The FAA estimates that up to 160,000 aircraft will need to equip by 2020 and as the ADS-B Out mandate is fast approaching I wanted to answer some of the most popular questions I've been asked so you can keep your aircraft in the air.
What is ADS-B?
ADS-B stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast and allows Air Traffic Control (ATC) centers to track and manage aircraft with GPS technology.
Up until now ATCs have relied on radar technology to transmit data about who and where an aircraft is. This data would be sent from a transponder on the aircraft down to the ground control to identity who it is and how high it is. Pilots and ground control agents have to calculate what direction that signal has come from and the angle it’s been sent to confirm the distance, this data is accurate to 3 miles and is sent every 5 - 10 seconds.
ADS-B technology allows Air Traffic Controllers and other participating aircraft to receive extremely accurate information about an aircraft location and flight path. This accuracy is delivered by a few hundred feet which means less uncertainties and overall safer operations.
Photo credit: Rockwell Collins
What’s the difference between ADS-B in and ADS-B out?
ADS-B Out broadcasts aircraft data, such as altitude, airspeed and locations out to ground stations.
ADS-B In receives the information that the ADS-B Out technology broadcasts on a display screen including traffic, weather, and aeronautical information services that are available subscription free to any device with ADS-B In technology installed.
What is the new mandate and when does it come into action?
The FAA published a new regulation in May 2010 which focuses on the NextGen of avionics to improve worldwide airspace capacity, safety and efficiency.
The federal regulation states that the use of ADS-B out technology will be mandated in aircraft by 2020 for US and 2019 for Europe and 2020 for Australia.
This basically means that anyone who fly’s in controlled airspace needs to comply with the new mandate by 2020 if they want to continue to fly.
Are there any benefits to this mandate?
Yes. Due to air traffic becoming increasingly congested all around the world the ADS-B technology will allow for reduced separation standards between aircraft, more direct flight routes and cost savings for operators.
Pilots will no longer have to imagine the location of surrounding aircraft from information that is given to them by ATC, they will be able to see it along with weather maps and live tracking like never before.
Photo credit: Rockwell Collins
What do I need to comply?
You need to make sure that you’ve installed FAA approved ADS-B equipment in your aircraft. The equipment usually consists of a Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) and a Mode S transponder. The exact model depends on how high you fly.
If you fly above 5,500 m (18,000 feet) you must be equipped with a Mode S transponder-based ADS-B transmitter and if the aircraft operates below 5,500 m (18,000 feet) you must be equipped with either a Mode S transponder with Extended Squitter (ES) or Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) equipment.
If your aircraft Maximum Take-off Mass (MTOM) is over 5700 kg or has a Maximum True airspeed of over 250 knots you will also need to upgrade.
More information about the mandate can be viewed here under §91.227.
Will I need to replace all of my hardware to be compliant?
It depends on your aircraft and the hardware you currently have installed. In some cases a simple upgrade may be sufficient but in others an entire refit will be necessary. This is why I want to stress the importance of getting your aircraft booked in for this as soon as possible. We don't want to see any aircraft abandoned in the hangar!
Why should I upgrade now?
It’s important that aircraft owners and operators are aware of these changes and their options. They need to book the projects with service centers as soon as possible because after January 1st 2020 all aircraft will be required to have at least ADS-Out capabilities if they want to continue to fly.
*ADS-B In will continue to be optional, but we assume not for long.
As an authorized dealer for Rockwell Collins, Garmin and Honeywell, Air Service Basel can provide you with some great ADS-B solutions. We also provide solutions from other manufacturers, just get in touch.
You can find out more information here or I'd be happy to speak with you in person about your options.
Just contact me by email: email@example.com or give me a call: +41615673700