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ACSS SafeRoute+ Brings ADS-B In Benefits to Airlines

 - June 17, 2019, 2:00 AM

SafeRoute+, the first application of ADS-B In products for air transport flight deck displays, will be available following FAA certification in the third quarter. Developed by ACSS, an L3 Technologies (Chalet 308) and Thales (Chalet 265) company, SafeRoute+ runs on ACSS TCAS3000SP or T3CAS computers and can output ADS-B In information on navigation displays, multifunction control and display units, and ACSS’s new ADS-B Guidance Display (AGD). 

ACSS’s earlier version of SafeRoute could display information only on Class 3 electronic flight bags. By integrating with existing flight deck displays or the AGD, adding SafeRoute+ is much less expensive than installing a costly Class 3 EFB and offers more benefits for pilots.

While some of the SafeRoute+ functions can be displayed without the AGD, such as ADS-B traffic, “To get the true benefit, adding the AGD adds another dimension,” said ACSS president Terry Flaishans. “The SafeRoute+ applications allow other functionality.” The AGD fits in a 3 ATI slot. 

There are five SafeRoute+ applications, according to ACSS, and these “increase situational awareness, reduce missed approaches, enable higher achievable throughput, optimize spacing buffers, and reduce fuel burn, therefore lowering carbon emissions,” he said.

For example, with the cockpit display of traffic information (CDTI) application, pilots can “see” other ADS-B Out-equipped aircraft clearly on their flight deck displays or the AGD. “You can maintain VFR separation even when in marginal VFR conditions,” Flaishans explained. “If you can know where an airplane is exactly in front of you, you’re able to time your arrival better. It really makes a huge difference.” 

The beauty of ADS-B applications such as SafeRoute+ is that the benefits are available with a software upgrade to equipment that is already onboard, although operators can opt to install the AGD to get even more functionality. No upgrades are necessary for air traffic control or airport equipment.

American Airlines has been flying with ACSS’s SafeRoute CDTI Assisted Visual Separation (CAVS) in the U.S. for many years, and the first operational approval for CAVS was with cargo carrier UPS in 2007. “American Airlines is further along [using SafeRoute technology],” said Flaishans, “but we’re talking with other [operators and aircraft manufacturers].” American Airlines is equipping its fleet of more than 300 Airbus A321s with SafeRoute+.

For aircraft flying over ocean routes, the in-trail procedure application is helpful for seeing a vertical profile of other traffic on busy oceanic tracks up to 100 nm away. This could be especially valuable in an emergency when it is necessary to depart from the tracks or when needing to change altitude, but also helps save fuel with reduced spacing. 

During IFR operations in busy terminal areas, interval management spacing helps improve runway capacity and block-time predictability, using time-based spacing during instrument meteorological conditions. 

Unlike ADS-B Out, there is no regulatory mandate for ADS-B In. But as airlines reap the benefits of ADS-B In applications, they will be able to reduce delays and missed connections, Flaishans said. “As we demonstrate and show the benefits for fuel savings and getting in and out of airports [predictably], this technology will pay for itself.”