Iridium Partnership Provides Satellite Tracking for Iditarod Air Force Pilots

by Sleddoggin Staff on February 26, 2011

Chandler, AZ (PRWEB) March 5, 2007

WCC, Ontec, and ASE have teamed up again to provide real-time satellite data links to track the location of aircraft supporting the 2007 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. After successfully tracking the Iron Dog snow machine race last month the business trio will now provide tracking and communication for the aircraft for Iditarod.

Billed as the “Last Great Race,” the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, covering 1,150 miles of extreme terrain, is scheduled to begin Sunday, March 4, 2007. The pilots that support the race are known as the Iditarod Air Force ( and are lead by chief pilot John Norris. Months prior to the race, the pilots move equipment and supplies in some of the harshest, most demanding conditions where temperatures have dropped to a bone chilling -80 F and conditions change by the minute.

The Iridium-based tracking devices are supplied by World Communication Center (WCC), an Iridium value-added reseller and service provider, in collaboration with Applied Satellite Engineering (ASE) and Ontec Technologies. ASE and Ontec have partnered to develop a Web-based global mobile asset tracking application using the Iridium satellite network.

The main hardware component is the compact ASE SBD Pro, which utilizes Iridium’s short-burst data service. Powered by the aircraft, the unit has convenient front-panel LED status indicators to show power, GPS tracking, and Iridium satellite connections at a glance. “These small portable devices are not permanently installed and can fit in a coat pocket only needing a power source of 10 to 32 Volts DC making them invaluable safety communication devices for our pilots.” says Chief Pilot John Norris.

The SBD Pro’s four communication buttons and notification light allow pilots to send messages and communicate with dispatch. These messages can be sent to a set of predetermined email addresses, pagers or cell phones, all defined by the user and entered via Ontec Web Services ( The Iditarod Air Force has pre-programmed the four buttons for: emergency – need help, weather good continuing on, returning back to base, and short delay no problems.

Officials and other interested parties will view the current locations of aircraft using Ontec’s digital mapping service offered through the Iditarod Air Force’s web page ( As the SBD Pro transmits data at predetermined intervals to Ontec’s central servers, it will provide a near real-time picture of each pilot’s position.

“For the Iditarod Air Force, WCC’s solution leverages Iridium’s ubiquitous coverage across the entire state of Alaska via reliable satellite data connections, providing a vital safety tool for the race organizers and pilots,” said Sam Romey, president of WCC. “It will also provide a peace of mind for family members and support personnel who in the past had to wait for a pilot to show up to know weather conditions and status.”

About WCC

World Communication Center (, a subsidiary of SatCom Group, is a leading provider of global satellite solutions, including telephones, pagers, WiFi networking and broadband Internet satellite devices and services. The company’s broad spectrum of products and service providers include Inmarsat, VSAT, Iridium, BGAN, Nera, HughesNet, Starband, iNetVU, Strix Systems and Tachyon, which allow the instant creation of a mobile office anywhere. With options for rental or for-purchase satellite communication solutions for maritime, aviation, military and ground transportation, WCC serves government agencies, corporate entities and business or leisure travelers. Customers include the State of Alaska, NASA, the Peace Corps and Boeing.

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