ADS-B Now Active in Philadelphia Area
ADS-B, one of the cornerstones of the FAA’s air traffic control modernization plan known as NextGen, was declared operational in the Philadelphia area yesterday. “This new technology is a tremendous leap forward in transforming the current ATC system,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “The operational benefits in Philadelphia extend as far as Washington, D.C., and New York, which has some of the most congested airspace in the world.” ADS-B coverage at Philadelphia extends 60 nm out and from the surface to approximately 10,000 feet. According to the FAA, ADS-B provides controllers with one-second update rates versus four-and-a-half-second update rates with radar. However, aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B OUT equipment to provide these more frequent updates. The FAA said that once most aircraft are so equipped it will be able to reduce separation in the en route environment from the current five nautical miles to three. Philadelphia is one of four key sites–the others being Houston; Louisville, Ky.; and Juneau, Alaska–selected by the FAA to demonstrate ADS-B services. ADS-B is expected to be available nationwide by 2013.