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All Aireon ADS-B Satellites Deployed

February 2019 - Nav Canada’s majority investment of $150 million in Aireon has reached a major milestone. You can read a full update at this link, but if you want the Coles Notes version, all 75 ADS-B monitoring satellites including nine spares are now in orbit and undergoing testing. For the first time, it will be possible to monitor ADS-B Out signals from all appropriately equipped air traffic anywhere around the globe.

The system will not only accommodate regular tracking of aircraft but also offer a free alerting system, suitably named ALERT (aircraft locating and emergency response tracking) so aircraft going missing will hopefully become a thing of the past.

Sadly, one component that would have been really useful is the ADS-B In service provided in the United States by its tower-based system. It provides in-flight weather and other notification services. Presumably the logistics of broadcasting weather, NOTAMs, etc. all over the world and making it relevant locally was a bit of a stretch, even in this day and age.

So far, the Canadian, British, Irish, Italian, South African, Singaporean, and several other countries’ air traffic control systems have signed up to use Aireon. The FAA has been involved from the outset. Customers are already receiving live data, and the ALERT system is scheduled to go live this quarter. The Edmonton, Alberta, Flight Information Region will be the first to go live, in the next few months.

Incidentally, Nav Canada is at the leading edge of air traffic management technology. If you are interested in finding out more about the tools they use, like electronic strips, check out the website.

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