By David Learmount at Farnborough air show

L-3 Communications/Thales joint venture ACSS aims to get its SafeRoute automatic dependent surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B) system airborne in company-flown trials this October; installed and operating for field testing on the first of UPS's Boeing 757s and 767s by December; and installed fleet-wide with the freight carrier by mid-2007.

US Federal Aviation Administration administrator Marion Blakey, who visited the Farnborough air show for the first time, says that ADS-B-based surveillance technology is "going to be the enabler" of future air traffic management (ATM), "enabling us to bring aircraft much closer together safely".

SafeRoute uses ADS-B and satellite navigation combined with the datalinking capabilities of Mode S transponder technology to give pilots surface area movement management (SAMM) displays at airports and merging and spacing M&S traffic monitoring capability in the air.

Blakey says that "very soon" the FAA will be calling for bids for ADS-B ground stations and related equipment, and the agency expects to be able to announce its decisions by July 2007.

UPS's SafeRoute project manager Capt Karen Lee says the airline is an established user of ADS-B for enhanced see-and-avoid. Now, she says, the cargo carrier "is going to prove the [SafeRoute] concept for everybody else". The M&S capability, says Lee, "changes an aircraft from being dealt with [by an ATM system] as an intruder into a co-operative partner".

Aircraft will be able, from top of descent, to follow a precise 4D [the fourth dimension is time] continuous descent approach (CDA) trajectory to fit into an arrival sequence safely "like beads on a string".

ACSS says that these CDAs have shown a capability to reduce noise by 30% and emissions by 3%.

Source: Flight International