Owners/operators and pilots of piston aircraft can now tap into flight tracking information for their aircraft and aircraft that they fly and share that information using FlightAware’s new Aviator service.
A pilot can register multiple aircraft on Aviator, for example, when renting or flying more than one aircraft. Once registered, the user can view detailed tracking information for that aircraft and also set a VFR “flight intent,” which is a plan for the flight including the route, destination, time en route, and even the intended FBO.
These features have long been available for airline and business aviation FlightAware users, according to Matt Davis, v-p of sales, “but what about us bug-smasher guys?”
Aviator is designed to give light aircraft pilots access to the same tools as operators of larger aircraft, including seamless communication with stakeholders, a complete history of the flight, and a unified dashboard to display all this information.
The Aviator service is available in two levels, the base version and a plus version. The plus version adds premium weather layers (icing, turbulence, and lightning), the ability to register 10 piston aircraft (versus five for the base version), 25 versus five people who can receive alerts for all flight phases and flight plan filing alerts, and an automatic monthly history report. Subscription plans cost $20/month or $200/year for Aviator+ and half that amount for Aviator.
Once signed up, the subscriber can add a “flight intent,” which is like filing a VFR flight plan. This intent can be submitted up to 48 hours before the departure time and includes information such as the departure and destination airports, time en route, route, and even the FBO that the pilot plans to patronize after landing. FBOs that participate in FlightAware’s FBO Toolbox can see the intent information and know when the aircraft will arrive.
FlightAware’s network of ADS-B receivers, hosted by people located throughout the globe, provides the data that feeds Aviator and its other flight tracking services. Once an aircraft is powered up and the transponder switched on, FlightAware’s network begins detecting that aircraft, provided there is a suitable ADS-B receiver located nearby. The tracking of an aircraft’s state is done using FlightAware’s “machine predictive technology, Foresight,” according to the company.
The network detects each change in the aircraft’s state, and FlightAware then shares those phases of flight, as specified by the user. An Aviator subscriber, for example, can designate up to five people (stakeholders) to receive email alerts such as ready to taxi, takeoff, en route diversions, 40 minutes to landing, landing, and arrival at the FBO. Aviator+ subscribers can sign up 25 stakeholders, which could be family members, a flight school operations desk, a maintenance company, or anyone who needs to coordinate actions based on the user’s flight activities and whereabouts. The Aviator account holder can also create configurable notifications.
All of the aircraft in an Aviator’s account are tracked on that user’s dashboard. “It’s their go-to hub for flight details,” said Davis. While FlightAware doesn’t guarantee the availability of the tracking service, it has been 99.99 percent available during the past 12 months, he said, adding, “We have a global understanding of what’s in the sky.”