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As a private pilot I’m quite familiar with the navigational and communications systems of modern planes. Just flying around a controlled airport requires an arsenal of procedures with the ground control, tower and area radar, in addition to utilizing GPS, VOR and Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR).

Commercial planes have long had mandatory recording devices, also known as Black Boxes, which record all cockpit sounds and radio communication. These have been relatively useful in determining crash causes, but in many cases they’ve been completely lost or damaged. In worst cases, planes have disappeared so thoroughly that only small parts have been found.

In the wake of recent plane disappearances, the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) has suggested that planes would continuously feed telemetry data through orbital satellites, or through ground stations. This is an excellent step towards safer air travel.

In my view, this tracking should be extended to the spime level, meaning that all vital components of the plane would feed data into their corresponding spime elements in the ground data centers. Not only would this make problems evident before they cause loss of life, but the aircraft industry would get a far better feedback loop in order to make their components better and better. The current model, where only the most expensive things like the jet engines are monitored, is just not enough.

With a full spime model, the aircraft could also be fully controlled and landed by ground-based AI, or human pilots, in case there’s a cabin pressure problem rendering the on-board pilots unconscious.

What comes to the telecom infrastructure and capacity, that has been available for the last 15 years; I’m writing this blog on a Norwegian flight with full connectivity to BaseN. So in addition to giving me email access, let’s make air travel safer.


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