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.