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Staying on the Radar: Nav Canada and Aireon Plan to Track and Locate Distressed Aircraft

By Juliet Van Wagenen | September 22, 2014
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A diagram of Aireon’s global space-based ADS-B coverage
A diagram of Aireon’s global space-based ADS-B coverage. Photo: Aireon

[Avionics Today 09-22-2014] Nav Canada and Aireon have announced a plan to provide a global emergency tracking solution that will be available free of charge for all Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft. The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking (Aireon ALERT) service will allow rescue agencies to request the location and last flight track of any suitably equipped aircraft flying in airspace currently without surveillance.

“The existing gaps in surveillance, particularly in cases of lost aircraft, became abundantly clear this past year,” said John Crichton, president and CEO of Nav Canada. “The tragic disappearance of flight MH370 prompted a worldwide urgency to look for solutions. Aireon’s response amounts to a global public service offering Aireon ALERT universally and on a no-fee basis.”

Aireon is deploying a global space-based ADS-B surveillance capability that will provide direct tracking of remote and oceanic flights.

The ALERT service will be available soon after Aireon’s full deployment — anticipated in 2017 — and will be provided through a 24/7 application and emergency call center. Historical track data will be available to authorized users through Aireon ALERT soon after controller communications are lost with an aircraft, and the system can also provide real-time tracking of aircraft in distress, provided ADS-B transmissions are still operational.

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