Real-Time Aircraft Tracking Enters A New Frontier

New Zealand based real-time aircraft tracking specialists, spidertracks are unveiling their latest addition to the Spider family, the Spider 7 at NBAA in Las Vegas this week. This seventh generation of tracking device comes with the option of an external antenna which allows operators of more complex aircraft to realize the benefits of simple real-time tracking.

Spidertracks’ CEO, Dave Blackwell says that one of the biggest challenges portable tracking products have had in the past is the difficulty in transmitting through heated windshields reliably. For operators of larger and more high tech aircraft, such as the typical business jet, options have been limited to expensive and complex systems.

"The Spider 7 is a natural evolution for spidertracks and something that has been driven by the market for some time now. We are very excited to be able to bring all the attributes that have done so well for us to date, the plug-and-play product simplicity and the cost effective nature of system as a whole, through to a whole new tier of aviation."

"Our core purpose is to improve the safety and the productivity of aviation businesses and their people. The Spider 7 checks all boxes when it comes to this."

In most cases, the Spider 7 is able to be installed under a minor modification, which means that it typically does not require a supplemental type certificate. This greatly reduces the cost to operators and makes for a simple and painless implementation throughout a fleet.

The Spider 7 marks the beginning of a whole new suite of features designed to give the operator not only situational awareness, but insight into how the aircraft is being flown. Altitude Events automatically detects if an aircraft may be in distress based on abnormal rate of climb and descent and alert operators in real time. Other features include automatic takeoff and landing alerts and Spidertxt. Spidertxt allows operators to send two-way text messages to and from their aircraft anywhere in the world, regardless of cell reception.

"Not only do our customers want to know where their assets are, but more and more they are wanting to know how they are being flown. This has a direct implication on their risk profile and on maintenance costs; clearly both things they want to optimise."

"More and more we are seeing the industry adopt safety management systems (SMS) as best practice and for an operator to be able to have insights about how the aircraft is being flown in real-time, that has significant value."

Mr Blackwell adds that with the new external antenna input the Spider 7 no longer has to be mounted somewhere visible on the dashboard.

“The ability to mount the Spider 7 somewhere discrete and out of sight has been a request we’ve heard from operators who don't want anyone to have the ability to switch it off in flight.

“The external keypad allows pilots to access the main controls of the Spider for emergency situations while using a much smaller footprint in the cockpit,” he says.

The Spider is constantly collecting and analysing data from the flight and then sending aircraft information as often as every minute through the Iridium satellite network. Data is processed by spidertracks and displayed on web based and mobile applications to deliver immediate insight to the location and behavior of their assets.

The Spider can report on time and/or distance based intervals but also on event occurrence, such as a change in heading.

"We have a number of pipeline patrol operators who are required to provide proof of coverage to their customer, but also travel long distances in a straight line before coming upon curvature. To have heading changes configured as a secondary reporting type is really useful for them," adds Dave.

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