Airbus and avionics provider ACSS recently completed
successful demonstrations of in-trail surveillance and efficiency boosting
capabilities of automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) on
trans-Atlantic crossings using an Airbus company A340 and another aircraft in
While specifics of the flight have not yet been released,
ACSS Marketing Manager Mark Salazar tells Flight International that pilots were
able to see in-trail traffic at distances of up to 200nm, allowing pilots the
opportunity to optimize altitudes and routes for either fuel savings or ride
comfort. Traffic information was also data-linked to the ground during the
The test was part of the broader Eurocontrol
effort to demonstrate the operational benefits of bringing automatic dependent
surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) information into the cockpit, particularly in
the non-radar environment. ACSS, through Airbus, is providing air traffic
situational awareness (ATSAW) applications for the program.
With ADS-B, an aircraft automatically broadcasts its GPS
position information and identification data, providing a higher fidelity
alternative surveillance means to radar. The technology also offers
efficiency-boosting opportunities when the same data is brought into the
Such ADS-B “in” applications are the cornerstone of the ACSS’s SafeRoute offering, which
US cargo carrier UPS pilots are now using for continuous descent arrivals,
cockpit display-assisted visual traffic separation and for precise situational
awareness cues on the ground at the carrier’s hub in Louisville, Kentucky.
ACSS is now developing similar capabilities for Airbus as
part of the T3CAS integrated surveillance and safety system the airframer will certify for its entire A320, A330 and A340
aircraft models in the late 2009 timeframe.
T3CAS includes traffic alert collision avoidance, terrain
awareness and a Mode S transponder with ADS-B capabilities. ACSS plans to
deliver T3CSS with ADS-B “in” software applications that include in-trail
procedures, vertical separation on approach a surface position and traffic
awareness program. Each software application will be activated through Airbus
service bulletins, says Salazar.
Airbus has not yet disclosed how it plans to display the
ADS-B information in the cockpit.