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Thu, Nov 30, 2006

Blue Sky Network Sponsors Helicopter Round-The-World Attempt

Provides Polar First Team With SatComm System

They're gonna try again... and they'll have some help. Aero-News has learned satellite communications provider Blue Sky Network will support the Polar First helicopter team in their second attempt to set a record for circumnavigating the globe by way of the North and South Poles. On December 5, Jennifer Murray and Colin Bodill's Bell 407 helicopter will commence their journey maintaining constant communication with on-ground support during the 36,000-mile, 175-day trip.

Polar First originally attempted this goal in 2003, but the expedition was abruptly and dramatically cut short when the aircraft crashed on an ice sheet in Antarctica. The Blue Sky Network system and web-based SkyRouter, alerted those on the ground that the helicopter had gone down, and they were able to direct emergency crews to their exact location of the Polar First aircraft and got them help immediately. The crew believes this solution saved their lives.

"Considering the inherent danger of a flight like this, and our own personal experience, it is a relief to know we can rely on the Blue Sky Network flight tracker to keep us in contact with our crew on the ground at all times, no matter where we are," said Jennifer Murray. "Blue Sky Network's equipment will be a vital means for accomplishing this feat."

The Blue Sky Network equipment on board the helicopter includes an Iridium-based D1000 mobile tracking and telemetry terminal with embedded GPS. Separate voice equipment allows the pilots to keep in touch with technical support and ground personnel. Telemetry data from the aircraft regarding critical operating parameters is also made available to mission control by the Blue Sky Network solution. Ground staff will have instant access to the exact position of the helicopter, an essential factor in keeping the flight team safe.

Blue Sky Network's communications solution is based on the Iridium Satellite network. Only Iridium-based communications provide pole-to-pole, global voice and data communications coverage.

In addition, anyone with an Internet connection will be able to follow Murray and Bodill's progress via Polar First's website, which will provide near real-time GPS tracking of the flight and Google Earth integration. Featuring Blue Sky Network's SkyRouter, an interactive web portal, the website will contain updates and details of the record attempt including speed, altitude and elapsed flight time.

Using its interactive Web portal, SkyRouter, with detailed mapping and integration with Google Earth, Blue Sky Network links enterprises to personnel and assets anywhere on earth over the Iridium satellite network. The FAA-certified data and voice products enable users to customize features including safety and event reporting.

FMI: www.polarfirst.com, www.blueskynetwork.com

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