Tag Archives: flight tracking

cabin-services-worldwideA few days ago we remembered the tragic disappearance of flight MH370 one year on. On Friday March 04, Singapore Civil Aviation Authority announced the establishment of new rules to improve the tracking of its aircraft.

The new rules state that position reporting must now take place at intervals of 15 minutes throughout the duration of the flight, on flights carrying more than 19 passengers.

Cargo aircraft weighing more than 45,500 kg will also fall within the scope of the new rules.

Rules will come into effect from July 01 2016, when operators will need to track aircraft by manual or automatic means. From November 2018, only automatic tracking will be acceptable under the new requirements.

More Information About HFDL from Global Providers Rockwell Collins' ARINCA trial program has begun this week spearheaded by Rockwell Collins and involving nine global airlines to test the communications giant’s new ARINC MultiLink flight tracking service, which promised to be one of the most cost-effective solutions to the much debated problem for airlines.

Using multiple data sources, including satellite, HFDL performance data, ADS-C, radar, ACARS and EuroControl positioning data, the ARINC MultiLink reports the location of an aircraft reliably anywhere in the world.

Trials are being conducted in Europe, Middle East and Asia, North and Latin America. Participating airlines have been selected for their geographic diversity, according to Yun Chong, vice president of commercial aviation services for Rockwell Collins IMS.

Once the trials are completed, the service is expected to be widely available towards the end of 2015.

Providers of Superior Aviation Messaging Services for Flight TrackingFollowing the tragic events of last year, and with a nudge from the UN civil aviation department for the industry as a whole to address the problem, Singapore Airlines is looking to enhance its aircraft tracking capabilities as a priority.

Aircraft and operational messaging systems need to provide seamlessly reliable messaging on a global scale and operate within a messaging architecture than is robust enough to handle real-time conversion, messaging switching and have tracing capability.

Although the capabilities exist, a handful of carriers are working together with communications providers to develop new systems that can recognise when an aircraft is experiencing difficulties or leaves its planned route, in addition to real-time tracking and monitoring.

Mr Nicholas Ionides, spokesman for Singapore Airlines gave confirmation of the carrier’s participation in ‘trials related to aircraft tracking’, but gave no further clue as to the extent of the trials.

A report has been submitted to IATA by the Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) this week, which will deliver its findings for consideration in the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) development.

Airline Operational Messaging Solutions ProvidersAlthough the contents of the report are not yet public, Tony Tyler, CEO of IATA said that the report ‘recommends that airlines evaluate their current tracking capabilities against the performance criteria and close any gaps within a 12 month time frame.”

According to Mr Tyler, airlines will need to complete phases in order to achieve complete, worldwide aircraft tracking capability:

Short-term – make use of the current capabilities within their fleets and operational areas

Near-term – look at the business case for upgrading equipment to meet performance criteria

Parallel – explore the possibility of making tamper-proof systems with other industry stakeholders and manufacturers

The recommendations included in the report encompass many improvements, particularly within the communications systems, such as Controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) and ACARS to the space-based ADS-B, which, in the long-term is seen as the solution to seamless global aircraft tracking.

With mandatory equipage of these technologies fast approaching within European and Canadian airspace, new aircraft are already seeing these technologies coming as standard onboard installations.

For global tracking to become a certainty, technological capabilities must be installed and a ground-based ADS-B infrastructure is already in place.

“The public should be aware that there is no silver bullet solution on tracking,” said Tyler. “The industry is working to improve, but some issues such as tamper proofing, will take time to address and implement.”

Other Real-Time Flight Tracking ProvidersIt has been announced that Skyservice Business Aviation operators have signed a deal that will give real-time flight tracking benefits on a global scale.

The solution, to be installed on Learjet 45’s that make up the Skyservice Air Ambulance fleet, will also offer data collection for maintenance purposes and monitoring functions to enable issue fixing and thus minimising potential downtime and helping to increase operational productivity.

The agreement has been signed initially for five years at an estimated value of $550,000, based on potential flight hours and list prices. Skyservice has signed a contract with Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd, a Canadian-based technology company with a focus on aerospace solutions.

Sam Cimone, President of Skyservice Business Aviation said “Our company is continuously looking at improving its operations and efficiency and more importantly, the safety of our passengers and clients. The STAR-A.D.S. (TM) solution, with the precise data it continuously and globally provides, coupled with its analysis abilities, will enhance our performance, and assist us in monitoring the aircraft in real time. This will ensure better utilization of the aircraft and safety for the passenger”.

As we enter the fourth month following the unprecedented disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, more airlines and operators are looking to real-time flight tracking solutions.

Providers of Global Communications for Flight TrackingCanadian aerospace company, Flyht has launched a new portable SATCOM system, based on Iridium network technology that promises global communications at low prices for the aviation industry. At an initial cost of less than $10,000, the Dragon system will allow pilots and passengers to communicate for less, with no certification needed.

Using iPads, pilots and passengers will be able to use the Dragon iPad app to make telephone calls, send and receive emails and texts. The App will also be utilised by ground-based operations to deliver NOTAMs and weather updates to the cockpit, globally, via the Iridium satellite network.

As the world of aviation requests global flight tracking in the wake of flight MH370’s disappearance, the advent of the Dragon could not be better timed. With its ability to feed ASD systems, the Dragon is capable of flight following and has been tested by Chinese company, Aircraft Data Communication for input into its global aircraft management system.

Real-time flight tracking and delivery of automated OOOI messages is set to be high on many operators agenda’s this year. Other providers of technology based upon the Iridium network, particularly in the world of business aviation, are stepping up in the face of the competition.

Global Flight Support Services ProvidersThe entire aviation industry have scratched its proverbial head in the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370. It has led to a call from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for improvements to the 50-year old ‘black box’ system, using advancements in technology to produce a real-time flight tracking system.

According to ITU, there ‘should be a mechanism to ensure that aircraft can be tracked in real time using state-of-the-art cloud computing’.

The black box recorder is mandatory on all flights, to record vital aircraft data regarding flight operations, aircraft systems, performance parameters, magnetic heading, positioning and other critical information. It is today being argued that this information should be available in real-time, with no possibility of being manually disconnected or the need for the recorder to be physically located in the event of an incident.

There is little doubt that the strength of feeling is running high at this stage. The industry as a whole is being urged to find solutions for flight tracking that cannot be manipulated.

Data Link Communications ProvidersSince the disappearance of Malaysia flight MH370, questions have been asked about the ability of radar to track aircraft worldwide. We know the technology exists, so how is it possible to ‘lose’ an aircraft to such an extent.

According to NZ Airways, who are responsible for the country’s 30 million square kilometres of airspace, a mere 60% of flights were tracked using satellite. Head of Auckland operations, Tim Boyle said, “It’s either radio or via what we call data link… through satellites.”
‘If data link updates were missed, and the aircraft remained out of radio contact, then Airways would have no way of knowing where the aircraft was’, he added.

The only route that has data link satellite mandates in place is within the North Atlantic route, according to Inmarsat senior vice-president of external affairs, Chris McLaughlin. It was an Inmarsat network that picked up data ‘handshakes’ from the missing Boeing 777 for up to five hours after it had left Malaysian airspace.

Black spots exist across the globe, for airlines that choose not to ‘opt into’ a contract for data-link systems. Neither Australia or New Zealand have any mandatory regulations to specify position reporting and it is thought that many aircraft are flying for long hours without reporting their positions.