How to Choose the Best Communication System for Your Aviation Business

Apr 19, 2018

Like every other business or industry, aviation requires efficient communication. Do you know what's going on in your operations at all times? Do you know where your pilots are and what they're doing? Are you able to get in touch with them should plans change at a moment's notice? Can you do all this no matter where in the world they're flying?

As an aviation operator, it’s critical that you ask yourself these questions and that the answer to each of them be ‘yes.’ The communications system you employ can’t just cover the basics; if it does — if its coverage drops out when your aircraft leave reception or if it’s not built to withstand the specific pressures of aviation — then you’re endangering your pilots and putting your business at risk for decreased profits and loss of productivity.

To illustrate the importance of reliable communication in aviation, let’s talk about how the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) used Spidertracks to manage their disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

In September 2017, Irma decimated the Atlantic zone. Large swaths of the affected area were without power and communication — and for the first 36 hours after the storm system struck Turks and Caicos, the RCIPS EC 135 helicopter and crew were the only available external aid.

In order to coordinate their relief efforts in such a changeable and hectic environment, the RCIPS needed an effective way for their unit command team to remotely monitor and communicate with their fleet and pilots. To do this, they set up an air operations command at Grand Cayman and took full advantage of Spidertracks’ real-time aviation tracking capabilities to oversee the transit flights and the Turks and Caicos deployment flights over 600 miles away.

Spidertracks operates on its own branded Global Cross-Channel Communications (GC3) system, which essentially eliminates coverage black spots by creating a web of multiple channels (satellite, cellular/wifi, and GSM handsets) and sending messages on whichever is the most effective at the time. Thanks to this feature, the RCIPS had no need to worry about losing comms capabilities while their aircraft were flying over water or when they ventured into storm-stricken areas where all communication had been knocked out.

Spidertracks and GC3 made it possible for the RCIPS to undertake a six-day Irma relief operation — in which they assisted in medical emergencies, conducted assessment flights of the island airports, and made way for additional aerial relief response — without spending valuable time and energy worrying about losing track of their pilots or aircraft.

The RCIPS case demonstrates why it’s so important for aviation operators to look at the four tiers of aviation communications and to choose from among them a reliable, comprehensive system that best fits their needs. To learn more about these tiers (from the advanced and expensive technology employed by commercial airliners down to the most basic solutions adopted by individual pilots), download our ebook: Reliable Communications with Your Aviation Crew — Anywhere, Anytime.

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