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© airbus Electronics Production | September 24, 2014

Missing airplanes a thing of the past?

Remember the Malaysian flight MH370 that went missing? Millions of millions of dollars spent and we are still unable to give peace to the grieving families.
But it seems that the world has learn a lesson from it. A collaboration between Iridium and Nav Canada hopes to solve that problem. Even better, the emergency tracking functionality will be available for free, to authorised rescue agencies.

“The existing gaps in surveillance, particularly in cases of lost aircraft, became abundantly clear this past year,” said John Crichton, President and CEO of NAV CANADA. “The tragic disappearance of flight MH370 prompted a worldwide urgency to look for solutions. Aireon’s response amounts to a global public service offering Aireon ALERT universally and on a no-fee basis.”

The Aireon uses an existing system called ADS-B, whereby aircrafts determine their position via GPS, and then broadcast that information to air traffic controllers via ground-based radio receivers. What Nav Canada and Iridium are trying to do now is to place these receivers into a set of low-orbit satellites and thus making the world a litte bit less unknown.

This means that little additional gear is actually required for the aircraft itself (meaning: cost efficient). It should therefore also be possible to 'upgrade' older airplanes.

And maybe tragedies - like that of MH370 - will be solved a lot quicker.

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