The FAA Alaska Flight Services has approved the DeLorme inReach satellite communicator for the Enhanced Special Reporting Service (eSRS) program.
The inReach is a small satellite communication device that provides automatic GPS flight following, SOS alerting and two-way text messaging from the air. The inReach device has a dedicated SOS button that, when pressed, immediately sends a distress message.
The two-way communication feature of the inReach allows the search-and-rescue (SAR) authorities to send and receive text messages with the people in distress to ascertain the nature of the emergency and reassure them that help is on the way.
“Pilots and aircraft owners are encouraged to participate in this program while operating within the state of Alaska,” said James M. Miller, manager, Alaska Flight Services. “Once an alert is generated, the position of the aircraft is transmitted to Flight Service either directly or through the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC). This allows rescue to go directly to the aircraft location, instead of searching along an entire route when a flight becomes overdue.”
The inReach device uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive messages, ensuring connectivity anywhere in the world, including the most remote regions of Alaska, which are not covered by VHF radio service, company officials noted.
“While SOS alerting is a very important function of inReach, it’s much more than just an emergency transmitter,” said Jim Skillings, vice president of commercial products for DeLorme. “With inReach, you can send and receive text messages in flight with any email address or mobile phone number, even when flying in places far beyond the reach of cellular phone carriers. You can use it to update your Facebook page and post to other social media. It also allows you to share your flight with family and friends on the ground by displaying your GPS position and tracks for viewing on a password-protected Web-based map display.”
This month, DeLorme also announced the launch of its Freedom Plans, providing contract-free month-by-month usage plans eliminating the need for an annual service fee.
“Our Freedom Plans allow you to pay for satellite airtime service only when you need it on a rolling basis,” said Skillings. “You can change plans, up or down, or suspend your service at no charge. While the account is suspended, all your account data, tracks and details are automatically saved for instant availability when you restore service.”
For more information: DeLorme.com