Pennsylvania transportation officials have announced a plan to install automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) ground stations at four state airports.
According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation secretary Allen Biehler, the ground stations will provide coverage for most of the eastern portion of the state from their locations at Allentown’s Queen City Airport, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, Lancaster Airport and University Park Airport in State College. Full ADS-B coverage across Pennsylvania is planned within four years, he added.
Assisting the state with the project will be the FAA, which has overseen the installations of ADS-B ground stations in Alaska and at sites along the East Coast between Florida and New Jersey.
“Bringing such an advanced technology to Pennsylvania will better protect the people who fly airplanes and those who ride in them,” Biehler said. “It will also give air traffic controllers a good tool to guide airplanes in and out of airports. This new system represents the 21st-century way that pilots will see and react to each other and their environment while flying.”
As part of the plan, the stations will also provide flight and traffic information-broadcast (FIS-B and TIS-B) services at the four airports that are scheduled to receive the ADS-B equipment. Information available to pilots flying with proper avionics will include traffic information, both in the air and on the ground, including location, aircraft identification, altitude, airspeed and direction; updated weather, including forecasts and radar imaging of storms; terrain and other obstacle information; notams and airspace status alerts, such as temporary flight restrictions and special-use airspace.
The state and federal government are contributing to the costs of construction for the ADS-B stations, with the FAA footing $300,000, a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security totaling $250,000 and the state’s Aviation Fund providing $50,000. Assisting Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Aviation with the introduction of the ADS-B technology will be airlines, general aviation operators, emergency health care providers, and the state police, Biehler said.
ADS-B uses GPS to send real-time position once every second to other ADS-B-equipped aircraft, thereby enhancing situational awareness and extending ATC beyond radar-coverage areas.