Tag Archives: ADS-B

FAA mandates ADS-B out by 2020; GA not happy

The FAA this week released its final rule on ADS-B equipage in the mid-term, mandating ADS-B Out capability by 2020 for every aircraft using airspace where a transponder is currently required. Predictably, GA groups feel that they will be made to shoulder a large financial burden that ultimately will benefit airlines and air travelers rather than private pilots, although some concessions to general aviation were made in the final rule.

Some good resources to understand the consequences and subtleties of this rulemaking:

  • Article in Air Transport World here
  • Full text of rule here (via Federal Register)
  • ATA press release here
  • Analysis of costs/benefits to GA from AVweb here
  • AOPA press release here

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South Florida ADS-B rollout feted

The Miami Herald had a reasonably accurate report about NextGen, hooked to an FAA/ITT-sponsored junket related to  the South Florida ADS-B rollout. Would it be poor form to lament the — entirely typical — lack of outside perspectives against which to measure official claims?

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FAA updates NextGen Implementation Plan; emphasis on avionics

There’s a new plan in town, and it comes from the FAA. The current update to the NextGen Implementation Plan (summary here; full doc available here) outlines the agency’s implementation commitments for the next five years, locks in a set of capabilities that it aims to make operational by 2018, and lays out a roadmap for avionics equipage.

Aviation Week had this by way of summary:

Avionics is a major focus of FAA’s latest 2018 plan. “Ensuring that a significant portion of the aircraft fleet is appropriately equipped to take advantage of NextGen infrastructure improvements is perhaps the most critical issue in achieving success,” the plan says. To achieve this, FAA advocates a “best-equipped, best-served” policy, as well as incentives for operators. The agency believes the changes it proposes could cut delays by 35%-40%, versus the “no-change” scenario.

For aircraft equipage, the plan envisages greater use of existing technology such as RNAV/RNP, electronic flight bags and data communications. However, new capabilities will also be implemented. Many of these are based on satellite navigation, drawing on automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), with both ADS-B In and Out.

The new plan also highlights the ATC infrastructure programs that will be necessary. Many of these are already in various stages of implementation or development, such as the massive en-route automation modernization (ERAM) effort.

The NextGen portion of the FAA’s web site has a fairly detailed layout of the 2018 capability framwork broken down by “flight stage”: Planning, pushback/taxi/takeoff, climb and cruise, descent and approach, and landing/taxi/gate arrival.

We’ll hear more about avionics and the NextGen roadmap at Thursday’s JPDO all-hands meeting — stay tuned.

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US Airways to equip its A330s with ADS-B

from Aviation Week:

US Airways plans to use its long-haul Airbus A330 fleet in a new FAA trial that is expected to bring the benefits of satellite-based navigation links to congested Northeast airspace and transatlantic routes.

The US Airways project – which also includes manufacturer Aviation Communications and Surveillance Systems (ACSS) – is the most ambitious step yet in a wider FAA initiative to fund avionics upgrades in selected airline fleets. These early deployments are geared toward demonstrating the effectiveness of systems vital to the FAA’s NextGen modernization effort, and providing operational data needed by the agency.

In the latest trial, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) will be used in up to 20 Airbus A330s, initially at the US Airways hub at Philadelphia International Airport and then at Charlotte (N.C.) Douglas International. [..]

US Airways will retrofit the nine A330-300s it has in its fleet for ADS-B, and the A330-200s it has on order will be equipped as they arrive. This work is scheduled to begin in May, and US Airways expects to have 20 aircraft participating in the program by 2010. The A330s are considered ideal because they are predominantly used on transatlantic flights and depart from the same airport at around the same time.

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NetJets, FAA sign NextGen agreement

From Aviation Week:

NetJets Aviation Inc. has signed a wide ranging agreement with the FAA that will place the fractional jet operator in the forefront of the transformation of the U.S. air transportation system under the NextGen modernization program.

NetJets officials and FAA managers from a range of the agency’s functional areas will meet later this month to begin working out the details. NetJets plans to run some test programs in various parts of the U.S. by equipping some of the 550 to 600 aircraft it manages for fractional owners in the U.S. with the required avionics. Tests may involve the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, area navigation (RNAV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) and possibly the use of electronic flight bags.

More here…

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EU looking at 2015 for an ADS-B Out mandate: report

A great article from John Sheridan of AIN online on the differing timetables and perspectives around ADS-B out in Europe vs. the U.S.  Some excerpts:

At the Air Traffic Control Association’s annual November Convention in Washington, FAA director of surveillance and broadcast services Vincent Capezutto advised AIN that he expected that the final rule covering the mandated carriage of ADS-B out avionics will be published in April 2010. This is about 12 months later than the FAA had anticipated, but Capezutto believes that the original mandate date of Jan. 1, 2020, will most likely remain unchanged.

[.. It was] surprising to learn at the November Air Traffic Control Association Convention that legislators in the European Community intend to issue an NPRM for ADS-B out with a 2015 mandate. The guiding philosophy appears to be that since most European air traffic is composed of large airliners already equipped with mode-S “squitter” avionics, they will either already have the extended squitter capability required for ADS-B, or they can be modified to comply.
The proposed rule would mandate ADS-B out after 2012 for new airframes, and 2015 for retrofits. The EC’s proposal differs from the FAA’s in one key area: it will be limited to aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds and with cruise speeds of more than 250 knots.

There was also considerable skepticism about the exclusion of slower, lighter airplanes. As one put it, “ADS-B can be effective only if all aircraft are equipped,” while another pointed out that Europe has massive radar coverage and ADS-B out will not significantly improve the continent’s ATC capabilities. Furthermore, it appears that there is no plan to establish a continent-wide network of ADS-B ground stations, and those would be installed entirely at the discretion of individual European member nations.

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Nationwide ADS-B ground rollout formally announced

It was not exactly unexpected, but ADS-B has been deemed officially fit for prime time. Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell announced a nationwide rollout of ground stations yesterday in a speech before the Aero Club in Washington. (Press release here.)

In the short term, the biggest beneficiary of this “in-service decision” will be system integrator ITT, which had the main contract for installation at a series of 11 test sites around the Miami ARTCC. (More details about the business angle in this article from flightglobal.)

In his remarks, Sturgell lamented the state of public perceptions around NextGen, and especially around the FAA’s ability to manage complex projects in a timely fashion:

We’re dealing with claims like “NextGen won’t be here until 2025” or “NextGen’s just a slogan.” I think that talk comes to a halt today.  [..]  In just a little more than a year following the ADS-B contract award, we’re in the position to give it the green light. On budget. On schedule. This decision clears the way for the installation of ground stations, and to transmit broadcasts for operational use across the nation. We’ll start on both coasts and portions of the Midwest. 310 ground stations are scheduled to be operational by 2010.

At the same time, we’re setting up key sites for ADS-B testing for surveillance. We’re going to use the Gulf of Mexico, Philadelphia, Juneau and Louisville. And once the test is completed, we follow closely at additional key sites, like New York.

By 2013, we’ll have 794 ground stations to complete the deployment, covering everywhere that you find radar today. And also in places like the Gulf and the mountains of Alaska, where there is no radar coverage.

I said a moment ago that the critics contend that NextGen is a slogan. This is the order to accept the system — to commission it. Vinny Capezzuto’s group has tested ADS-B ten ways from Sunday, and it works. The top safety expert, Nick Sabatini, says it’s a go. The COO is a former airline pilot, and he’s giving it thumbs up. Consider ADS-B operational on November 24, 2008, at 10:15 a.m.

The four sites that Sturgell referenced (Gulf of Mexico, Philadelpha, Juneau, Louisville) are interesting in that the technology being tested there represents the next frontier for ADS-B. These so-called “critical services” are intended to provided GPS-based aircraft position data to controllers, in order to help achieve correct separation. Theoretically, this will eventually allow the FAA to eliminate secondary radar in some locations.

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