Press Release

Iridium Satellite Proposes Real-Time Cockpit Voice and Flight Data Monitoring to Federal Aviation Administration

By SpaceRef Editor
October 2, 2001
Filed under ,

Global Satellite Capability Could Significantly Enhance Flight Safety and Security

Iridium Satellite LLC today
announced that it has submitted a preliminary proposal to the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) and other appropriate government organizations for a
real-time cockpit voice and flight data monitoring capability utilizing its
constellation of 66 low earth orbit satellites.
The service, which would
address national security concerns relating to aircraft safety and control,
could be deployed quickly using commercial off-the-shelf components and the
Iridium system.

“With existing systems, officials on the ground have only limited
visibility into what is happening inside an aircraft in flight,” said Dan
Colussy, Iridium Satellite’s chairman and an aviation industry veteran.
“Using its global footprint and voice and data capabilities, combined with
existing commercially-available equipment, Iridium gives ground personnel
unrestricted access in real time to vital voice and data communications from
the aircraft.”

The current system, which captures information in cockpit voice and flight
data recorders or “black boxes” located on the aircraft, provides insight into
the causes of a crash only after the fact and only if the recorders are found
Since the black boxes provide no information to ground control during
flight, they cannot be used to intervene in the event of an emergency.
Iridium’s proposal, the voice and data signals captured by the cockpit voice
and flight data recorders would also be transmitted via existing FAA-certified
equipment to the Iridium satellite constellation and sent directly to secure
FAA data centers for live monitoring.

The Iridium system, when coupled with other security enhancements
currently under review, could have a profound impact on aircraft safety both
through active use and as a deterrent.
Benefits of a real-time system

* Ability to provide immediate response in the event of a medical,
terrorist or other in-flight emergency.

* Ability to initiate monitoring from the ground, the cockpit,
automatically when flight parameters are breached or continuously as
part of basic flight operations.

* Ability to record continuously for full duration of flight.

* Ability to initiate investigations in real time prior to recovery of
cockpit voice and data recorders.

* Ability to use accumulated data to enhance aircraft safety, operating
performance and efficiency through more timely maintenance and repair.

About Iridium Satellite LLC

Iridium Satellite LLC operates the only global system for voice and data
solutions with complete coverage of the Earth (including oceans, airways and
Polar Regions). Through a constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO)
satellites operated by The Boeing Company, Iridium delivers essential
communications services to and from remote areas where no other form of
communication is available. The service is ideally suited for industrial
applications such as aviation, defense/military, emergency services, maritime,
mining, forestry, oil & gas and heavy construction. Iridium currently provides
service to the U.S. Department of Defense under a multi-year contract.
Iridium works with 16 seasoned service partners to sell and support the
service globally.
For more information, please visit
or call 866-947-4348 (in the U.S.); +1-480-752-5155 (internationally).

SpaceRef staff editor.