The Global Positioning Systems used in today’s agricultural aircraft are vital to any agricultural aviation operation. Precision guidance and flow controls ensure that accurate applications are made exactly where they were intended. Used properly, it is undisputed that GPS equipped ag-aircraft provide increased accuracy, proficiency and productivity. One company that has been a mainstay in the evolution of GPS-based applications is DynaNav Systems, based in northwestern Canada.
At the helm of the company is Reg Moen. A familiar face on the state, regional and national trade show circuit, Reg has been involved in aircraft electronics since 1965 when he worked for Island Airlines, a bush plane operation on Vancouver Island. Reg started his first aviation-related business in 1975, Unavia Ltd, a Fixed Base Operation, which also specialized in avionics sales, repairs and everything in between.
As a predecessor to DynaNav Systems, Reg operated Avionics Canada. This company was the genesis for GPS operations for commercial aviation. In 1995, he formally established DynaNav Systems, Inc., which narrowed his focus to industrial airborne GPS products with a focus on oil and gas exploration – seismic activity and particularly on aerial application technologies for farm and forestry. Over time, the company has evolved into other aerial products: LIDAR, laser altimeters and various technologies for aerial mapping are all part of the DynaNav catalog.
From the beginning, key to the development of the DynaNav products, is Vern Moen, Reg’s brother. Vern’s Physics Degree and experience in programming since the first computers at the University for doing Physic Lab experiments, gave Vern the perfect background for the Software development of DynaNav’s products.
Another important member of the DynaNav development team is Giovani Brondani from Brazil, who joined DynaNav in 2014. His specialty is extremely broad as he can design and develop complete hardware, firmware and software including PC boards. His family background has both aviation and agriculture, giving Giovani the core understanding of the requirements of the DynaNav products and what they require and need to do.
The DynaFlight-AirAg was the first production unit designed by DynaNav Systems for agricultural aviation. Bradley Reed, of Reed Aviation, was the first customer to install the DynaNav units in his aircraft in 1995, and is still operating the DynaNav Products today.
“The simplicity of the system, and the fact that we are able to utilize the ‘free form’ application features really attracted us to the DynaNav products.” comments Reed.
The DynaNav systems are designed, manufactured and maintained in the company’s headquarters in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada. Over the years, Reg contracted some of the top engineers for their expertise for development of specific parts of the DynaNav product line. Reg’s two sons, Lee and Troy Moen, have been involved with the business since 2000. Troy, a Transport Canada licensed Avionics Engineer, is production manager for operations of DynaNav Systems. Troy’s experience stems from working on the avionics of aircraft such as Boeing 737, 767, Convairs, etc. Taj, Reg’s wife is the accountant that keeps the office in top working order, from Accounting to Human Resources. Those of you that have met her, are delighted with her sense of humor!
The DynaNav product line began in 1995 with the DynaFlight-AirAg. This unit continued in production while the company developed the DynaFlight-Seisbag in 1997 for helicopter Target Navigation to deploy and retrieve Seismic equipment with helicopters, this was followed by the DynaFlight-Seisbag II in 2007.
The DynaFlight AirAg saw an upgrade to the DynaFlight AirAg II in 2003 and then the DynaFlight AirAg Pro in 2009 which all these systems are currently supported by the operations team.
Rapid evolution of technology led the company to release the Vektor Lightbar system in 2014 and then the Vektor Max in 2017. The Vektor Max is a completely self-contained touchscreen interface that is extremely light and does not have any remotely mounted control boxes, everything including the GPS is built in, and also includes a built-in flow controller electronics, all you need to add is the Flow Valve and Flow Meter.
The latest production from DynaNav is the DynaFlight 3. Like the Vektor Max, this self-contained unit is composed solely of the DynaViz dash mounted display and the touchscreen interface. Further to this, DynaNav released a Flow Control system in 2016 that can be stand alone or can be integrated with any of the legacy DynaFlight systems as well as certain other GPS systems.
A major development by DynaNav was the Transland Hydraulic Gate system hardware and software. This began in 2010 and was in beta operation in 2013. In 2014, one of these Beta systems went into operation on an AT-802 in Australia as a FireGate System and is fully functional today with the latest software and also has been integrated into the Reabe Tank system and the Satellite Fire tracking system to show the drops to the fire base. The Transland Hydraulic Gates are both Ag Gates as well as Fire Gates and the DynaNav controller can be both an Ag Gate as well as switch to being a Fire Gate in the same system. The Transland SwitchBack utilizes this versatile platform to do this.
DynaNav is also releasing the industry’s first Head-Up Display (HUD). The DynaFlight HUD removes the typical GPS display/lightbar and replaces it with a plug and play HUD. DynaNav employed engineers with military-optic experience to design the optics for this HUD projector. The DynaFlight HUD has been specifically and uniquely designed to only display essential, non-distracting information for the pilot. Mike Hall, from Missouri, has been successfully flight testing the HUD in his Air Tractor AT-802 since the end of January 2020.
All of the new DynaNav products have TeamViewer capabilities that allow Reg Moen and his Support team to directly connect over the internet to the GPS system in real-time and to observe, diagnose and repair any issues that may arise even while flying. With units on the shelf, and the simplicity of the software, DynaNav can remote into the aircraft’s systems and correct discrepancies. If the units have to be replaced, a simple SD card swapping into a replacement plug and play unit will keep the operator working from where he left off. New user training is easily accomplished with reps from the company on a computer-based simulator. After about an hour of training, the pilot is ready to go to work.
There are currently over 30 products that DynaNav has developed – or developing. From the DynaFlow (debuted in 2016 to integrate into Flow Controllers) to the DynaPressure (released in 2018), a digital dual pressure gauge.
DynaNav has also recently obtained an ICOM LTE dealership. Utilizing LTE/4G/3G technology, the company can provide full duplex, two-way communications anywhere there is cell phone service. The operators Base can be in Texas and the aircraft can be in Iowa and the Base can still talk to the pilot as well as have live tracking of the aircraft and all Hand Held units. A small, hand-held radio can be used with any employee, whether on the ground or in the air, to transmit voice and data. Aircraft-mounted ICOM LTE units can serve as gateways to connect the airplane data to and from the operators private network at their office. The system can be expanded for connectivity to many things – well worth investigating.
Over 25 years dedicated to aerial application and aviation-GPS has yielded a company that is on the cutting edge of technology. Reg Moen and his team are committed to the continued development and refinement of the products that keep aerial applicators productive and profitable.