In 2005, a high-profile helicopter accident in New Zealand ended in two fatalities and one of the most inefficient search and rescue efforts ever experienced. With no emergency signal or communication received, the families, friends, authorities, and soon the general public became very concerned. Despite hundreds of man hours of searching, the wreckage of the helicopter was tragically not found for two full weeks – partially due to the failure of the ELT (Emergency Location Transmitter). Some inventive Kiwi’s were saddened yet puzzled by the situation. Why wasn’t there a simpler and more effective way to locate a downed aircraft?
It was then that the idea for Spidertracks was born. The company was officially founded two-years later upon their flagship ‘Spider’ hardware and a single core mission – to help make the aviation community a safer place to live and operate. 12-years years on, Spidertracks now provide real-time satellite tracking, active flight monitoring, and two-way communication services to thousands of aircraft across the globe.
To mark their 12-year milestone, Spidertracks have announced the official launch of Virtual FDR™.
Virtual FDR extends the real-time flight following capabilities of the Spider by logging a 4D vector at 15 second intervals, as well as with every 30-degree change in heading. This data is then transmitted in a bundled package with the next scheduled position report. This provides a much smoother track and an incredibly accurate representation of the aircraft’s actual flight path and movements.
Spidertracks’ CEO Dave Blackwell says he is excited by the step-change in value that this provides to their customers, extending real-time flight following capabilities into the FOQA (Flight Operations Quality Assurance) domain. In addition, using a dedicated Iridium channel means that this level of fidelity is delivered on-time, every time, without exception. “As a trusted provider of aviation safety services we have elected to use Iridium NEXT as our primary channel for all mission critical flight data. This gives the customer assurance of receiving high quality data every time without reliance on the availability of a cellular signal or messing around with an SD card.”
Mr. Blackwell also states that this is just the beginning. “At Spidertracks, we believe in customer lead innovation and have a really exciting product evolution in front of us with Virtual FDR.”
Spidertracks advise that this is a standard feature and just part of the value equation on all commercial service plans, at no extra cost.
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