Jump to content

Aircraft tracker could save lives


Recommended Posts

Aircraft tracker 'could save lives'


Thursday Dec 13 11:14 AEDT




A new aircraft tracking device, due on the Australian market early next year, could help save lives in crashes, its manufacturers say.




Satellite telecommunications company Globalstar Australia said the device, called Skytrax 3, was already in use in the United States and Canada.




It automatically sends activity, location and altitude signals at intervals as short as two minutes.




Most Electronic Location Transmitters (ELT) now in use have to be manually activated in an emergency.



















Globalstar Australia called on the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to consider approval for Skytrax 3, which it said would aid in the search and rescue of missing Australian planes, particularly for small aircraft.




The call comes after two crashes in South Gippsland and the Hunter region killed five people in the past month.




CASA and aviation laws require most aircraft to carry an ELT.




In the South Gippsland crash, it is believed the ELT on the ill-fated Cessna was not activated or was faulty, leading to delays in finding the aircraft.




Globalstar Australia managing director Peter Bolger said CASA should increase the amount of safety equipment in aircraft and should look at ensuring automatically activating tracking devices are installed.




"In light of new technology developments, the aviation industry should review the current ELT regulations and look at enforcing automatically activating tracking devices that can work as a backup to the ELT or even as the primary tracking device," Mr Bolger said.




"Malfunctions can happen, so it is imperative that there is a back-up solution.




"The crash of the Cessna and the loss of four lives is tragic and it was quite concerning how long it took to locate the crashed aircraft.




"It is critically important to find and rescue the occupants as quickly as possible and anything that can be done to assist in the process should be considered."




The Skytrax 3 would cost around $2,000 for the actual device and from $25 a month to operate.




CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said there were already requirements in place for emergency beacons operating on an international frequency but new technology was always welcome.




"It would be a matter of the industry evaluating whether they were interested in it," Mr Gibson said.




Any electronic equipment taken into an aircraft is the pilot's responsibility and all must have CASA approval, he said.




"If it was going to be something that was a common standard across the industry then it would be sensible to have an approval process that everyone knew they were using the same system set up in the same way."




The Aircraft Owners and Pilots' Association said they had no knowledge of the device and could not comment on it.




Maybe AOPA won't comment at this stage, but what are the views of other flyers out there?




Certainly sounds better than taking a homing pigeon, but would people pay the asking price?




Possibly flyers might thinks it's a bit expensive, except those that may be in desperate need to use it!!




However, like most commercial deals, if say an organisation such as RAAus approached Globalstar, they might be able to talk a deal to make the service cheaper for members, if enough interest was shown?




Just a thought.











Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect it will generate similar discussion to the ADSB comments regarding cost. While it sounds like a great idea sitting at a desk, inventing new regulations, I can't help but think of the added cost and weight to what remains ultralight recreational aviation. I suspect that if every item of 'must have' safety gear wear on board, we'd never get off the ground and would all be driving 4wd!


However, there will be pilots flying hard and fast in touring aircraft like the Millenium Masters where this sort of equipment doesn't add too much cost (in %) and it will aid if there is an accident in a remote area. But for many who are just flying locally in Drifters/Sapphires and so on, it would be a large additional cost (%) and I wonder if it might be the 'straw that breaks the camel's back'?


Regards, Mathew



Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I was flying aroud Oz covering a lot of remote areas, i'd probably like the comfort of having the system onboard, but your right in what you say, how much can you take, plus the cost factor. You only need some, to give piece of mind, not everything thats available. It reminds me of my younger days when I was buying just about all the petrol saving devices available for my first car. The problem was, that much to my dissapointment, I found that I still had to put petrol in the thing, when I ought have been given an I.O.U.049_sad.gif.af5e5c0993af131d9c5bfe880fbbc2a0.gif


Regards Alan



Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think this is a wonderful idea. In fact any device which can contribute to safety in the air should be mandatory. It is inconceivable that anyone could begrudge spending the odd $1000 or so dollars on any safety item. Bring them on. All airstrips should be fitted with VASI or something similar, that would eliminate many landing problems.


Radio and Transponders should also be mandatory and if you don't have an electrical system in your plane then you should fit one. No problem if it was designed without it. It will only cost a few thousand dollars to get an engineer to certify it.


All aircraft should vary automatic solar powered mirrors to shine a bright light in a 360 degree arc all round while in flight.


What I really consider would be imperative is what my company is working on at the moment. A compulsory airstrip identifier which will emit a green light signal all round, visible to planes within gliding distance and a red signal for planes too low to reach the field. Sadly I am running short of investment funds to produce this vital piece of equipment and am appealing for investors to come forward. Thirty investors with $1000000 each would bring this project to fruition in a very short time.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...