ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Commercial, Embedded Avionics

InFlight Labs to Bring ATC-Activated Aircraft Tracking to Market

By Juliet Van Wagenen | April 15, 2015
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Smart ELT tracking system and simulation
Smart ELT tracking system and simulation. Photo: InFlight Labs

[Avionics Today 04-15-2015] InFlight Labs is developing a Smart Emergency Location Transmitter (Smart ELT), an Air Traffic Control (ATC)-activated Aircraft Tracking System. Smart ELT is deployed over satellite-to-aircraft communications anywhere in the world and activated from an ATC ground command station to locate any aircraft within moments of a crisis.

The device sends a GPS-based 406 MHz emergency alert to the global search and rescue satellite constellation (COSPAS-SAT). The autonomous activation of the ELT will enable GPS and ground stations to continually track the aircraft’s location. Operators can also configure the system to be activated by other avionics such as Flight Data Recorder (FDR), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), or aircraft transponder to detect when an avionics anomaly or power interruption has occurred.

“Smart ELT can be activated/reset while an aircraft is in flight; which is the first ELT to offer this functionality. This technology could have located and tracked Malaysian Air 370 through all phases of flight if it was available at that time. We have developed Smart ELT so that another incident like Malaysian Air 370 never happens again,” said company spokesman Joseph Bekanich. The device can also send a detailed burst message to aviation and government authorities, apprising them of the situation within moments of an incident.

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