What is ADS-B
ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) is foundational NextGen technology designed to transform aircraft surveillance by using satellite-based positioning. As the demand for US airspace grows, NextGen technologies are endeavoring to make air travel safer and more efficient, while at the same time lessening environmental impact. ADS-B ground infrastructure is currently complete and operational, enabling air traffic controllers across the country to use either ADS-B or ground-based radar to monitor aircraft.
Despite the significant benefits of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast avionics for general aviation, many operators have not yet equipped their aircraft which has been made mandatory by the FAA from January 1, 2020, for aircraft that fly in the specified controlled airspace.
Benefits for General Aviation
- Aircraft with ADS-B Out will enjoy optimal routing and enhanced spacing in certain environments that are non-radar, including the mountainous regions of Colorado, the lower altitudes of Alaska, and the busy Gulf of Mexico airspace.
- General aviation pilots are provided with air traffic control services that are outside radar coverage.
- ADS-B technology improves life-saving ‘search-and-rescue’ operations with timely and accurate last-reported positions.
- 'ADS-B In' avionics and cockpit displays, although not mandated, offer pilots transformative services at no cost that include:
• Graphic weather displays to help avoid the danger of hazardous weather conditions and make more informed decisions regarding the most efficient routes.
• Displays of nearby air traffic providing shared situational awareness among pilots and air traffic controllers.
• Provides important aeronautical info such as closed runways or temporary flight restrictions from Notices to Airmen.
ADS-B Equipment Required for Certain Controlled Airspace
ADS-B Out equipment to broadcast GPS-derived aircraft location information is mandated beginning January 1, 2020, for all aircraft flying in specific controlled airspace where transponders are generally required. In order to meet the minimum requirement for ADS-B installation, aircraft have to be equipped with the following:
- Approved GPS Receiver
- ADS-B Out System (universal access transceiver or extended squitter)
- Antennas for the ADS-B system and the GPS receiver.
When Should Aircraft Owners Equip with ADS-B?
The FAA estimates that the number of general aviation aircraft that need to be equipped with ADS-B Out by the mandated date is between 100,000 and 160,000. Unless current equipage rates increase dramatically, installation facilities will become overrun in the final rush for compliance. If too many owners procrastinate, a bottleneck will result where suppliers and installers will be unable to meet the demand. This will probably also result in increased installation prices.
Currently, there are few obstacles for aircraft owners to equip as approximately 1,100 installation stations are ready and certified for ADS-B avionics installation and all standards for operational and certification approvals have already been in place since 2011. Additional guidance has also been published including guidance for field approval and operations specifications.
Private jet owners should have a minimal ‘ADS-B Out’ system installed in order to meet the mandated requirements, or integrate with ‘ADS-B In’ avionics and cockpit displays for additional benefits like weather, air traffic, and flight information. To ensure that their aircraft will be able to fly in controlled airspace after January 1, 2020, aircraft owners should install 'ADS-B Out' as soon as possible as the deadline set by the FAA will not be extended beyond that date.