Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Aircraft Tracking ~ an international standard

Since the disappearance of MH370, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has been working on a standard for aircraft tracking.

Details may be seen at ICAO - Aircraft Tracking

Shortly after the Malaysia Airlines event, a special Multidisciplinary Meeting on Global Flight Tracking (MMGFT) was convened at the ICAO Headquarters in Montréal, Canada, to propose recommendations for future actions. One of the main decisions taken was the need for operators to pursue global tracking of airline flights at a faster pace.

The Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) concept of operations was initiated at this meeting. The GADSS concept describes in an evolutionary manner the execution of actions in the short, medium and long terms with each action resulting in benefits. The first steps in implementing the GADSS can be taken in the short term by implementing the Normal Aircraft Tracking solutions as proposed by the Industry led Aircraft Tracking Task Force (ATTF) for commercial air transport and by addressing the areas of improvement identified in GADSS Document.
On 10 November 2015, the ICAO Council adopted Amendment 39 to Annex 6 — Operation of Aircraft, Part I — International Commercial Air Transport — Aeroplanes which included the normal aircraft tracking Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). These SARPs became effective on 20 March 2016 and will be applicable on 8 November 2018. Amendment 39 will be issued in April 2016.
The normal aircraft tracking SARPs establish the air operator’s responsibility to track its aircraft throughout its area of operations. It establishes an aircraft-tracking time interval of 15 minutes whenever air traffic services obtain an aircraft’s position information at greater than 15-minute intervals for aeroplanes with a seating capacity greater than nineteen. This aircraft-tracking time interval further applies as a recommendation to all operations of aircraft with a take-off mass of 27000 kg and as a requirement to all operations of aircraft with a take-off mass of 45500 kg when flying over oceanic areas.
The SARPs also establish the requirements for data retention to assist search and rescue (SAR) in determining the last known position of the aircraft. Finally, the SARPs establish when an air operator needs to report missing aircraft position information.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

MH 370 Interim Report

See also earlier post on MH370 - this is regularly updated as news appears.

An interim report on the missing Malaysian flight MH370 has been published - see Air Traffic Management 8th March 2015.  Here is a direct link to the report issued by the Malaysian Ministry of Transport (585 pages pdf). 

The report outlines how the investigation team is considering numerous areas, namely the the airworthiness and maintenance and aircraft systems of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft registered 9M-MRO; air traffic controller operations from 1719 to 2232 UTC on March 7, 2014; cargo consignment; crew profiles, diversion from filed flight plan route and satellite communications.

Factual information gathered on MH370 include air traffic control radio and radar tape recordings; a review of aircraft maintenance records; simulator sessions to reconstruct the aircraft flight profile and systems operation; interviews with more than 120 persons; visits to cargo operators, freight-forwarders and consignees of lithium ion batteries and mangosteen fruit.

Please also see the earlier blog post and the various links therein - MH370

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Malaysia Flight 370

9M-MRO at Paris in 2011
This post will be updated to keep abreast of events so please revisit ... Latest update 7th October 2016

On 8th March 2014 at 16.41 UTC (7th March),  Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) - a Boeing 777-200ER (Registration 9M-MRO) - departed Kuala Lumpur (ICAO Location Indicator WMKK) bound for Beijing (ZBAA).

Depending on the precise route, this is a flight distance of around 2380 nautical miles and takes approximately 6 hours.  The aircraft would have been expected to reach Beijing by around 22.30 UTC (7th March).

At time 17.19 UTC (7th March) there was a final radio communication between Air Traffic Control and the aircraft.  Details of that communication were, after some delay, released by the Malaysian authorities - see Missing plane: pilots' conversations revealed.  It may be worth noting the non-standard phraseology used which did not readback the frequency to which the aircraft had been instructed to transfer.  (On phraseology see, for example, UK Civil Aviation Authority material).  As to who made the final transmission from the aircraft see the report in Telegraph 24th June where it is claimed that the voice was that of the aircraft's captain.

Shortly after this at 17.20 UTC (7th March), the aircraft's transponder