Aircraft GPS Tracking

Aviators throughout the world use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to increase the safety and efficiency of flight. With its accurate, continuous, and global capabilities, GPS offers seamless satellite navigation services that satisfy many of the requirements for aviation users. Space-based position and navigation enables three-dimensional position determination for all phases of flight from departure, en route, and arrival, to airport surface navigation.

GPS also serves as an essential component for many other aviation systems, such as the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) that has proven successful in reducing the risk of Controlled Flight into Terrain, a major cause of many aircraft accidents.

Tracking and monitoring an aircraft is not impossibly difficult as one might imagine. The truth is that almost all large commercial aircraft have Position Tracking Systems on-board which allows it to track its own location, accurately during flight, although this data, traditionally, can only be received by land-based radar systems, which not only asks for its position but also its identification. These radar systems only have a maximum range of 240 kilometers.

When an aircraft goes beyond the radar range, the aircraft can no longer be tracked via radar. Which was the reason why most civilian aircraft routes in the past relied on the availability of these radar stations to travel.

A ground-monitoring station can still track an aircraft’s position by having it actively connect to a data satellite. The data satellite acts as a relay, in which the aircraft will transmit its position to the data satellite then re-transmits this data to a tracking server that can be viewed on a computer.

Benefits

  • Continuous, reliable, and accurate positioning information for all phases of flight on a global basis.
  • Safe, flexible, and fuel-efficient routes for airspace service providers and airspace users.
  • Potential decommissioning and reduction of expensive ground based navigation facilities, systems, and services.
  • Increased safety for surface movement operations made possible by situational awareness.
  • Reduced aircraft delays due to increased capacity made possible through reduced separation minimums and more efficient air traffic management, particularly during inclement weather.
  • Increased safety-of-life.
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