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More than five million hours of flight data from aircraft around the world has been tracked over recent years thanks to Auckland-based aircraft tracking specialists, spidertracks. The company reached the milestone earlier this week, cementing the company’s position as the largest global provider of portable aircraft tracking. 
“Since developing the first Spider from the back-blocks of the Manawatu in 2007, we have progressed to have over 4,000 Spiders transmitting real-time flight data in 100 countries,” says spidertracks’ CEO Dave Blackwell. 
“Reaching the five-million hour mark is a huge achievement for us. Our average flight duration is around two and a half hours, so this milestone equals roughly two million separate flights in eight years — or almost seven hundred flights a day around the world — all being tracked by spidertracks. 
“Right from the start, we’ve focused on delivering a simple to use, intuitive product that does the job our customers want it to do. 
“Before spidertracks, real-time tracking was expensive, complicated, heavy, and hard to install. Ours however are lightweight, compact, fully portable devices that integrate all the necessary tracking and safety components inside a single compact box. 
“Simplicity and excellence are core values in everything we do, from design and development, through sales and service, and even as far as how we wash the dishes in our office. This all translates into a product and service that are a truly delightful experience for our customers.” 
Blackwell says that reaching this milestone isn't just a win for spidertracks. 
“Our technology, which generates high-value service revenue in New Zealand, is a good example of technology export success. Last year spidertracks contributed 1.5% of New Zealand’s total (wholesale) IT exports. Of the five million hours tracked, more than 80% of those have been generated outside of New Zealand,” he says. 
Blackwell cites the support from New Zealand development agencies, particularly NZTE and Callaghan Innovation as key enablers of their sustained growth. 
“We are fortunate to have these resources available to us. Spidertracks has always embraced the commercial support that NZTE and Callaghan Innovation have offered. This support has enabled us to develop new products and further expand our export markets in a way that would have been difficult without it,” says Blackwell. 
He explains that while spidertracks has come a long way, the real excitement is what lies ahead. 
“We’re maturing as a company and applying lessons learnt from previous issues to be even better at what we do. We’re at a point where we can bring our unique expertise to the aviation industry and improve not just safety, but efficiency as well. 
“New products being introduced this year are also allowing us to target market segments that we previously haven't been able to. 
“The next small thing in aircraft tracking, the Spider S6 allows us to open the door to the fastest-growing area of flight data monitoring: sending data in real-time about what the aircraft is actually doing, not just where it is,” he says. 
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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