by striving to deliver completely on that promise of providing a complete bespoke service for every trip for every client, we could create a company that would attract customers and that would be successful.

Q: It sounds like you took a very entrepreneurial approach to the business from the outset?

A: We were raised by our parents to think outside the box and to be entrepreneurial. At the age of six we were running lemonade stands and now we’re running a major business. Today, 16 years after we launched, we’re one of the largest independent flight support companies in the world for commercial airlines and for providing services to business aviation.

Q: How much scope is there for a flight support company to offer services that go far beyond anything that a corporate flight department or an owner’s own management company could achieve?

A: Clearly, operators who run a managed fleet on behalf of owners have to be able to facilitate whatever journeys the owner or charter clients want to make. Often this will be to destinations and airports with which the operator has no familiarity. Such a trip can and usually will involve a whole load of very specific procedures and requirements. For the operator to have to sit down and get on terms with all that needs to be done to expedite the flight would be incredibly onerous if they did it for one owner, and the difficulty would grow with every additional request. They generally do not have the staff or the in-house expertise to solve these problems rapidly.

So it is much more sensible for them to rely on outside expertise. The crew’s only concern should be how to get the principal smoothly and safely from A to B. All the pre-handling, logistics, security and risk management, along with a host of other services, such as obtaining overflight permissions and securing landing and departure slots, where required, should be left to an expert flight and trip planning operation. That’s where we come in.

This year at NBAA, we launched a new technology platform called UAS Flight Evolution, an all-in-one planning and weather solution targeted specifically at pilots and dispatchers. In our view it will revolutionise the process of advanced global flight planning, weather checking and aircraft performance calculations, as well as raising the bar on in-flight situational awareness.

The product is built on a web- and mobile-based platform and provides all the tools required to navigate the most complex trip planning logistics with ease. We demonstrated it on our stand at NBAA and visitors found it powerful, intuitive, and user-friendly. It runs on a variety of smart phones and devices and can be used with or without a data connection.

UAS Flight Evolution provides instant access to flight plans, weather charts and procedures, and pilots with satnav communications capabilities in the cabin can see the aircraft’s global position on a high-definition moving map. Moreover, the system combines the 3D map with synthetic vision capabilities, so hazards, special events and restricted areas are well defined on the screen.

The database on the device itself is very comprehensive – this is a technology that allows pilots and dispatchers to plan, review and execute missions with or without a data connection. A typical flight plan can be run in less than five seconds, and the mapping engine renders high-definition graphics without delays or the screen breaking up.

At the heart of the system is one of the world’s finest flight planning algorithms and data sets. This truly is cutting edge technology that has never been seen before in the sector. Pilots have a three-dimensional view of their mission in the palm of their hand. Moreover, we are not stopping there, there are further applications planned!