What does ADS B out Mean to Aircraft Operators?

The transition to Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast [ADS-B] from radar surveillance ensures better tracking of flights, both in flight and on the ground. Implementation of ADS-B will not only modernize the ATC surveillance system but will ensure that ATC can support larger volumes of airplanes. There are two types of ADS-B in an aircraft: ADS-B in and ADS-B out. Both are important, but as per the mandate by FAA all the aircrafts must be endowed by Automatic Dependent Surveillance out by January 1, 2020.

What is ADS-B out and why it is important for aircraft operators? 

The broadcast system of ADS-B is known as ‘automatic dependent surveillance out. When an aircraft is equipped with this broadcast system, it can transmit all the important data of an aircraft like altitude, airspeed and position to ADS-B ground stations. In order to have the broadcast system, you will need a transmitter which is approved by ADS-B.  

Among the ADS B out transponders, you can either have 978 MHz UAT [Universal Access Transceiver] or 1090 MHz Mode S enabled transponders. For smooth functioning of transponders, your aircraft must have pre-installed Mode S or Mode C transponder with a WAAS-enabled GPS system.  

There is one limitation in using 978 MHz; you will not be able to receive traffic information transmitted on 1090 MHz. The ground stations will translate the information and re-broadcast the information on two frequencies. When you are within ground station range, you need not bother about the frequencies. If you are out of the coverage area, a high-end transmission system working on 1090 MHz is recommended.  

Advantages of ADS B out Solutions 

ADS B out solutions offer several benefits for ATC surveillance.  

  • With an ADS-B out enabled system, an aircraft can automatically communicate the position of the aircraft to the air traffic controllers through ground stations and a satellite system. Within a specific air space, this allows the traffic controllers real-time, precise view of the location, airspeed and altitude of the aircraft. 
  • In air spaces which are completely devoid of radar surveillance, ATC can use the broadcast system to provide 3- and 5-nmi route separation services. Air traffic control will be more efficient reducing both fuel consumption and congestion.  
  • The transmission of automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out is more accurate than the surveillance conducted by conventional radar. Air traffic controllers are now more equipped to decrease the separation distances between ADS-B enabled aircrafts. 
  • With an ADS broadcast system, one can have a clear picture of all the vehicles and airplanes on the ground. As part of airport surface surveillance, this is particularly helpful for ground control of aircrafts. 
  • With an ADS-B enabled interface, one can view the graphical representation of both air traffic and weather displays via TIS-B and FIS-B. FIS-B or Flight Information System Broadcast works with ADS B and offers airspace and weather restriction information to the aircraft operator. The data will stream from the ground stations to the cockpits. 
  • TIS-B or Traffic Information Service Broadcast can operate with both 978 MHz UAT and 1090 MHz Mode S transponders. Once automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out system is installed in your aircraft, you need not pay an additional cost or any subscription fee for either FIS-B or TIS-b as per FAA’s NextGen system.  
  • If you are looking for a service provider for low-cost ADS B out, it is time to do some research. According to an estimate, aircraft owners may need to spend $ 5,000 to install the ads b out solution in their aircrafts, but the cost may vary.  

How can ADS in and out help air traffic surveillance? 

If automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out handles the broadcasting part, ADS-B in is the receiver system. The ADS-B in system cannot function without a pre-equipped automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out system which has an ADS-B receiver with ‘in’ capacity. With the ‘in’ system, your aircraft will not only receive but interpret data from other ADS-B out equipped aircrafts. The data will be displayed either on an Electronic Flight Bag in the cockpit or on the computer screen. 

The traffic receiver of ADS B in helps in translating local airspace information and offers ‘real-time traffic image’ making the aircraft operator aware of the current situation. Often in remote areas, in absence of ground stations, an aircraft which is equipped with both ADS-B out and ADS-B in will have the information from other ADS-B enabled aircrafts.  

It is a remarkable feat as the aircraft can operate without the help of air traffic services. They can move separately without depending on ground-based infrastructure. As the visibility of aircraft enhances, it not only increases flight safety, but also ensures avoidance of collision. 

Why is the FAA mandate important for aircrafts? 

The US initiative to transform the current surveillance and include the ads b enabled operating system rises from the urge to create an energy-efficient and cost-effective process. Without these changes in air traffic the US economy will incur an additional expense of almost $ 22 billion. This entire initiative of the US government is known as NextGen. This process will create a positive environmental impact by reducing fuel consumption with decreased emission.

In a bid to modernize the prevalent systems in the US national space and decommission the SSRs or Secondary Surveillance Radars, the inclusion of ADS B-effective system is the call of the day. SSR is also not quite effective in remote areas. With an ADS B equipped system, the aircrafts will have a much faster update which allows a faster and better communication system.  

Why can’t you not afford to have the system in your aircraft? 

After the ADS-B mandate becomes effective, aircraft operators without automatic dependent surveillance out system will have to obtain permission/authorization to fly in their designated air space. They need to get the permission at least an hour prior to the flight. If you do not have the authorization, this will be considered as a violation of rule.  

The process of ADS-B out authorization and ADS-B by ATC to fly in the designated airspace are different. Even when you have air clearance from ATC, you will still need an automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out system. 

Presently, the adjustment is all about equipping your aircrafts with automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out system. Pilots see great potential in this system as it allows better ‘situational awareness’.  The real-time precise information enables improvements in efficiency and safety.  

An afterword 

An overwhelming question right now is when and what product to buy and upgrade your system. In case the transponder is broken, it is best to replace it with a fully equipped automatic dependent surveillance broadcast out system. It is a better alternative than spending the money on an outdated Mode-C transponder.  

There will be many products in the market loaded with features. You need to shop in time and from the right service provider. It will be wise to install the system by 2020, so that you conform to the existing regulations.  

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