New Zealand-based aircraft tracking company Spidertracks has launched Spiderwatch, a flight following solution that actively watches over every flight.
The company is positioning spidertracks with spiderwatch as an alternative safety system to Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), as the spiderwatch system sends emergency alerts automatically as soon as an accident occurs.
Spiderwatch is being launched at AirVenture 2009 at Oshkosh with a special introductory offer. New customers will be able to purchase a spidertracks tracking device for $1,995 and will receive a free keypad and their first six months subscription to the Iridium satellite network for free.
“We think Spiderwatch has potential to replace the need for traditional flight planning and it’s certainly an alternative to ELTs,” said Bruce Bartley, Spidertracks director. “Studies into the effectiveness of ELTs in the U.S. found that they fail to activate in three-quarters of accidents. The cause of the failures – high impact, fire, aerial damage, or because they are submerged – are common in aircraft accidents. The newer 406MHz beacons generate fewer false alerts than the old 121.5MHz ELTs, but the problems that caused the 121.5s to fail are still going to cause problems for the 406s.
“Because the spiderwatch alert is generated from the system, not by the unit in the aircraft, it doesn’t matter if the spider is damaged in the crash. You can rely on it to send an alert 100% of the time,” he continued.
Spiderwatch is automatically turned on when the aircraft accelerates through 40 knots. This tells the system to “actively” monitor the flight. If the tracking device loses power, as would happen in a crash, the system loses contact with the spider, triggering text and email alerts to be automatically sent to recipients nominated by the user. If the first tier of recipients doesn’t acknowledge the alert, the system sends the alert to a second tier of recipients, including local rescue coordination services. The pilot’s first tier recipients can also confirm they have received the alert and request the system still notify emergency services.
To cancel the monitoring at the safe completion of the flight, all the pilot has to do is press the “cancel spiderwatch” button on the spidertracks keypad.
For more information: www.spidertracks.com