True Heading?


Was the reluctance of the airline industry to accelerate the deployment of global flight tracking solutions entirely predictable? Is it truly committed to a huge … More ››

Tracing The Future


Steve Winter examines what issues UN aviation agency ICAO faced in assessing global tracking technologies following the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 In response … More ››

Common Goal

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The European Aviation Safety Agency is working on a draft regulatory proposal that would harmonise training and certification standards for air traffic controllers throughout the … More ››

Small World


Gary Church outlines the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Rule the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should write. The last five years have seen an … More ››

Paradigm Shift


NATS plans to replace its ageing flight data processing technology with a highly advanced tool called  iTEC-EFDP which is being developed by Spain’s Indra for … More ››

Learning Curve

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December 7, 2013, started like any other Saturday with controllers expecting business as usual. It certainly didn’t turn out that way as Aimée Turner reports. … More ››

It’s All About The People


Following the December 2013 outage, it is worth remembering, lest we needed to be reminded, that aviation is all about the people, writes Steve Winter. … More ››

On Track?


Exactly how airlines will be persuaded to comply with imminent industry proposals designed to improve aircraft tracking throughout the global fleet remains unclear, writes Aimée … More ››

Data Burst


Aimée Turner examines European efforts to salvage a crucial technological enabler of the Single European Sky and assesses the likely impact on the deployment momentum … More ››

Space Odyssey

Flight Tracking A Bonus?

In a similar way to today’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), the communication equipment being developed under Iris Precursor is being designed to accommodate a location message in the protocol as well as its principal aim of providing a greater communication traffic load.

This cost-effective location message approach came from work launched in response to the Air France AF447 tragedy under the SESAR SAT-OPTIMI study.

Following the tragic loss of Flight 447 over the Atlantic in June 2009, the European Commission asked the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) to find solutions for the better tracking of aircraft in oceanic and remote low density airspace.

The consortium responsible for the Oceanic Position Tracking Improvement & Monitoring (OPTIMI) project delivered their report to the SESAR Joint Undertaking with recommendations regarding technical, operational, economic and regulatory changes.  

The recommendations were the basis for a second study in 2010 called, SAT-OPTIMI, which assessed short to-medium timeframe innovations in satellite systems development enabling global coverage.

While black box or flight data recorder (FDR) data streaming is not associated with 4D operations, in principle any data that fits within the available communications bandwidth can be transmitted in an emergency if it is connected in the aircraft and the FDR has the data compression and output necessary - although that does not exist today.

Managing the forecast boom in air traffic safely while driving down costs is driving Europe to adopt satellite-based data exchange. Aimée Turner examines how Europe … More ››