STC To Improve Search and Rescue Capabilities of Airbus A320

Orolia expands market for satellite-based distress beacon that meets latest industry standards.

A GADSS-compliant distress beacon will soon be available for the Airbus A320 family.Airbus

Orolia is growing the market for its Kannad ELT-DT unit, which the company launched last summer to improve search and rescue capabilities for commercial and business aircraft. The Kannad ELT-DT complies with ICAO’s Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) recommendations. Air France Industries and KLM Engineering and Maintenance have signed up to develop supplemental type certificates for the system. The first is expected to be complete next year and will be a retrofit for the Airbus A320 family.

“We’re very pleased to be the first on the market able to integrate a GADSS-compliant autonomous distress tracker as we continue to enhance the safety and confidence of the people who travel with the world’s airlines,” said Sami Smaoui, vice president of aircraft modification at Air France Industries. “This STC will be extremely important in bringing this critical technology to a huge portion of the world’s commercial fleet in that the A320 family is one of the most popular models in operation.”

The Kannad ELT-DT uses proven satellite-based distress beacon technology, providing detailed aircraft position information autonomously when a distress situation is detected in flight. GADSS capability will be recommended for aircraft with a takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds and required for newly built aircraft weighing in at more than 59,500 pounds beginning on November 8, 2018.

Orolia developed the system as part of the European Commission’s H2020 Helios program, which provides funding to companies in an effort to improve search and rescue capabilities. Helios sprouted as a result of several accidents in which the location of the distressed airplane remained unknown for an extended period of time, including an Air France accident in 2009, in which the flight recorders were not located for two years, as well as the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished on March 8, 2014, the wreckage of which has yet to be located.