A look at an international HAI member up close and personal.

The idea for Spidertracks took root in 2005, when a high-profile New Zealand resident crashed his helicopter near the country’s remote west coast. The following two-week search-and-rescue effort came at a huge financial and emotional toll for his loved ones. The resulting national media coverage caught the attention of a few creative and curious minds who would eventually envision a better, more-affordable way to track and locate aircraft. Thus was Spidertracks born.

Based in Auckland, New Zealand, the company today is a leading provider of aircraft fleet tracking, communication, and safety management solutions for thousands of aircraft across the world. At their core, Spidertracks’s solutions are designed to enable operators to see precisely where every one of their aircraft is in real time and to be immediately alerted in a worst-case scenario.

Using the Iridium satellite network, Spidertracks covers every inch of the globe, sending 12 position reports per minute to the cloud, regardless of local infrastructure, ADS-B coverage, or cellular reception. These reports are graphically displayed on an easy-to-use map interface, with each position point listing latitude, longitude, time, altitude, speed, and direction. The interface is accessible via computer, tablet, or cell phone—anywhere with Internet connectivity.

An SOS alert with precise location information is automatically sent to specified contacts if the device stops transmitting for any reason after 15 minutes. An SOS button on the device also allows the pilot to immediately send an SOS manually.

As Spidertracks grew, it added more features to meet customer needs, including a virtual flight data recorder (FDR), text communications between the base and pilot, live weather overlays, 3-D flight relay, flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) insights, and flight events monitoring.

Spidertracks’s latest innovation is Insights, a product that wirelessly gathers actionable data and information from the aircraft and presents it in a simple dashboard, enabling aircraft owners and operators to access flight data monitoring (FDM) capabilities. Up until now, the barriers to entry for FDM had been significant, with costly and cumbersome hardware, complex installations, and SD cards full of indecipherable data left on the aircraft.

With Insights, Spidertracks aimed to provide a simple solution to help the general aviation industry embrace FDM. The product gathers information about how the aircraft is being flown, helping owners and operators make proactive safety decisions as well as identify potential issues before an incident occurs.

Spidertracks is popular with tour operators, flight schools, charter operators, and firefighting operations, among many others. Users begin by purchasing the company’s Spider hardware and then selecting one of three subscription service plans, which are similar to a monthly cell phone plan: pay as you fly, 600 pooled hours per year, or unlimited hours.

Author

  • Jen Boyer is a 20-year journalism and public relations professional in the aviation industry, having worked for flight schools, OEMs, and operators. She holds a rotorcraft commercial instrument license with CFI and CFII ratings. Jen now runs her own public relations and communications firm.

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer

Jen Boyer is a 20-year journalism and public relations professional in the aviation industry, having worked for flight schools, OEMs, and operators. She holds a rotorcraft commercial instrument license with CFI and CFII ratings. Jen now runs her own public relations and communications firm.

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