Mode-S Flight ID Capability Finally Being Realized

HAI Convention News » 2008
February 26, 2008, 7:00 AM

A Lufthansa Boeing 737 recently became the first aircraft to use Mode S capability to transmit its radar identification (flight ID), without the use of secondary surveillance radar (SSR) code. Rod Marten, who oversees mode-S operations at Eurocontrol, said that air traffic controllers typically assign a four-digit SSR code to a target on the radar screen then manually correlate the aircraft information with the electronic flight plan data. Using mode-S capability, the 737 flight crew entered a 24-bit code into the aircraft computer, which automatically correlated the aircraft’s flight plan data. The transponder then issued a flight ID to controllers. Because of the short supply of SSR codes–there are 4,096–European controllers make an average of 20,000 code changes a day, Marten said. “There aren’t enough,” he said. “You find that there are code duplications, with different aircraft using the same code.” There are approximately 17 million 24-bit codes, however. Marten said that there have been “a few problems” during test phases when pilots entered the wrong 24-bit code, but he added, “It’s going to be an evolutionary way of improving identification of traffic.”

Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.