Canada’s search and rescue service is now using space-based ADS-B tracking data as part of its response to missing aircraft after a 2019 crash in Quebec that may never have been located without the technology. A Transportation Safety Board report says that after four days of fruitlessly searching an area with a radius of 250 nautical miles, the U.S. Civil Air Patrol supplied the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton with a track from Aerion Alert that ended about 250 metres from where the crashed Bonanza was located the next day. Aerion Alert is a free service offered by Aerion to search and rescue authorities to provide tracking data for any ADS-B-equipped aircraft that goes missing.
“JRCC Trenton was not aware of the Aireon ALERT service. Therefore, it did not know that NAV CANADA had access to ADS-B data or Aireon ALERT data,” said the report.” JRCC Trenton was also not aware that this data could be requested from NAV CANADA or obtained by subscribing directly to the Aireon ALERT service.” All three JRCCs now have Aerion Alert accounts. The accident in question involved a U.S.-registered Bonanza that was trying to get to Danbury, Connecticut from Oshkosh, Wisconsin on a VFR flight plan. The pilot was trying to get through a wide band of bad weather and kept tracking northeast in that effort. The TSB said an apparent acute case of “get-there-itis” ended with an inadvertent flight into IMC and a fatal spiral dive.