system sends preprogrammed text messages
to the mobile phone numbers you’ve designated for tier one alerts.
A pilot should include his or her own cell
phone in the tier one contacts, so if there is a
false alert, he or she can reply with a text
message to cancel further notifications. If no
cancellation is received within 15 minutes,
the system sends out tier two alert text mes-
sages. Designating tier two contacts during
the initial setup requires some thought.
You’ll need to determine what organizations
you’d like notified, and you need to get their
cell phone numbers, since alerts are sent
only as text messages. Once notifications go
out, help should be on the way much faster
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than if you relied upon someone to
occasionally check a website to monitor your progress.
I asked Rachel about “saves” by
Spidertracks. In one incident, a Bell
206 LongRanger helicopter crashed,
but the ELT failed to transmit. A
Spidertracks alert was generated, and
a search and rescue team was able to
reach the site quickly. The pilot survived, but, unfortunately, the
In another save, a crash occurred
in a remote jungle region in Central
America. Spiderwatch was not being
used, so alert messages weren’t sent.
But when the employees of the company realized the aircraft was
overdue, they went to the
Spidertracks website to get location
data, and the pilot was rescued.
Spidertracks can provide other
benefits besides search and rescue.
For the past year, EAA has used an
earlier version of Spidertracks to
monitor and report the position of its
B- 17, Aluminum Overcast, as it gives
rides at AirVenture and tours around
the United States. Sean Elliott, director of aircraft operations, says it’s
used as a simple way to verify aircraft position and to estimate arrival