Aireon, a joint venture involving Iridium Communications and Nav Canada, the country’s private-sector civil air navigation service provider, has announced a plan to provide free real-time global emergency flight tracking for any ADS-B equipped aircraft. The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking service will be available to authorized search-and-rescue operations, soon after the completion of the Iridium Next satellite constellation in 2017.
The NTSB will hold a free one-day forum to review current technological advancements to flight data recorders and aircraft locators. The preliminary agenda for the meeting, called “Emerging Flight Data and Locator Technology,” was posted last week. The session will focus on equipment in use while also exploring new technologies in development and determining what issues relating to policy, industry standards and technical limitations need to be addressed.
Satellite-based surveillance developer Aireon will provide a free emergency tracking system for aircraft when the satellite constellation it will use is launched and operating, as expected, in 2017. Aireon announced the service on September 22, saying the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 earlier this year makes global emergency tracking “essential.”
Bombardier will be the first manufacturer to offer high-speed Ka-band in-flight Internet conductivity in a business aircraft, with Honeywell’s new JetWave satcom system to be available for delivery aboard the Canadian aircraft manufacturer’s Global series starting in 2016, the companies announced this morning.
The European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA)–which operates and maintains Egnos, Europe’s Waas equivalent–and Eurocontrol signed a new cooperation agreement yesterday under which they will jointly implement European satellite navigation policies in the aviation sector. The move will set the stage for the EU to evolve its air traffic management infrastructure from one based primarily on ground-based systems to a more satellite-based system, improving accessibility, efficiency and safety for European operators, pilots and airports.
Sierra Industries announced a new performance upgrade program today for the legacy Cessna 525/CitationJet, which includes the CitationJet, CJ1 and CJ1+. Dubbed Sapphire, the upgrade is billed as a “comprehensive package of modifications that will enhance performance, reliability and comfort.” Some 660 CitationJets, CJ1s and CJ1+s are potential candidates for the Sapphire program.
Epic and U.S. Bank introduced an enhanced Epic Card as the first card issued by a fuel supplier to provide global acceptance via U.S. Bank’s aviation-specific network. The Epic Card is now accepted at thousands of FBOs globally that process through the U.S. Bank Multi Service Aviation Network, the companies said. For Epic cardholders, all card transactions will appear on one statement each month for streamlined reconciliation. In addition, a mobile app and a dedicated website provide online settlement, tracking and account-specific pricing.
Business aircraft flying in the U.S. rose for the ninth straight month, climbing 0.9 percent last month versus a year ago, according to data released today by aviation services company Argus. For this month, Argus estimates that flying will increase by 2.7 percent year-over-year.
For the first time this year, fractional flying led the pack, climbing 5.5 percent last month versus a year ago. Part 135 charter flight activity grew by 0.8 percent year-over-year, while Part 91 flying was nearly flat, falling 0.1 percent.
As concerns grow over whether recent accidents involved hypoxia, including the TBM900 crash on Friday, pilots might wonder about simple tools to help them detect when hypoxia is imminent or occurring. Though pressurized aircraft have alarms that warn when cabin altitude climbs too high, the ubiquitous mobile devices that most pilots carry can also pitch in to help.
The NTSB is calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to work with the Interior Department to mitigate methane discharges from offshore energy platforms in the Gulf of Mexico when helicopters are present. The recommendation follows two power-loss incidents in helicopters that led to accidents, one in 2011 and the other last year, on or near offshore oil platforms.