Aireon Alert, which promises to provide free emergency response tracking for any ADS-B-equipped aircraft, anywhere in the world, is now open to accept registrations, the company has announced. The Aireon Alert satellite-based service will provide to aircraft operators and search-and-rescue the last known position of any ADS-B-equipped aircraft that is in distress or has lost communications. Current signals emit a signal every 15 minutes, while Aireon will monitor ADS-B signals every eight seconds at most, reducing the search area for a lost aircraft from more than 58,000 square miles to 5 square miles or less. It’s expected to go online early next year. It will be operated out of the IAA North Atlantic Communications Center in Ireland.
For the first time, Aireon says, aircraft operators and search teams will have access, on request, to exact position data for an aircraft in distress, even if it’s over the oceans or in remote areas far from ground-based infrastructure. “As long as an aircraft is broadcasting on 1090 MHz ADS-B, we will be able to locate it anywhere worldwide,” said Peter Kearney, CEO of the Irish Aviation Authority. “This is a unique and secure cloud-based service, designed to the highest data protection standards.” The system uses Iridium’s constellation of satellites, and is designed to provide ATC services for customers worldwide. The search-and-rescue capability is offered free as a public service to the aviation community, the company says. For more information or to pre-register for Aireon Alert, visit the company’s website.
NOTE: Aireon’s website says the service is “not designed for private pilots and the general aviation commnunity,” however, the service will work with search and rescue providers. AVweb contacted the company for clarification and has posted an update.