Europe Expected to Approve ADS-B Implementation Rule

 - July 1, 2011, 4:13 AM

July marks a turning point from the “pioneer” phase of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in Europe to the approaching ADS-B mandate.

Eurocontrol expects the Single Sky Committee of the European Commission to approve the Surveillance Performance and Interoperability Implementing Rule (SPI-IR) identifying system performance and ground and airborne interoperability requirements for ADS-B. The rule should appear in the Official Journal of the European Union by year-end.

The SPI-IR is a “critical point” dividing the pioneer phase, in which 18 airlines flying some 500 aircraft certified ADS-B Out functionality in non-radar airspace, and the mandate phase, said Christos Rekkas of Eurocontrol, in a presentation earlier this year at ATC Global. The compliance dates are known. ADS-B Out, the continuous broadcast of aircraft position reports to the ground, will be required for forward-fit aircraft by January 2015, and for retrofit application by December 2017. The same capability will be required for aircraft in the U.S. by 2020.

ADS-B provisions of the European rule apply to aircraft weighing above 12,566 pounds (5,700 kg) or flying more than 250 knots cruising speed, including those operated by international carriers. They must be equipped with mode S-transponders compliant with the updated DO260B/ED102A standard, transmitting 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (ES) position reports. Transponders must be integrated with a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based position data source.

In addition to proving the airworthiness of ADS-B equipment for air traffic services, Eurocontrol’s Pioneer Airline Project supported validation of ground surveillance by air navigation service providers (ANSPs). Yet the SPI-IR does not set a date for ANSP implementation of ADS-B, generally calling for “most efficient solutions for the local situation,” according to the Rekkas presentation.

ADS-B will be conducted in combination with primary and secondary radar and wide area multilateration (WAM) systems, or as a sole means of surveillance. According to Eurocontrol, ANSPs in Sweden, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus and the UK will be among the first to offer air-traffic separation services based on ADS-B. ANSPs in Latvia, Austria, Romania, Spain and Portugal with WAM stations, also capable of routing ADS-B position reports, stand as other candidates.

“We should get closer to this (2015 ADS-B compliance) date before there would be firm commitments for operational services,” Eurocontrol said, responding to an AIN query. “Much will depend on the numbers of ADS-B operationally-approved aircraft.”