PilotAware Provides A Complimentary Nationwide Air Traffic Service to UK Search and Rescue Teams.

October 14, 2021

PilotAware Ltd Provides 24/7 assistance to UK Search and Rescue Teams.  

Over the summer of 2021 a concerted effort was made to increase the number of PilotAware ATOM stations in Devon and Cornwall to provide better coverage for the ATOM GRID network. This was very successful and new stations were installed at Eggesford, Dartmoor Gliding Club, Bodmin, Newquay, North Hill Gliding Club, Bolt Head, Honiton, Tiverton, Callington, Saltash and Lands End. Other sites have been agreed at Paignton and Helston to further improve coverage.

Figure 1
Figure 2

This exercise has significantly improved the coverage of all aircraft types flying at low levels in Devon and Cornwall irrespective of the Electronic Conspicuity transmitted by aircraft. The map figure 2, shows the growing coverage available from the ATOM GRID network in the South West. More sites are needed in North Devon and Exmoor.

Whilst in Devon, we met with members of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Teams to see if we could help with the excellent service that they provide on a voluntary basis for folks in trouble on Dartmoor. It was interesting to hear of their first responder service to attend the scene and then stretcher casualties to the nearest pickup point for the Devon and Cornwall Ambulance or Air Ambulance services.  

As with all first responses, time is of the essence and the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Teams employ a mobile command and control unit to co-ordinate rescue efforts. This includes a mapping service called MRMap which shows the location of most assets used in the rescue operations with the exception of those airborne assets, such as the Devon and Cornwall Air Ambulances or Coastguard helicopters.  We learnt that it would be very useful for them to know where the Helicopters are during the rescue to improve efficiency, but this was not currently available to them.

Step forward PilotAware.

The Air Ambulances stationed at Eaglescott, Newquay and Exeter are all Mode-S equipped and were easily picked up by the ATOM stations and 360Radar nodes along with all the other aircraft transmitting EC technologies such as PilotAware, Flarm, and ADSB. We were then pleased to offer the rescue teams a real time, encrypted interface between the PilotAware servers and the MRMap System. This has now been installed and rolled out nationally for the benefit and improvement of all voluntary search and rescue operations. It feels very good to provide specialised assistance in this way to such a worthy cause!  

Helimed tracked through MRMAP.

Lee Moore from PilotAware said "We are delighted that we have been able to provide data on all local aircraft to the Dartmoor Search and rescue teams to aid and improve their impressive voluntary service in the South West and to all voluntary rescue teams in the UK".

James Grant, Chairman of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, comprising the four Dartmoor Search and Rescue Teams, said "Thanks to the generous offer from PilotAware to provide this information and the excellent technical support given, we have significantly improved the situational awareness of our airborne assets. In recognition of this we are actively seeking other locations for ATOM stations to further improve the ATOM GRID Network for the benefit of aviators and the Search and Rescue community".

For further information on this article or to contribute to the PilotAware ATOM GRID network to improve aviation safety in the UK, contact atom@pilotaware.com

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