2020: A Vision of the Future
There are nearly 5,000 airports around the country that have many things in common regardless of their size, number of based aircraft, or runway length.
At nearly every one of these locations there is a coffee shop or lunch counter, an FBO, or hangar that always seems to be inhabited by a cross-section of the pilot and former pilot, community.
This is where stories of past adventures, triumphs over adverse situations, and dreams of the future abound. This is where anyone can have "20/20 vision" from the past to the future.
But there is another very important reason to look toward the future, specifically 2020. More specifically, January 1, 2020! This is when Federal Regulation 14 CFR § 91.225 and 14 CFR § 91.227 go into effect, requiring any aircraft that flies in controlled airspace to have operating Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment on board. While that date may seem like it is a long way off, it really isn't that far away.
Those who have waited, and perhaps are still waiting before having ADS-B equipment installed might ask what benefits ADS-B provides. There are a number of primary benefits it brings to the table.
The first one is that it reduces taxpayer costs involving the air traffic infrastructure. It also supports common separation standards, horizontal and vertical, for all classes of airspace; allows reduced separation; provides air-air surveillance capabilities; and also provides surveillance in remote areas, as well as areas that do not have radar coverage.
Arguably one of the best benefits for General Aviation (GA) pilots will be the capability of ADS-B to provide real-time traffic and aeronautical information in the cockpit. These benefits, as well as a significant increase in system efficiency, capacity and safety are derived as a direct result of this satellite-based system.
Basically, ADS-B is a precise, satellite-based system that uses GPS (via ADS-B Out) to quickly determine an aircrafts' airspeed and location (and additional data), then transmits that information to the ground station network, which, in turn relays that information to air traffic control displays as well as to nearby aircraft that are equipped with ADS-B In capability.
ADS-B is expandable and flexible and lays the foundation for many new advances coming as part of the FAA's Next Gen program.
One unique aspect of the U.S. ADS-B system is that it is a dual broadcast system, sending data on both 1090 MHz and 978 MHz. This makes it possible to install a greater variety of system configurations of the ADS-B equipment.
Of course this means that the ground stations also must rebroadcast on those two frequencies. This will allow aircraft equipped with ADS-B In traffic receivers to show all traffic on their unit display.
By the way, aircraft equipped with 1090(ES) transponders are authorized to fly at any altitude. However, the 978 UAT transponders are not permitted to fly above 18,000 ft.
Some readers may ask what the difference is between ADS-B In and ADS-B Out. Using information taken directly from the FAA's ADS-B web page, it says: "ADS-B Out refers to an aircraft broadcasting its position and other information. ADS-B In refers to an aircraft receiving the broadcasts and messages from the ground network such as the Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B) and the Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B). ADS-B In is not mandated by the ADS-B Out rule. If an operator chooses to voluntarily equip an aircraft with ADS-B In avionics, a compatible display is also necessary to see the information. Refer to AC 20-165B for information on ADS-B OUT and AC 20-172B on ADS-B IN installation and certification."
Again this paragraph is taken directly from the FAA's ADS-B FAQ web page. "ADS-B In pilot cockpit advisory services consist of Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B) and Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B). These are free services transmitted automatically to aircraft equipped to receive ADS-B In.
FIS-B provides a broad range of textual/graphical weather products and other flight information to the general aviation community. FIS-B is only available on the 978MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) equipment.
FIS-B includes the following:
• Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METARs)
• Non-Routine Aviation Weather Reports (SPECIs)
• Terminal Area Forecasts (TAFs) and their amendments
• NEXRAD (regional and CONUS) precipitation maps
• Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Distant and Flight Data Center
• Airmen's Meteorological Conditions (AIRMET)
• Significant Meteorological Conditions (SIGMET) and Convective SIGMET
• Status of Special Use Airspace (SUA)
• Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs)
• Winds and Temperatures Aloft
• Pilot Reports (PIREPS)
TIS-B is an advisory-only service available to both 1090ES and UAT equipment users.
TIS-B increases pilots' situational awareness by providing traffic information on all transponder-based aircraft within the vicinity of the ADS-B In equipped aircraft receiving the data."
As an added incentive for aircraft owners to get their plane equipped sooner rather than later with ADS-B equipment, the FAA is offering a $500 rebate. In a news release date June 1, 2016, the FAA says, "Aircraft owners of U.S.-registered, fixed-wing single-engine piston aircraft with avionics that comply with FAA technical standard orders and meet the rule requirements could be eligible for the rebate. The FAA is not offering rebates for software upgrades for aircraft already equipped, new aircraft, or aircraft for which the FAA already has paid or committed to upgrade.
The FAA will be able to distribute 20,000 rebates - one rebate per aircraft owner. The rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis for one year, or until all 20,000 rebates are claimed, whichever comes first." Check with the FAA to see if he rebates are still available.
For additional information go to: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/rebate/faq/
Program rules: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/rebate/media/Program_Rules_612016.pdf or: https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs/adsb/faq/ for general information about ADS-B.
Additionally, you can find information at: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/update/