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Cologne, September, 2016

On Air, Issue 9 - Flight Tracking

Editorial - Interview - Featured topic - Figure of the month - News & events



Several high-profile accidents, in particular flight AF447 and flight MH370, have highlighted shortcomings in the way flights are currently tracked.

Aeroplanes flying over land with high density of population are permanently tracked by air traffic control (ATC) systems. But the situation differs for aeroplanes flying over oceanic airspace or over more remote regions such as the poles where such ATC systems may not be available. The frequency of position reports by pilots or aircraft to ATC in remote and oceanic airspace is not systematic, it varies at certain intervals, depending on the density of the airspace and the procedures in place.

In order to improve the positioning of aeroplanes in oceanic and remote areas, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted international standards for:

  • the location of aircraft and underwater recorders using underwater beacons
  • the tracking of aircraft
  • a location system for aircraft in distress
  • and the fast recovery of data from flight recorders.

These standards will come into force gradually between 2018 and 2021.

In Europe, the rules governing the operations of public transport aircraft were amended last year to introduce similar requirements. Precisely, they address the flight recorders and their underwater beacons, request the introduction of an additional underwater locating device directly attached to the aircraft, and aim at improving aircraft tracking and the location of aircraft in distress. They will also gradually enter into force between 2018 and 2021 for new aeroplanes. The following lines describe in detail what is coming.

Patrick Ky

EASA Executive Director


Data recording from AIRBUS perspective: Peter Anders in Interview


Working for AIRBUS since 1989, Peter Anders is a Certification Manager for Avionics on all Airbus programs. Since 2010, he is Airworthiness Expert for Connectivity and Data Recording products. He is also responsible for providing Airworthiness expertise of future products to enhance data recording recovery and aircraft location. He represents AIRBUS in international regulation working groups (ICAO/FLIREC, EASA/EFRPG) to contribute industrial positions and opinions.

Most citizens don’t understand why a large aeroplane with 250 passenger can’t be found for months or even years despite all the technologies available today, even in the simplest personal devices. How would you explain the challenges of tracking and locating an aircraft everywhere, in plain words?



New regulation, new timings

“Extension of the minimum transmission times” is such a general term that we want to highlight the main improvements adopted with this regulation.




Minimum Cockpit voice recorder recording duration must be 25 hours for aircraft with Maximum Certificated take-off mass (MCTOM) of more than 27000Kg

news events

Latest News

9 September 2016: Passenger information on Samsung Galaxy Note 7

8 September 2016: The Declared Training Organisation – EASA proposes European-wide simplified pilot training standards for leisure flying

1 September 2016: Easy Access Rules for FCL are available!

25 August 2016: A single set of rules governing non-commercial air operations in all of Europe

25 August 2016: EASA paves the way for a new approach to performance-based navigation

15 August 2016: EASA strengthens medical requirements for pilots

26 July 2016: Minimum Cockpit Occupancy: EASA issues revised Safety Information Bulletin

12 July 2016: First Flight of a Purely Electric Aerobatic Aircraft

More News on EASA can be found here.

EASA Headquarters relocation: since 1st June EASA has a new address (Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer-3) closer to the Central station and the Cathedral, at the heart of Cologne!


Upcoming Events

22 September 2016: Safety Promotion Network

5-6 October 2016: General Aviation Workshop

10-11 October 2016: New aircrew regulation Workshop

12 October 2016: FCL Standardisation Workshop

12 October 2016: MEDICAL Standardisation Workshop

25-26 October 2016: the European Aviation Safety Agency’s Annual Conference 2016: ”New Technologies & New Business models: Meeting the expectations of a changing aviation industry“ will take place on 25 & 26 October 2016 in Bratislava, Slovakia, coinciding with the country’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. For detailed information on this conference, click here.

8 November 2016: Cybersecurity worshop (more information will follow)

23-24 November 2016: Certification Workshop

23-24 November 2016: Drones workshop (more information will follow)

29 November 2016: Maintenance & Production Conference 2016

6-7 December 2016: 10th Rotorcraft Symposium

Details for these and other upcoming EASA events are available here

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