Safety Session to Highlight FDM

By Amy Kluber | February 27, 2018
Send Feedback | @amykluber

Keith Cianfrani

We spoke to aviation safety consultant Keith Cianfrani who is working with Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the FAA on a flight data monitoring (FDM) program as HAI’s FDM expert and outreach individual.

Cianfrani will be holding a seminar at Heli-Expo on the topic, “Good Data Drives Good Decisions,” Feb. 27 at 2:30 p.m.


Why is FDM important to you?
FDM is important because flight data can provide meaningful inputs to facilitate sound decision-making for operators. The metrics that are used can be useful to operators for data analyzation, such as loss of control, weather controls and specific system failures. In the long run, looking at data can help save lives.

What is a problem you are seeing right now among operators who are mandated to equip their fleets with FDM by April?
The biggest issue I think is understanding what FDM is and how it’s going to be used to their financial impact because they’re required to go out and purchase this equipment. And also just trying to set up a program that either they can analyze the data or understand how to set up a program where they can analyze the data or they can outsource it.

The larger companies do it in house; the smaller companies will need to outsource it, unless they start their own program in house to analyze the data.

This initiative is going to be a safety enhancer for the aeromedical industry.

You mentioned cost was one concern. Privacy issues are another in that some collected information can be identifying.
There’s a couple of ways you can look at it here. If you’re using the data for yourself and you have an in-house program, that is your data you know what the aircraft are, you know who’s flying it. If they outsource the data to a company that does this, they can de-identify the data to the point where some of that information is taken out.

So who owns the data?
The operator always owns the data. If the operator outsources it or sends the data to HAI as part of Rotorcraft ASIAS (Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System) program, they still own the data.

How much an operator wants to spend on the equipment really depends on what the needs are?
It’s of course meeting the requirements of the April 2018 deadline mandate to have FDM installed. So there is a huge range depending on how much you want to spend.

The good thing is that they’re actually doing it and their safety program will be enhanced, or I should say can be enhanced, by the fact that they are putting these devices in the aircraft.

Is this something that you will discuss at your session at Hei-Expo?
Yes it is. We’ve done a seminar down in Florida back in November, and we’re planning on doing similar seminar, part of the Rotor Safety Challenge, called “Good Data Drives Good Decisions,” and it’s going to be on Tuesday the second day of the Expo.

And basically we will review what we just talked about, the positive effects of having an FDM program, give an update of the ASIAS program we’re currently working on and basically informing the industry on the benefits of having an FDM program.

Hear Keith’s full interview on R&WI’s latest podcast episode at

Receive the latest rotorcraft news right to your inbox