May 9, 2013
By Jim Moore
Lockheed Martin Flight Services announced May 9 a system upgrade that will monitor general aviation flights in real time, and activate search-and-rescue if aircraft stop moving, stop reporting position, or issue a distress signal.
The company, contracted by the FAA to provide flight services including preflight briefing and flight plan filing, offers the “surveillance-enhanced search and rescue (SE-SAR) service at no cost to pilots. The system currently supports Spidertracks GPS position reporting systems (retail prices start at $995), and Lockheed plans to add support for additional devices, including Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment, in the near future.
Lockheed’s pilot Web portal allows pilots to register flight tracking devices, and was updated in October to provide automated alerts to adverse conditions that may arise after briefing and flight plan filing are complete. Users may sign up for the adverse condition alerting service (ACAS) through the same portal, and register a variety of mobile devices to receive post-briefing alerts. The company has also released a set of interfaces that allow providers of mobile flight planning applications to provide user access to the search-and-rescue and adverse condition alerting features.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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