If asked today for their views about automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), many pilots might respond that it was developed to meet the unique needs of single-engine commercial operators in remote areas such as Alaska, where only minimal ATC services were available. Alternatively, it was aimed at helping freighter pilots best position themselves in inbound traffic streams during “rush hour” operations around freight hubs.
Nav Canada last month awarded its national ADS-B program to Syracuse, N.Y.-based Sensis, and installation of the first system ground stations is now under way. The FAA, on the other hand, faces some unexpected pre-contract issues as it moves toward its implementation plan.
General Dynamics C4 Systems, a division of General Dynamics, announced a deal with the FAA to begin certification work on satellite communications equipment for the FAA’s Capstone Communications Control System program in Alaska. According to the Scottsdale, Ariz.
In an effort to build on the promise of the GPS wide-area augmentation system (WAAS), the FAA has amended a $200 million contract with Raytheon to deploy next-generation technology for satellite precision approach guidance.
Sensis is building on its experience of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) in the FAA-sponsored Capstone trials in Alaska and the increasing use of its multilateration technology with the development of a 1,090-MHz receiver that is under consideration for deployment on the U.S. East Coast and preparations to deploy a multilateration system at Juneau, Alaska.
The FAA’s Alaska Region this year will assess the suitability of a communications satellite system with an unusual history to supplement its Capstone automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) project.
When the idea was initially being explored a number of years ago, FAA planners saw a use for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) only in Alaska, where the technology would allow aircraft operating beyond the reach of radar to develop their own position data using onboard GPS equipment, and then transmit that data to others in the region through either a microwave satellite uplink and downlink or ground-based VHF network.
The FAA says that the Alaska Capstone program of testing a host of advanced avionics (including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast–ADS-B) in small commercial aircraft will become part of the agency’s nationwide ADS-B implementation.
While pilots agree that ADS-B is the next big thing for the National Airspace System, with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey describing it as the “FAA’s moon shot,” its implementation process has puzzled many. When Blakey last week launched the program with $80 million in FY 2007 funds, agency bureaucrats were still seeking go-ahead approval from the FAA’s top-level Joint Resources Council.
ADS-B-equipped aircraft will be back on ATC radar screens in Alaska after an absence of several weeks. On March 24, following “misapplication” of separation standards by the Anchorage ARTCC, FAA officials in Washington ordered ADS-B aircraft returns removed from ATC displays.