JAGID Management, LLC
Location: Bloomfield, IA, and Ottumwa, IA
For many helicopter operators, there is now more computing power in their smartphones than there is in the cockpit. Upgrades to helicopter systems capable of offering command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) mission systems are available but seldom installed because of the price point.
As the C4ISR concept moves from the defense and military realms into public security and helicopter air ambulance, HAI Associate Member JAGID Management developed SmartCopter to provide an alternative that offers many of the same technological benefits at a much more reasonable price point.
SmartCopter™ involves a customized suite of hardware and software that provides crews with capabilities for moving maps; a helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (HTAWS); satellite, cellular 4G/LTE, or multichannel voice and wideband data capability; video processing; and an electronic flight bag (EFB).
"I have sold state-of-the-art but expensive systems throughout my career," says Jake Williams, founder and CEO of JAGID. "But most operators couldn't afford the cost. Therefore they do without this useful and versatile technology. There have been accidents over the years that might have been avoided and situations more efficiently resolved had the helicopter crew in the air had better, more flexible communications with the teams on the ground."
Williams set out to create an affordable solution to give airborne customers these communications and surveillance capabilities. "I used certified airborne hardware, software, and components to produce SmartCopter™, but the price is now 20 percent of the cockpit or mission system upgrades out there today, including ones that I used to sell," adds Williams.
Headquartered in Bloomfield, IA — designated a historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) by the US Small Business Administration — with a production facility nearby in Ottumwa, JAGID supports its current customers with just nine employees. "The agility of being a small business is a big bonus to our customers," continues Williams. "I address each problem and solution pragmatically, trying to meet the budgets — or lack of budgets — available to our end users. Our goal is to help the majority of operators fly more safely and add mission capability at a lower cost."
Nearly all of JAGID's employees are veterans. "It is extremely hard to recruit experienced engineers to this region," explains Williams. "So I focus on veterans or other local workers, and I train them with the necessary skills through a partnership with Indian Hills Community College and Iowa Workforce Development."
JAGID joined HAI just last year and first exhibited at HAI HELI-EXPO 2017 in Dallas, displaying the SmartCopter™ technology. "We serve the members of HAI," finishes Williams. "At the show, we can get to know our members and better explain our ability to lower costs for safer flights."
Visit JAGID at HAI HELI-EXPO 2018 in Las Vegas at Booth #N2703.