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Quadrennial SAR Review - Seeking Public Input

posted 24 Jul 2013, 09:24 by Support SarMobile

The Minister of Defense, in response to a report from the Auditor General has started a quadrennial review of the Canadian Search and Rescue System. The Minister indicated that the public would have input into the review. We now know what form that input will take. If you want to have your say, you will need to hurry, the deadline is August 2nd 2013. Instructions are available from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.

Auditor General's Report and New Funding Annoucements

posted 4 May 2013, 06:34 by Micha @SARMobile

No one who has had any connection the the National Search and Rescue System in Canada could have missed the report from the Auditor General earlier this week, nor the flurry of funding announcements coming from the government it the wake of that report. I don't see any need to reproduce all that reportage here. To me the most interesting feature of this story is that the long existing problems with governance within the system have finally come to light. We can only hope that the government will actually do something about the problems this time.

To me the most interesting outcome is a quote from Clarence Peddle reported by the CBC:

If you want to bring it down to one word, that's to be honesty.

They have to stop playing games, and they have to look at the real issues. There's never been an honest investigation into any search and rescue incident.

Hello GPS and E6B Updates

posted 3 Apr 2013, 18:07 by Support SarMobile   [ updated 2 Sep 2013, 15:44 ]

Updates to our Hello GPS  and E6B  applications have been release in BlackBerry World. E6B has only minor fixes but Hello GPS has been adapted to work on the Q10 so it will be available when that device launches. It also accommodates the Glonass capability built into the Z10 and Q10 which can result in many more than 14 satellites visible at a time.

The Q10 has a smaller 720x720 pixel screen. We have elected to use scrolling to provide access to the signal strength bars and fix data. This allows us to use the full screen to show the constellation which, as you can see can get crowded with both system active.

We will probably use a similar technique with the Q10 version of E6B, but will use keyboard shortcuts to select mode in addition to the user interface buttons so power keyboard users won't need to scroll, and the full screen will be available for display of the slider rule.

SARMobile News

posted 22 Mar 2013, 15:28 by Support SarMobile

The latest news is, SARMobile News. A new BlackBerry application that will help you keep up-to-date with what is happening here at SARMobile.Ca while you are on the go. The application aggregates our News and Safety sections with our Blog all in one place. It is free, and available now for pretty much any BlackBerry you might have. Scan the QR code in BlackBerry World, or click on it in your browser to go get it.

Com Dev Receives MEOSAR Repeater Development Contract

posted 10 Mar 2013, 17:44 by Support SarMobile

A space technology firm based in Ontario has received a $4.7M contract to develop electronic technology for Cospas-Sarsat designed to be carried on GPS satellites in medium earth orbit. This is the first step in providing better real-time emergency beacon locations to search and rescue organizations. The contract includes a $14M option to develop a fully integrated prototype MEOSAR repeater for testing and space qualification. 

Once fully operations the MEOSAR system is claimed to offer the advantages of both existing LEOSAR and GEOSAR systems, but will overcome the current limitations of those system by providing independent location of emergency beacons with near real time worldwide coverage. The MEOSAR development phase is scheduled to begin in 2013 and end in 2015.

CASARA Virtual Trainer

posted 9 Mar 2013, 13:37 by Support SarMobile

The announcement of the CASARA Virtual Trainer program has struck the world with a whimper rather than the resounding boom it deserves. In a press release from Carleton University located in Ottawa, Canada the University Advanced Cognitive Engineering Lab, announce the project funded by a Search and Rescue New Initiatives fund award sponsored by project partners the Canadian Department of Defence in support of the Civil Aviation Search and Rescue Association (CASARA). According the release, the systems, called CASARA Virtual Trainers (CVT), will consist of immersive "in-flight" environments and realistic missions that will provide hands-on training in appropriate voice communications, visual-scanning techniques, call-around procedures, planning and executing visual-search patterns, emergency location transmitter homing techniques, map interpretation and GPS navigation. This project will provide computer-based training systems and materials to enhance the CASARA training program by providing distributed and web-based training material and flight simulation to CASARA for training spotters and navigators.

We are excited by this development for two main reasons. First, this is probably a unique and uniquely Canadian response to the problem of providing quality standardized training to a geographically dispersed group of air search and rescue volunteers. Second, those of you who are familiar with our work know that we are striving against the growing influence of anecdote on electronic search techniques, and the affect on search efficacy. With a well respected institution entering the arena we look forward to the reversal of this trend sooner rather than later. Not only is Carleton University the home of the ACE lab, it can also take pride in a respected engineering department. Certainly the resources are available to provide training based on the latest science and engineering rather than naive ideas passed from person to person without critical examination.

This website was never intended to be a news outlet, nor are any members of the SARMobile team journalists. However, this is such an important event that we thought it deserved better exposure than the mainstream press has yet given it. We contacted Carleton University media relations to see if we could submit some questions to the CVT team. Other than a short note promising to look into it, we have yet to hear back. If we do, and are able to ask questions we will update this page. In the mean time, we think that the three year project is well worth watching.

E6B Flight Computer Application

posted 9 Mar 2013, 06:47 by Support SarMobile   [ updated 9 Mar 2013, 08:46 ]

This should be familiar to all the pilots out there. The E6B flight computer has been a staple of pilots for many years. I've found that when teaching people how to use it I could never find a good teaching aid, so I have come up with my own. Using the HDMI output of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone I can have the display appear on a large screen TV. Large digital readouts make it easy to read the wheel positions but still require the students to carry the decimal place in their heads, as they would with the real E6B. While intended as a teaching aid, it could also do the job in the cockpit.

On the E6B 'side a number of pre-canned calculations may be selected. These calculations position the wheels relative to each other for the calculations, then lock them together so they spin as one unit. Rotating the wheels until the desired value (on either the inner or outer wheel) is at the top will cause both outer (red) and inner (blue) values to be displayed. The above image shows 30 US Gal of aviation gasoline weighs 180 lbs. (Or 3 US Gal weighs 18 lbs).

On the wind side the compass rose is rotated to the wind direction, then a finger is slid out from the centre (in any direction) to mark the wind dot (red X) up from the grommet. Putting a check in the box locks the wind parameters so the compass rose may be rotated to the true track, and sliding the finger up or down moves the slider until the true airspeed is under the wind dot.

This application is available for free download for the BlackBerry Z10 (and Dev Alpha) from BlackBerry World.

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