August 2013 Issue

Spidertracks S5: Real-Time SOS

Who needs an ELT when you can have real-time satellite flight tracking, two-way messaging and enhanced surveillance through Lockheed Martin?

It can be said that 406 MHz ELT technology evolved too late to be the huge seller that industry leaders predicted. While 406 ELT systems were stuck in a lengthy certification process, satellite tracking systems emerged from the transportation industry and into aviation applications. New Zealand-based Spidertracks was an early player with the Spider S3 (there’s also the competing Spot line of products that we’ll look at in another article). The new $1795 Spider S5 sends and receives SMS messages through a smartphone. It also interfaces with Lockheed Martin’s surveillance-enhanced search and rescue (SE-SAR) system.

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