The prolonged search for the Boeing 777-200 operated as Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 brought attention to onboard data transmission systems that report an aircraft’s position and other information in real time. Such a system could help track an aircraft that disappears from radar coverage.
Secondary surveillance radar
The company the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chose in August 2007 to install the ground infrastructure needed to track aircraft by automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) plans to complete that network in the continental U.S. this month. McLean, Va.-based Exelis, which was called ITT when the FAA awarded it the ADS-B contract, said 658 of the 660 planned ADS-B ground radio stations will enter service this year, including all 601 the company is installing in the lower 48 states.
Pilots all over the world are probably sick of hearing that “ADS-B is coming,” but the fact is that some countries already require ADS-B capability, and other countries’ deadlines are rapidly approaching. ADS-B equipage needs to remain prominent in pilots’ consciousness because avionics shops need time to certify ADS-B out installations and time to complete the installations. A rough estimate by Cessna’s product support organization, just for the U.S.
One of the air traffic management systems least well known to pilots is multilateration, sometimes called MLat, or multilat, or WAM (for wide-area multilateration).
While the FAA mandate to install ADS-B out equipment for aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by Jan. 1, 2020 is more than six years away, aircraft operating in some countries’ airspace must be compliant starting this December. Avionics manufacturers are ready with equipment to meet the mandates and avionics shops and aircraft manufacturers are working on supplemental type certificates (STCs) to smooth the path for upgrades in many business jet types.
FreeFlight Systems has interfaced its Model 1201 Waas/GPS sensor with the Garmin GTX 330 mode-S transponder to provide an additional 1090-MHz extended-squitter ADS-B Out upgrade solution for GTX 330 owners. The upgrade solution gives aircraft owners more ADS-B Out equipage choices, depending on their aircraft type, existing avionics and flying requirements. It also ensures compliance with the FAA’s Jan.
Aspen Avionics is now offering ADS-B solutions for owners of its Evolution PFD and MFD products. There are two ADS-B product lines, one for delivery of ADS-B data from portable receivers to Aspen’s Connected Panel system and another for certified ADS-B solutions that meet the Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B out mandate.
“Midair collisions statistics are revealing,” said Avidyne COO Patrick Herguth during the company’s press conference at Sun ’n Fun 2013 (Booth C-71). “Fifty-nine percent of midairs happen near the airport; and 54 percent are between aircraft flying in the same direction.” Herguth was citing a 10-year-long study published by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
Garmin’s GDL 39 portable ADS-B receiver offers a simple solution for pilots who want to receive free weather and traffic information without a lot of complication. The GDL 39 sells for $799 and receives both types of ADS-B signal that are a unique feature of the U.S. ADS-B landscape. Not all portable ADS-B receivers are dual-band; some receive only the frequency that provides free weather information and certain traffic targets.
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