UPS wins conflict-alerting certification for ADS-B

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About a month later than the company originally hoped for, UPS Aviation Technologies has won the first operational certification for an automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) system for large passenger and cargo commercial aircraft.

Certification of UPS Aviation Technologies' ADS-B system allows the company to produce and sell its ADS-B system, but the company's first customer is sister company UPS Airlines, which will install ADS-B units in its fleet of 240-plus aircraft over the next two years.

"With the certification of ADS-B we will begin to address aviation's two most pressing problems, airport delays and runway accidents," says the president and chief operating officer of UPSW Airlines Tom Wiedemeyer, who is also the CEO of parent company United Parcel Service.

UPS Aviation Technologies' ADS-B system incorporates a cockpit display giving pilots a precise view of traffic around them, both in the air and on the ground. It provides the position, direction, speed and identity of other equipped aircraft and gives aural and visual alerts when it determines there is a potential for conflict with other equipped traffic.

In addition, the system includes a patented graphical range monitor that UPS says will help pilots maintain precise spacing when following other equipped aircraft.

Along with the FAA and other US cargo carriers and aviation industry leaders, UPS is also working on advanced applications of ADS-B technology such as a prototype moving map of the airport surface. This combines GPS and ADS-VB technologies to give pilots a clear view of their aircraft's position relative to airport runways, taxiways and other traffic.

The airport moving map will be tested along with approach- and departure-spacing applications during the forthcoming "OpEval 2" ADS-B trials to be held in the Ohio River Valley area at the end of this month.

UPS plans early next year to certificate a new GPS receiver that will use the FAA's wide area augmentation system (WAAS) to provide enhanced positional accuracy for its ADS-B system and will enable ADS-B to alert the pilot when a runway is occupied, or is about to be occupied, by another aircraft or a ground vehicle.

It plans to certificate the airport surface moving map function for ADS-B in 2001.

The company says its ADS-B display is also capable of integrating on-board weather radar systems and terrain awareness warning systems (TAWS), consolidating a number of safety features in one display.