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Ahoy Pilots,

I was flying a C182 last April. The deafening silence on Boston Approach 124.4 was eerie. Below, the traffic on highways 128 and 495 was almost non-existent. As aviators, no matter where our home airport is, we shared similar experiences around the globe. 

For us at CloudAhoy, 2020 was a fruitful and exciting year, of growth in both breadth and depth. I wanted to share some highlights from 10,000 feet, and share some of the things that we have been doing away from the spotlight. 

Accuracy of the flight analyzer - accuracy of scoring

At the heart of CloudAhoy is the flight analyzer, which performs the difficult task of automatically identifying the segments of each flight, and scoring the pilot’s performance. The automatic segmentation has been part of CloudAhoy since inception; the automatic scoring was released over a year ago (after a 2 year beta program). As with any AI technology - improving the accuracy is a continuous work, and this has been one of the main tasks of the CloudAhoy team in 2020.  Working together with discerning customers, our analyzer is becoming increasingly more precise. 

Some of the analyzer improvements in 2020 include: 

  • More precise scoring of visual and instrument approaches
  • Better analysis of jet flights
  • Special analysis of approaches to short runways
  • Analyzing the precision and safety of circling approaches
  • Analysis of military maneuvers  

Short Runway: we tuned up the scoring of approaches to short runways - both visual and instrument approaches.

Precision Scoring:
When precision matters, the analyzer takes into account the altitude and airspeed over the threshold and a dozen additional parameters, using the Precision Envelope (above).

Touchdown points of the main gear and the nose gear distances are computed, displayed and scored (below)

ILS Visualization:  We added computation of CDI, so that display and score of CDIs is available even without EFIS data (visualization of horizontal and vertical CDIs from EFIS data has been available for a long time). Read more about it here.

Flight Schools, Pilots/Owner Orgs

It has been very rewarding, both as software engineers and as pilots, to work closely with organizations that have a large number of aircraft and pilots. Getting detailed feedback about our automated analysis and workflow helps CloudAhoy constantly improve. 

Over the last year we worked with a number of flight schools which are integrating CloudAhoy into their training program.      

We have also been working with CJP - the Citation Jet Pilots organization. CJP is a group of highly skilled jet pilots who are looking to use CloudAhoy to increase safety. They require a very precise flight analysis -  so over the last year, working closely with them, the CloudAhoy flight analyzer became much more knowledgeable about the way jets should be flown! 

With more organizations using CloudAhoy, we kept improving our Organization Management, a tool for subscription and fleet management, organization policies, maintaining scoring envelopes and aircraft parameters, and more.

Talking about workflow… these three organizations (as well as others) are implementing hands-free automatic upload of the flight data into CloudAhoy, both from the airplanes’ avionics and from simulators. This is a good segway to the next topic… 

Integration With the Aviation Ecosystem 

In 2020 we have seen a growing number of users who choose to use an automatic upload of flight data into CloudAhoy - freeing the pilot from manual steps.  Often this includes rich data, coming from the avionics. 

  • We integrated with AirSync to provide automatic uploading of flight data from G1000. This is used by Purdue, CJP, and others. AirSync is an affordable device which automatically uploads rich flight data via cellular connection. Other solutions for automatic upload of data are in progress. 

  • Integration with scheduling programs and student management programs is on-going.  Recently, we integrated with My Flight Solution, and additional ones are in progress. 

Those integrations are driven by the workflow of our users, and we are delighted to partner and together support an end-to-end solution.  

We also integrated with apps and products:

  • Starr Gate Insurance App
  • EAA’s SkillScore Tracker
  • Sporty's Learn to Fly Course 

At CloudAhoy we think open-system, and we strongly believe that CloudAhoy should be an integral part of the aviation ecosystem. We continue to improve our API, and continue integration with other products - to provide our users the best possible solution. 

The US Air Force and the US Navy: Aerobatics, Formation  

Away from the spotlight, we continue to work closely with the USAF and the Navy, enhancing CloudAhoy to meet their requirements. Specifically, working with Pilot Training Next, and with other technology innovation groups in the Air Force and the Navy. In 2020 we focused on improving the debrief capabilities of aerobatic flights / contact maneuvers, and formation - for live and sim flights. The work includes data capture, analysis, scoring, and visualization. We made good progress, and are getting close to a public beta program for non-military use.  

The pictures are worth a thousand words. Our work enables the USAF to review a complex aerobatics sortie, isolate specific maneuvers and debrief them.

The entire sortie: Note the G graph on the right and the list of maneuvers on the left.

Debriefing a loop.

Same loop, in Cockpit View: Note the G gauge.

A Cuban-Eight. Note the detailed scoring on the right.

Formation: In 2020 we improved the data acquisition and visualization of aerobatics maneuvers. 

Virtual community  - Spirit of Aviation, Redbird Migration

A large portion of professional human interaction in 2020 became virtual. I believe that as a result, remote professional interaction will be widely used even after we all return to normalcy. We watched closely as AirVenture 2020 gradually changed to “maybe” and then to “cancelled”. So did every other aviation conference, show, and competition. 

Pilots are a resourceful bunch. We are trained to always have a plan B. Even though AirVenture was cancelled, we at CloudAhoy participated in the Spirit of Aviation week, including remote training and debriefing of simulator flights organized by our friends at EAA, Redbird, and others. We also participated in the virtual Redbird Migration conference.

Crossing our fingers to see you in AirVenture 2021. 

I think 2020 was a year of great camaraderie. I want to thank our customers for providing a steady source of energy and enthusiasm. Thank you so much for every email with feedback, your warm words, and your thoughtful suggestions.

Looking forward to 2021!

Chuck Shavit
and the CloudAhoy team

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