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English Release 22-November 2014
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Ministry of Civil Aviation07-May, 2014 14:12 IST
DGCA Issues Guidelines to Operators for Real Time Tracking of Aircrafts

In view of the difficulties faced in search and rescue operations after an aircraft goes missing or meets with an accident, the DGCA has issued guidelines to all operators, in the form of Air Safety Circular, for real time tracking of aircrafts e

        In view of the difficulties faced in search and rescue operations after an aircraft goes missing or meets with an accident, the DGCA has issued guidelines to all operators, in the form of Air Safety Circular, for real time tracking of aircrafts engaged in carrying  passengers and cargo from departure to arrival .  This is significant in view of the preliminary report released by Ministry of Transport, Malaysia into the accident of B777-200 aircraft 9M-MRO operating flight MH-370 on 8th March 2014, which has revealed that the location of wreckage is still unknown due to the fact that there is no real time tracking of the aircraft.  It is now known that after Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) had stopped transmitting, the satellite communication system automatically transmitted seven messages that confirmed that the system was still logged onto the network.

 

       The air transport operators have now been asked vide Air Safety Circular 04 of 2014 dated 5th May 2014, to use onboard Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) /Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) for this purpose and they have to ensure their serviceability before every departure.  Operators have also been advised to devise a procedure for effective tracking of the aircraft while flying over areas where there is no coverage of ACARS/ADS-B.

     

       During the last five years, there have been two occasions when large commercial transport aircrafts went missing and their last position was not accurately known.  While commercial air transport aircrafts spend considerable amount of time operating over remote areas, there is currently no international requirement for real time tracking of the aircraft.  This uncertainty resulted in significant difficulty in locating the aircraft in a timely manner in both the cases. Such incidences as well as the recent Malaysian tragedy have prompted the DGCA to take necessary action.

 

A copy of the Air Safety Circular is given below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA

OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF CIVIL AVIATION

TECHNICAL CENTRE, OPP.  SAFDARJUNG AIRPORT, NEW DELHI

 

AIR SAFETY CIRCULAR 04 OF 2014

 

File No. AV15019/04/2014-AS                                                                       Dated: 5th May 2014

 

Subject: ACARS and its continuous operation during flight

 

1.                  INTRODUCTION

 

1.1              Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) a digital datalink system, is increasingly being used for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via airband radio (HF and VHF) or satellite and also for flight tracking. Major functions of ACARS are as follows:

 

a)                  It automatically detects and report changes to the flight phases (out of the gate, off the ground, on the ground and into the gate).

 

b)                   Interfaces with Flight Management System (FMS) for communication of flight plans and weather information from the ground station, which enables the airlines to update the FMS during flight and allows the flight crew to examine new weather conditions or alternative flight plans.

 

c)                  Transmits information from the aircraft to ground stations about the conditions of various aircraft systems and sensors on real-time basis including maintenance faults and abnormal events for health monitoring of equipment and better planning of repairs and maintenance related tasks.

 

1.2              Automated ping messages are used to test aircraft connection with the communication station. A ping response indicates healthy ACARS communication. In the event of aircraft ACARS unit being silent for a longer than a preset time interval, the ground station can ping the aircraft (directly or via satellite).

 

1.3              ACRAS data is, therefore, of great significance in locating the last position of the aircraft and launch search and rescue after it has met with an accident. In a recent accident, which has drawn the attention of all concerned across the globe, the preliminary report has revealed that after ACARS stopped transmitting, the satellite communication system automatically transmitted seven messages that confirmed that the system was still logged onto the network. With the primary radar data, analysis of satellite data and aircraft performance data, the investigators have been able to establish the probable search areas of ill-fated aircraft.

 

1.4              While IATA has created a Taskforce that will make recommendations by the end of year 2014 as to how commercial aircraft can be tracked continuously, we need to implement measures in the interim period with an objective of increasing the capability of all agencies involved with airline operations to effectively track their aircraft.

 

2.                  OBJECTIVE

 

Objective of this Circular is to clearly state the policy and procedures of ‘Flight Following’ on real time basis by all Indian scheduled/non-scheduled operators with immediate effect.

3. INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLIANCE

 

3.1       In view of difficulties faced in the search and rescue, after an aircraft goes missing or meets with an accident, all operators operating commercial flights are required to ensure the following:

 

a)                  Operators should use all suitable means to track all its aircraft engaged in the carriage of passengers/cargo from departure (Chocks-off) to arrival (Chockson) so as to ensure real time tracking.

 

b)         Aircraft wherein the ACARS system is not available/disabled, operator must ensure real time flight tracking using Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B).

 

b)                  Operators must ensure that ACARS/ADS-B are fully functional before every departure.

 

c)                  Strict instructions should be given to the flight crew not to switch it off during the flight.

 

e)         Areas where there is no coverage of ACARS/ADS-B, operator should devise a procedure for effective tracking of the aircraft. While flying over such areas, the flight crew should report the aircraft coordinates, speed and altitude at an interval of not exceeding 15 minutes.

 

f)          Flight crew should immediately report to the ground station any intermittent behavior / unserviceability of ACARS/ADS-B during flight either using data link or voice message.

 

g)         Operators should monitor both fault and warning messages of ACARS. They should opt for this facility from their service providers.

 

2.2       All operators are required to develop procedures for compliance of Para 2.1 of this Circular and submit in writing to DGCA.

 

2.2.1    The procedures must be specific and cover each aircraft on the AOP.

 

2.2.2    The procedures must be conducted under the supervision of a Post Holder who shall be accountable for proper implementation.

 

2.2.3    The procedures must contain specific instructions and actions in the event when an aircraft is declared ‘overdue’, ‘missing’ or ‘unreported’.

 

2.3       DGCA will review the implementation of this circular in its surveillance inspections.

 

2.4       The above instructions are for strict compliance by all scheduled/non-scheduled operators.

 

(Dr. Prabhat Kumar)

Director General of Civil Aviation

To

All Scheduled/Non-Scheduled Operators

 

UM/SA/IK

 

 

 


(Release ID :105006)

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