Spidertracks has unveiled a new Iridium-based flight tracking system for aircraft with devices such as heated windshields that sometimes impede satellite transmissions from inside the cabin.

The Spider 7 is offered with an optional external antenna that can transmit and receive data from outside the aircraft cabin, Spidertracks announces.

The system monitors the position and heading of the aircraft in real-time, reports abnormal changes in altitude and speed and enables two-way messages between pilots and ground operations.

“Our core purpose is to improve the safety and the productivity of aviation businesses and their people. The Spider 7 checks all boxes when it comes to this,” says Dave Blackwell, chief executive of the New Zealand-based firm.

External mounting also means Spidertracks addresses new concerns about allowing pilots the ability to switch off the flight tracking system while airborne.

Speculation about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014 has focused on the shut down of nearly all communications signals from the aircraft shortly after the crew signed off from a Malaysian air traffic controller.

“The ability to mount the Spider 7 somewhere discrete and out of sight has been a request we’ve heard from operators who don’t want anyone to have the ability to switch it off in flight,” Blackwell says.

“The external keypad allows pilots to access the main controls of the Spider for emergency situations while using a much smaller footprint in the cockpit,” he says.

Source: Flight Daily News