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MARS Prototype Update


MARS is a new system in development by Plane Sciences.  The current MARS prototype now reads out the Honeywell HFR5-D and HFR5-V at the CSMU (crash survivable memory unit) and memory board/chip level in addition to the 1st generation solid state memory structures.

The addition of the HFR5 is a significant achievement due to its more modern design compared to the older model solid state recorders. Honeywell graciously supplied two flight recorders (HFR5-D and HFR5-V) for testing purposes.

MARS is being finalized as a product that initially handles the entire Honeywell legacy product line as well as the L3 F1000 SSFDR, which represents a substantial percentage of recorders installed worldwide.  The HFR5 unit is a separate 1U equipment box and this will be the platform we plan to use for the production system including future recorder interfaces.  Once the HFR5 upgrade is completed, we will be turning our attention to additional flight recorder types according to the priorities of the MARS steering committee.

Since recorders must be recertified if they are removed from the airframe, even for incidents where the recorder is not crash-damaged, it is feasible to remove the CSMU and simply connect it to MARS instead of downloading the recorder through the front connector/firmware. Using MARS eliminates the need to maintain handheld download units and cables designed for routine airline replay use. More importantly, MARS gives you an individual file for each chip offering the maximum potential of recovering all the data even if there are occasional issues with the recording.

All MARS users will have access to our inventory of actual flight recorders to use as a ‘Golden Chassis’ for recorder types not yet implemented in MARS through our Pack and Go Service whereby we bring the download kit and Golden Chassis to you if needed. This avoids you having to purchase and maintain your own inventory of actual flight recorders, instead relying on our maintained inventory.

Please note that due to COVID-19 travel issues, the September MARS workshop/steering committee meeting is postponed until February 17-18, 2021, the week before our normal training courses for those that wish to attend both.

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