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Maritime AIS & a/c tracking question.

Old 6th Jul 2014, 13:38
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Question Maritime AIS & a/c tracking question.

Hi,

I have a question re aircraft tracking and my query is not related to the recent MH370 incident.

Apologies if this is the wrong place - I am new here.

I am not a pilot, although I am currently taking training hence the query.

I am a boat skipper and hold a Commercial Certification, and Instructor ratings.

Perhaps one day I might gain a CPL and FI rating, but I'm in no rush and just want to enjoy real flying.

On ships and boats we have a technology called AIS Automatic Identification System.

It is linked to our GPS and instruments and broadcasts the data in near real-time to other AIS-equipped vessels, and to shorebased stations.

All other vessels within range can receive the data, as well as (CG) Coastguard and VTS (Vessel Traffic Service) for safety and traffic routing.

There are apps and websites that also show the data in near real time for free.

The data includes GPS position, speed, heading, VHF Callsign and MMSI (like a digital telno for boats), as well as other info such as declared destination, Flag State of the vessel etc.

It is a requirement for many Commercial Vessels to have AIS and optional for private vessels, although many do have it.

When on-board, I can see other vessels plotted in real time on my MFD Plotter, with a little data-block next to it with I.D. and speed, and a dotted line showing course/heading extending from the target. The length of the line can indicate its speed and predicted position in 60 seconds (or whatever time period I want).

If the system detects a risk of collision the relevant target(s) will turn red, and a visual and audible collision warning is activated on the display, and the approx. position of the impending collision is marked with a red 'X' on the chartplotter display.

I can then take the appropriate action, or even call the vessel with a few touches of the display to explain our intentions.

Even though speeds are relatively low compared with aviation (my max is 30kts and cruise is 24kts), situations can and do develop very quickly and need quick and accurate resolution in a predictable fashion according to the IRPCS ColRegs so it is an invaluable safety tool (with limitations granted) but is an excellent aid to situational awareness and pilotage planning. Mk.1 eyeball still takes precedence however, with AIS (and radar) a good backup.

My question then, is does such a technology exist in aviation?

After I started flying in my training PA28, I realised that there are differences in tech between maritime and aviation - perhaps because of weight or other considerations BUT, I have to confess that I remain surprised that in such a safety-focussed industry that such technology isn't available - nae - mandatory for all manned aircraft - from micro light to airliner.

The ability to 'see' all other aircraft and their position, horizontal and vertical speed, heading and altitude/height relative to you on an easy to read graphical display must surely be something that has been thought of, and a fantastic safety aid, particularly in crowded skies or during landing/takeoff.

The tech is relatively simple technologically and not vastly expensive.

I am aware, of course, of the function of a/c transponders, but have never seen or heard of anything like AIS in the aviation world.

I have also seen the NATS 'Aware' colour GPS system as a small self contained device that warns about airspace - but not other traffic.

I can only imagine that safety would be greatly enhanced if all aircraft were required to use and maintain such a system.

I am a 'newbie' and realise I'm a bit green in aviation matters, so I wondered if anyone could correct me on the existence or feasibility of such a system?

Regards
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Old 7th Jul 2014, 12:35
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Common Questions | ADS-B Academy | Garmin

Hi

Have a look at the above link containing ADS-B information.

The short answer to your question is yes, the technology is there for such information to be available and displayed in a suitably equipped aircraft.

http://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/1927.pdf

However, the above link on TCAS II is (at present as the ADS-B mandate is not in effect yet, generally 2017) more relevant to present day turbine/jet aircraft. We do not see who the conflicting or proximate traffic is on our MFD's though.

Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Have a look on the app store for Flightradar 24.
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Old 7th Jul 2014, 14:16
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Also, don't forget that the majority of commercial aircraft operate in controlled airspace under strict ATC, which employs various types of radar. I gather that ship captains don't like being controlled whereas airlines pilots concentrate on flying their aircraft and accept navigation from the ground when necessary. At the speeds flown by commercial aircraft it would add huge workload if the pilot had to constantly watch a display of nearby aircraft providing their own separation.

Good luck with the flying.
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Old 7th Jul 2014, 20:03
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Thanks

Thanks both for the reply and answer.


HD - yes I take your point about higher speeds, workloads and traffic separate service. Yes you are correct that marine traffic is generally uncontrolled and is unlike aviation in that respect, and probably with higher margins for error, so the skipper is exclusively responsible for his own navigation save for within a VTS area where a traffic separation service is provided, or similar controlled port where shorebased stations can issue windspeeds & directions for arrival and in limited circumstances issue clearances in tightly defined sea areas or when vessels pass a mandatory reporting point.


And 500' thanks for posting those links - it reads very much like ADS-B does fulfill much the same function as AIS - I was aware of FlightRadar but was unsure on what technology it was based, so thank-you.


Don't think my little put-put training plane will ever get it though!


thanks
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Old 8th Jul 2014, 08:06
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Don't think my little put-put training plane will ever get it though!
Actually, it was trialled initially in Alaska on light aircraft. I believe the Aussies are looking at mandating it for all aircraft in the near future.

http://www.nbaa.org/ops/cns/datalink...ink-notice.pdf

As you can see in the link above, it is now mandatory on certain North Atlantic Tracks also, along with CPDLC (controller pilot data-link communication) which allows comms with ATC or a radio operator.

http://www.pprune.org/pacific-genera...-casa-lie.html
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Old 9th Jul 2014, 01:22
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As a Master Mariner and private pilot, I will point out that AIS is used with caution in commercial shipping due to it's pitfalls and limitations, you could possibly even consider it a tertiary data source. It is not intended for collision avoidance, it primarily exists for state authorities and vessel traffic services to identify shipping movements. Regulations also dictate a specific set of actions in response to a collision situation, whereby VHF/ Radio coordination does not figure into that.
It is important with technology to fully understand the principles behind it to appreciate it's strengths and weaknesses in everyday use. In my type of work offshore where position accuracy is critical (the consequences of failure by a few metres are far reaching, think Deepwater Horizon/ Gulf of Mexico), satellite derived data must only be weighed at 50% with at least 2 alternative accurate forms of redundancy in position keeping.
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Old 12th Jul 2014, 13:01
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L'aviator

L'aviator - Indeed, I agree wholeheartedly, as per my OP:


"situations can and do develop very quickly and need quick and accurate resolution in a predictable fashion according to the IRPCS ColRegs so it is an invaluable safety tool (with limitations granted) but is an excellent aid to situational awareness and pilotage planning. Mk.1 eyeball still takes precedence however, with AIS (and radar) a good backup."
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