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Aireon and FlightAware Announce Qatar Airways as GlobalBeacon Launch Partner

Aireon and FlightAware announced today that Qatar Airways will be the first airline to adopt the new GlobalBeacon℠ solution to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) recommendations. The agreement will provide Qatar Airways’ Integrated Operations Centre with minute-by-minute, global tracking of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft by 2018. ( More...

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Regardless of any shortcomings, this is a positive step, and will evolve to better monitoring. Nothing is perfect in it's initial stages. But once implemented, improvements will fall into place.
Is it a kind of new black box?
Derek Fraser 1
This is good news, but Flyte Aerospace of Calgary, Alberta has been offering services like this for many years through its AFIRS system ( The more we know about flight operations, the better. In fact, Flyte is equipping many Chinese airlines, which is good news for the rest of us as they fly to North America! The AFIRS system uses the Iridium network to relay real-time flight information to flight operations of the airlines from anywhere in the world - what an interesting concept...
dbaker 2
FlightAware and Aireon's solution is the first and only solution that doesn't require additional hardware or have per-message fees for uplinking position updates. Virtually all of the world's airline fleet will be compatible without additional avionics.
bbabis 0
This is certainly an advancement that will help normal airline operations but would not have changed the result of MH370. This is not space based tracking of aircraft as stated. It is space based receiving of aircraft reporting their positions. Turn off the box either manually or due to failure and the aircraft disappears. When there is a self-powered chip (solar and/or tiny ducted turbine) at the top of the vertical fin reporting, we will be a little closer to the goal.
dbaker 8
GlobalBeacon will alert aircraft operators if their aircraft stop reporting positions within minutes, which allows air traffic control and military to immediately begin addressing the problem.

As far as self-powered devices, the specific requirements for autonomous distress tracking are still being established by the regulatory body. We look forward to incorporating this new information from ICAO, when available, to help improve the GlobalBeacon solution where necessary. ADS-B seems like a natural step in the correct direction due to the data it captures, pre-existing mandates and future global coverage, so we look forward to leveraging our ground and space receivers for this purpose.
bbabis 4
Post 9/11 air traffic control and the military already take immediate action when an aircraft stops reporting its position.
I fully agree though that GlobalBeacon is a valuable step forward as far as filling in holes due to the limitations of ground based receivers. You do a great job of posting and keeping us up to speed on issues pertaining to FA and technology in aviation. I look forward to reading about when the aircraft part of the tracking equation becomes failsafe. Be safe.


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