The Redbird Sidekick that goes on sale soon is a technological marvel. Designed primarily for use by flight schools, the notebook-size device can be tossed in the back seat of an airplane to record an incredible amount of data, including engine start and shutdown times, rpm, number of landings, route of flight and more. RFID tags assigned to instructors and students let the Sidekick automatically log who boarded the airplane and for how long. An internal GPS records route of flight data, speed and altitude, and an internal G meter can be programmed to send a text message to the school’s mechanic in the event of a hard landing. The Sidekick can even help flight schools squeeze extra life from their engines by analyzing rpm and deducting time on the ground from overall TBO calculations. But wait, how does a unit that isn’t physically connected to the airplane know when the engine is started and what the rpm settings were used throughout a flight? The Sidekick listens for the telltale electronic pulse signals given off by the spark plugs, does the math automatically, and spits out the numbers. Pretty neat, huh?