Smart Sidekick from Redbird

On Sunday evening Redbird launched a brand new kind of aviation product called Sidekick. This notebook-computer-sized product rides along in a small airplane and collects, records and transmits all kinds of flight data completely wirelessly, save a portable antenna that gets suction cupped to a side window. Just put Sidekick into the back pocket of the pilot's seat (or just about anywhere else in the plane), fire up and go fly. Sidekick does the rest, transparently and automatically.

Sidekick does for pilots, and flight schools and FBOs, what jet-specific engine monitoring programs do, and then some. It keeps track of engine parameters, including flight time, rpm, airplane position, attitude, hard landings and more, and wirelessly transmits that data to the ground station, where the operator can keep track of it all via Redbird's Sidekick program, which is customizable based on the organization's needs.

Redbird already has a couple of launch orders from big flight schools and has had interest from many others, said Jerry Gregoire, founder of Redbird. The thing Sidekick does, he told Flying, is collect data, transmit it, organize it and present it to the operator all without a single airplane installation.

Pricing has yet to be officially announced, but Gregoire said he expects it to be very affordable with a subscription plan he likens to a cell phone deal. Redbird expects to start shipping finished units soon.

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