OSHKOSH, Wisconsin—Globalstar subsidiary Spot has logged 5,232 “saves” over the past 10 years with its tracking and messaging service that users activate with a battery-powered handheld unit.                                                                       

Users pay $150 to buy the third-generation Spot handheld device and a yearly charge of $200, which allows for a certain frequency of position tracking updates and three pre-defined texts messages as well as the SOS function. To activate SOS, the user flips a cover and presses a button for 5 sec.

The emergency alert travels upward to the Globalstar geostationary satellite constellation and down to a ground station in Texas operated by GEOS, a search and rescue company that subcontracts to Globalstar. Once receiving the SOS, GEOS sends out the alert to the closest first responders globally.

Spot is one of several types of personal locator beacons that relay GPS information to rescue services.

Two customers at Spot’s booth at EAA AirVenture here use the service for Canadian flights and said they would not fly without it. They relayed a story about a SPOT-equipped friend with a Cessna 207 in Canada. After an engine failure, the pilot triggered his SOS function, landed on a highway and a rescue helicopter landed alongside of him 10 min. later.