Aeronautical Data Systems (ADS) released an updated version of its Ergo Blue overwater safety iPad app, which allows users to export ship and oil rig locations for display on the ForeFlight app’s moving map. The ship and oil rig locations give pilots the option to ditch closer to potential rescuers during an overwater emergency.
After inputting potential diversion airports into Ergo Blue, the user can view the locations of ships along the route of flight reporting their position and velocity information to the automatic identification system used for tracking maritime traffic. When connected to the internet, the ship and rig locations are shown in real-time. By touching the ship or oil rig symbol, a popup shows information including lat/long and bearing to and distance from the airplane to the ship or rig. The position information can be downloaded just before takeoff and thus is still useable—although only fixed oil rig positions would not change, while ships would have moved.
Tapping the “direct to” button on the popup window in ForeFlight draws a magenta line from the aircraft to the ship or rig and adds it to the flight plan, giving pilots instant guidance to vessels and rigs where ditching nearby may be the best option in an emergency. ADS also offers an optional method of connecting an iPad to a marine VHF radio. Pressing the SOS button in Ergo Blue launches the app’s emergency communication protocol, where it automatically transmits a mayday call in maritime format including aircraft location information to any vessel within line-of-sight range. The message is broadcast on a continuous 2.5-minute loop.
“All of our solutions have been developed by pilots, for pilots,” said ADS CEO Jim Stabile, “and this latest development is no exception. Users of the Ergo Blue app depend on the added situational awareness and ‘worst-case’ assurance it provides. But we kept hearing that it would deliver additional benefits if the ship information it provides could be viewed on ForeFlight, which many flight crews are already using. We went to work, and are excited to unveil this new Ergo Blue capability.” Ergo Blue is available for a free 30-day trial through July 31, and those who try it can purchase the app for a 50 percent discount during
the trial. ADS also offers discounts for multiple users (three or more iPads). Normal prices range from $87.99 per month to $999.99 for an annual subscription.