Posts Tagged “Flight Tracking”

The curious case of the KC-390 and flight tracking

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[UPDATE – Embraer communiqué:

On Thursday morning, October 12, as part of the flight test campaign for certification, a prototype of the KC-390 multi-mission transport aircraft performed stall speed flight tests, which resulted in aircraft altitude loss due to decreased lift force.

Due to the maneuvers performed and following the established protocols for this specific situation, the crew requested an early return to the base, landing safely at the company’s aerodrome in Gavião Peixoto (SP) where the flight test campaign is being carried out.

The KC-390 is scheduled to enter service in 2018, according to the program schedule. Currently, two KC-390 prototypes have accumulated more than 1,300 flight hours. ]

Please start here. (original in Portuguese)  It appears the Embraer KC-390 had a mishap on October 12 during a test flight.  Here’s a link to the flight on that day from Flightradar24.  The crucial gap in tracking is readily visible.  Here is an image of PT-ZNF doing its first flight.

We requested a response from Embraer about this story.  As the comments below the linked post above show the story, as told, generated confusion.

The KC-390 is a clean sheet design and an entirely new aircraft type for Embraer.  The OEM is chartering new territory here. There is no disputing the company’s engineering is first class. So can the program hit unexpected snags? Of course.  But that is what is expected from flight test programs. Every OEM invariably hits a snag of some sort.  Computer models and simulators cannot replicate everything.  That is the purpose of flight tests, to wring out any kinks and ensure the aircraft performs in a predictable way when in service.

Consequently, whatever actually happened on October 12, Embraer is no doubt working on a fix.  The OEM will in due course no doubt make any statement necessary. We will publish their response to our request.

But what this does show is that the aviation community is passionate about flight test programs.  Using the flight tracking tools they monitor everything.  When something weird happens, they are on the case immediately.  An OEM does not really have a chance – unless they switch off the ADS-B system.  This is done frequently, but it’s not a solution if the aircraft is flying in airspace where it needs to be “seen” by other aircraft, ensuring safe flight by all.

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Missing Airplanes – Why Real-Time Tracking of Airplanes Won’t Happen Quickly

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Air travel is a very safe mode of travel, with few accidents and a trend line that points to increasing safety year by year.  The following chart shows worldwide airline fatalities per million passengers from 1976 through 2014.  The trend line shows that safety is continuing to improve for the industry as a whole. (more…)

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Rockwell Collins wins FAA contract

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Rockwell Collins has been awarded a seven year contract with the FAA to provide the company’s oceanic data link (ODL) service to enable real-time data communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, allowing aircraft to fly more efficient routes to save fuel and enhance safety.

The Rockwell Collins ARINC data link service enables standard procedural requests, like altitude changes, to be communicated via data transmissions between the FAA’s air route traffic control centers in Anchorage, New York and Oakland and flight crews on future air navigation system equipped aircraft. The service also allows aircraft to automatically transmit periodic position reports, enabling the FAA to track an aircraft’s location when traveling over the ocean and out of radar range.

Rockwell Collins’ ODL service provides a direct data communications link between the FAA oceanic controllers and a flight deck resulting in operational efficiency and better service to the flying public – not to mention enhanced safety.

Its great to see the rapidly evolving real-time tracking of aircraft using new and existing systems.  A solution to prevent another situation like the still missing MH370 is crucial.

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Rockwell Collins Solves Flight Tracking Issues

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Rockwell Collins today introduced the ARINC Mult-Link Flight Tracking service to enable airlines to cost-effectively monitor the position of their aircraft in real-time, anywhere in the world.  The ARINC MultiLink system is different than most tracking systems in that it utilizes multiple data sources, including ADS-C, high-frequency data link (HFDL) performance data, ADS-B, US Aircraft Situational Display to Industry (ADSI) radar data, EuroControl position information, and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) data.  The system has also been designed to incorporate future third-party data sources in addition to the six initial sources currently utilized.




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