I think you have mentioned previously that you are thinking about MLAT but it seems to me that MLAT is a concept and what you actually need is a feed from a provider. So have you attempted to include a feed from FlightRadar24?
FR24 is a commercial company. FR24 data is very expensive. To integrate FR24, there could no longer be a free version of SafeSKy and the price per user would not be payable at all.
This is why we work with other partners with whom we exchange freely, which is more in the spirit of our community and in line with the versions and prices demanded by SafeSky.
Today, the aggregation work we have carried out means that we have more general aviation traffic than is visible on FR24.
Note that more traffic does not mean that SafeSky can display ALL the traffic visible on FR24, but certainly also in the other direction. All the traffic visible on SafeSky is certainly NOT entirely visible on FR24.
We are also working on multilateration, a technique that allows a MODE S to be positioned from several antennas on the ground. FR24 works in exactly the same way.
We have over 20,000 scheduled aircraft. And that rises to over 30,000/35,000 with those that fly much less.
The calculation is quickly done and totally unaffordable for us.
Even with a pro licence to use the data, FR24 is inaccessible to a company with a free version that is used by the vast majority.
We advocate security for all. Having a Premium version that would offer FR24 in addition to the current traffic is not in our line of conduct. What’s more, thanks to our compatibility and interoperability policy, we now have a large amount of traffic that is totally invisible to FR24 and much more interesting for general aviation.
OK Christophe, what you seem to be saying is you have an ideology that Safesky should be, in essence, free to everyone. The idea that your customers could pay extra for a better quality service is “not in our line of conduct”.
If you said “Our customers wouldn’t pay for it so there is no business case to do it” then I could see your point. Certainly for me, it seems bizarre that you might make your service noticeably safer but are rejecting that perhaps without exploring the marketing proposition fully.
I looked at FR24 for my local area and the number of targets that were shown as ‘MLAT’ was not insignificant.
You give the impression that you see the benefits of MLAT, to pick up transponder-only aircraft, but are looking at alternative ways of getting the data. However I can’t imagine how you are going to get MLAT any cheaper that piggybacking off somebody like FR24.
I would therefore urge you to sound out your customer base to see to what extent they might pay for quality. Remember this whole thing only works if a user believes the service will pick up enough threats to be more than a toy.
Again, from a personal point of view, the idea that your service must be mainly free seems dangerous and illogical given the context of life-and-death safety and the considerable expense that GA pilots see as part-and-parcel of their hobby.
I posted a question on the UK Flyer Forum and the response was generally sceptical or negative. I think only one person was enthusiastic. Only a few people had tried Safesky and they mainly were not impressed.
Personally I think your idea is great but perhaps you need to push harder, and that might include not rejecting possibilities because they conflict with you line of conduct.
Safesky being free is really what makes it appealing and that why it has a good chance of growing its userbase. Then the question really becomes “why wouldn’t you use it”. It costs nothing and adds safety. You slap a price tag on it and uptake will be slow, especially when you take into account that it works off from cell towers and can’t be relied on high altitudes.
Personally I think this is the right way to go, growing the userbase and providing as much air traffic info as possible while keeping it financially viable.