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Global aircraft tracking system to operate in 2018Global aircraft tracking system to operate in 2018

An orbiting system for the global tracking of aircraft with 81 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers aboard a constellation of satellites was announced Sept. 21 by flight tracking data company FlightAware and global air traffic surveillance pioneer Aireon.

“This is the most significant advance in flight tracking since radar was invented during World War II, and will soon provide the first and only truly global flight tracking system including coverage over the North and South poles as well as every ocean, and every desert in the world,” announced Daniel Baker, CEO of the Houston, Texas-based FlightAware.

In a video, Baker and Aireon CEO Don Thoma discuss their partnership, noting that their GlobalBeacon tracking system, which would become operational in 2018 is “the tip of the iceberg” of what can be done with the system’s data. Aireon is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.

Baker describes the long-standing challenge of “getting various pieces of technology together” to meet the needs of a wide range of aircraft operator customers, who will be able to incorporate the new “near real-time” tracking capability into their operations without any equipment upgrades. Thoma adds that Aireon built its system for air traffic control purposes, but realized that “collecting the data of air traffic around the globe had a significant amount of additional value.”

Baker and Thoma will attend the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Triennial Assembly in Montreal, Canada, in late September, said Baker, who will address the requirement—“in response to recent tragedies”—for airlines to implement global flight tracking with existing technology by November 2016, and with additional standards taking effect in 2018.

“While in Montreal, we will also announce the launch customer for our joint product, GlobalBeacon, which will provide airlines with the data and technology to comply with the new flight tracking mandate, and will forever change the world of flight tracking and flight safety,” he said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Technology

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