4 Key Operator Benefits offered by FANS (Future Air Navigation System)

As air traffic continues to increase around the globe, the air traffic management system being used currently is experiencing increasing difficulty. As per predictions, air traffic is likely to increase annually at a rate of 5%. In such a scenario, we need a new system for air traffic management that has greater capacity. One viable solution is FANS (Future Air Navigation System). FANS provides an innovative space-based method to handle increased air traffic, which lets operators obtain maximum revenue out of their operations and ensure safe conditions for passengers.  

The FANS system has become an attractive option to cope with current levels of traffic more efficiently and with the heightened levels of traffic anticipated in the future.  

The current system of air traffic management is based on voice communications, radar, and navigational aids, and eventually will be unable to handle the estimated air traffic growth. To address the challenge, Boeing had been trying to create FANS since 1983. This innovative flight navigation system works based on space-based communication and navigation.  

What Benefits do Operators get with FANS (Future Air Navigation System)? 

The benefits obtained by operators with FANS include increased payload capacity for takeoff-weight-limited flights and reduced flight time and fuel burn through direct routing. FANS implementation would let operators take advantage of various necessary improvements, which are as follows: 

1.Decreased Separation between Airplanes 

In cases where FANS flight navigation equipment is not implemented, navigation errors and potential errors in the voice communication between air traffic controller and flight crew are considered when the required airspace separation is determined between airplanes. Due to the uncertainties associated with conventional voice position reporting as well as the delay involved in high-frequency relayed voice communication (20-45 minutes for making high-frequency voice position report), the air traffic controller is required to allow a huge airspace amount between airplanes, which is typically 120 nmi longitudinally and 100 nmi laterally. This results in an airspace of 48,000 mi2 for protecting one airplane and implies that airplanes operate often at less-than-optimal speeds and altitudes.  

However, through satellite data link, FANS equipped airplanes are capable of transmitting automatic dependent surveillance reports at least in every 5 minutes with actual intent and position information. The position information is based on highly accurate GPS (Global Positioning System). Digital data communication between air traffic controller and flight crew reduces the error possibility substantially and allows significantly reduced airplane separations. All the improvements in surveillance, navigation, and communication lets authorities decrease the necessary separation distances within airplanes. This, in turn, facilitates the flying of airplanes at the optimum altitude as well as burn less fuel.   

2.Satellite Communication 

With satellite communication, the response time can be reduced to a few minutes for an aircraft that requests to climb up to reach a new, optimum altitude for reducing fuel burn. Currently, the response time is 20-60 minutes.  

3.More Efficient Changes of Route 

Currently, oceanic operations are based upon weather data which are about 12-18 hours old. However, by utilizing the satellite data link which is a part of FANS (Future Air Navigation System), an airplane can be provided with latest weather data while it’s en route. These data can then be used by flight crews to create optimized flight plans. Alternatively, these plans can be developed on the ground and then transmitted to an airplane. Such a dynamic re-routing might enable airlines to consider lowering discretionary fuel that further lowers fuel burn or leads to an increase in the payload.  

4.No Altitude Loss While Crossing Tracks 

To prevent potential conflict, an aircraft approaching crossing tracks needs to be separated from traffic on any other track by altitude. Consequently, one of the airplanes can be compelled to operate about 4,000 ft below the optimum altitude.  

However, if timely surveillance data is received by air traffic controller, including the projected intent, and an aircraft can control its speed to reach the crossing point at a certain time, the requirement for altitude separation will be less frequent.  

FANS 1/A/+: The Latest in Flight Navigation Technology  

FANS 1/A/+ is an innovative system and the latest in-flight management technology. The FANS 1/A mandate requires all business aircraft to be installed with FANS 1/A/+ system before January 1, 2020. The installation of FANS 1/A/+ can allow your airplane to efficiently and safely navigate airspaces that are highly congested.  

The chief advantages offered by this flight navigation system are: 

  • Continuous updates in real-time on ATC instructions and weather conditions 
  • Globally accepted standard for digital flight navigation system 
  • Allows identification of most efficient flight routes and save substantially on fuel costs 

Wrap Up 

Considering all the incredible benefits offered by FANS (Future Air Navigation System) and the mandate for FANS 1/A implementation before January 1, 2020, it’s smart to get your aircraft installed promptly with FANS aviation upgrade. Boca Aircraft Maintenance, one of the best airplane maintenance companies in Florida, has expert avionics technicians and engineers to install, examine, or update FANS 1/A/+ system.  

An Insight into ADS-B Flight Tracker System in Aviation

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has made it mandatory for any kind of US aircraft to get the ADS-B Out upgrade. By January 1, 2020, all airplanes flying in the US airspace need to have active system of ADS-B Out installed. ADS-B flight tracker – an innovative flight navigation system – communicates automatically with ATC ground installations and satellites during flight. It will relay pre-set data continuously to the ATC responsible, regarding its environmental situation, flight metrics, and position. This new age avionics system does not call for the pilot’s active participation, but still facilitates data collection and vital communication.

ADS-B stands for “Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast”. 

  • Automatic, because the system transmits information periodically with no operator or pilot involvement necessary 
  • Dependent, as the velocity and position vectors are derived from GPS (Global Positioning System) or any other navigation systems (i.e., Flight Management System) 
  • Surveillance, as the system offers a method to determine the identification and 3-dimensional position of vehicles, airplanes, or other assets 
  • Broadcast, because the system transmits the available information to anyone with proper receiving equipment 

With Automatic Dependent Surveillance  Broadcast, radar technology is replaced with satellites, leading to remarkable advantages. Radar depends on antennas and radio signals for determining the location of an aircraft. ADS-B flight tracker, contrastingly, uses satellite signals for tracking airplane movements. 

Overview of ADS-B Out and In Systems  

ADS-B Out 

The ADS-B Out system broadcasts information about the ground speed, altitude, GPS location, and other information to other aircraft and ground stations, once per second. Airplanes with ADS-B In and air traffic controllers can receive this information immediately. This allows aircraft tracking more precisely than with radar technology that sweeps every 5 – 12 seconds for position information.  

Radio waves are restricted to the line of site, which means radar signals are unable to penetrate mountains or other solid objects, or travel long distances. With ADS-B, the ground stations are not only smaller but also more adaptable compared to radar towers. They can be placed at sites not possible in case of radar. The ground stations of this latest avionics system are placed throughout the country, including difficult to reach regions. With ADS-B, better visibility can be attained irrespective of the type of terrain or other hindrances.  

ADS-B In 

ADS-B In aviation system provides traffic and weather information to operators of aircraft equipped properly. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B In can access graphical weather displays in cockpit and text-based advisories, which include valuable weather activity and Notices to Airmen.  

Advantages of Installing both ADS-B In and Out 

While the ADS-B Out aircraft upgrade is mandatory for every US aircraft, a broader range of additional services is provided by ADS-B In. These services include receiving TIS-B and FIS-B data, and direct links with airplanes that are nearby, equipped with active In functions. Moreover, the equipment of ADS-B In comprise all mandatory features of ADS-B Out. Installing a combined unit of ADS-B In/Out provides a highly convenient interface for flight management. 

What happens if an aircraft is equipped with ADS-B In only and not ADS-B Out? 

If an aircraft has ADS-B In only, the traffic information it receives is limited. Although an equipment with great capabilities, ADS-B In flight tracker has certain limitations that pilots need to be aware of. An aircraft can realize all the abilities of ADS-B In only when it is equipped with the ADS-B Out transmitting system on one of the two frequencies that are approved – 978Mhz or 1090Mhz.  

ADS-B In displays targets from three distinct sources – transponder-only aircraft through TIS-B (Traffic Information System – Broadcast), same frequency ADS-B (referred to as link), and different link ADS-B via ADS-R (ADS-B Re-broadcast). To provide your aircraft having ADS-B In with information on the nearby traffic through TIS-B or ADS-R, the FAA ground system needs to have knowledge about your airplane and the airplanes around you. Your airplane needs to have a well-functioning ADS-B Out equipment. For TIS-B, an airplane must be within the airspace in which surveillance radar operates and detects transponder-only aircraft.  

Following is the impact on various configurations: 

ADS-B In Only Dual or Single Link 

If your aircraft has ADS-B In only and no ADS-B Out, and receives on a single link (for example, 978Mhz), you can see only the traffic near your aircraft broadcasting ADS-B Out at 978Mhz. In case your aircraft has only ADS-B In system receiving both the links (dual link), you can see ADS-B Out airplanes on any link directly. Nevertheless, unless your aircraft is near a properly configured aircraft with ADS-B Out, your plane will not receive TIS-B or ADS-R targets.  

ADS-B In Single Link & ADS-B Out 

If your airplane has ADS-B Out (either link) and receives ADS-B In on a single link, traffic will be received on the receiving link from the aircraft directly. When you are visible to FAA ground system, you would receive information on traffic on the other link also via ADS-R as well as nearby transponder-only aircraft through TIS-B.  

ADS-B In Dual Link & ADS-B Out 

If your airplane has ADS-B Out (either link) as well as receives ADS-B In on both links, ADS-B Out traffic would be received by you directly on both links. When you are visible to FAA ground system, traffic information would also be received via nearby transponder-only aircraft through TIS-B.  

Airplanes without ADS-B Out cannot benefit fully from the features provided by ADS-B system. 

Summing Up 

ADS-B Out aviation equipment enhances safety for all aircraft. With this intelligent technology, a standard would also be established for flight navigation equipment, which all US aircraft must use in the FAA airspace. Alongside, the technology would improve protocols of Pilot to ATC communication during international flights. If you are an aircraft owner in the US, get the ADS-B Out equipment installed in your airplane at the earliest, following the ADS-B 2020 mandate for all US aircraft. 

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