US FAA is almost ready to certify the automatic dependent surveillance
broadcast (ADS-B) system in the USA, but whether it is ready to be deployed
outside the state of Alaska and by commercial carriers remains uncertain.
certification service senior engineer Rich Jennings says ADS-B minimum
operational performance standards (MOPS) should be approved by the Radio
Technical Committee for Aeronautics (RTCA) at a meeting next week. The FAA will
then solicit public comment on the standards before issuing final MOPS
certification, which Jennings expects will occur in November or December.
says the completion of the MOPS process should help ADS-B be extended outside
Alaska. ADS-B is being tested on general aviation aircraft in the state of Alaska
and on a mix of aircraft in several other countries. But the system is not in
widespread use anywhere, and government aviation agencies have barely started
the process of setting international standards - a key step to extending ADS-B
says it will take a long time to set standards for high-level uses of ADS-B.
But he says the completion of the MOPS process is a step forward for extending
the use of the system’s basic capabilities, including separation of traffic and
is just a matter of when it will grow to the lower 48 [states],” he told the
International Advanced Aviation Technologies Conference yesterday in Anchorage.
focus is on meeting Alaska’s needs, but to also do the best we can to make sure
this is deployable nationwide,” added Mark Olson of FAA’s Capstone program
principal systems engineer Jim Chieplak encouraged carriers attending the
conference, including Northwest Airlines and United Parcel Service Airlines, to
ask for the technology.
is being set for a transition to the lower 48,” he says.
UPS and Northwest officials doubt the FAA will pay for the technology like it
has in Alaska and say they are having a hard time convincing their bosses to
approve ADS-B purchases.
[hard] trying to convince non-aviators of the benefit,” says UPS Airlines
advanced flight systems director James Walton. “Right now we’re in an
environment where if it’s not mandated you’re not getting it.”
plans to equip ADS-B on some of its Boeing 757s and 767s, but Walton says it
could be a while before he secures approval for installation on the carrier’s
Boeing 727s, McDonnell Douglas DC-8s and Airbus A300-600s. He says if a
passenger carrier also starts installing ADS-B, it could lead to more
widespread support for the technology.
the first [passenger] carrier equips, there will be more pressure to match the
equipage,” Walton says. “You’ll get lawyers starting to worry about the
liability of not having it, and that’s how things get done.”
Zoldos of the US Air Transport Association says his members are especially
interested in expanding ADS-B technology to the Gulf of Mexico area, where
radar coverage is limited.
it will be [extended] before all our airlines run out of money,” Zoldos says.