Scandinavian carrier SAS is to equip "at least" ten commercial aircraft, and ground vehicles, with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) systems in 1997, and plans to equip its new Boeing 737-600s in 1998.

The trials are part of the European-Commission-funded North European ADS-B Network programme, which has established a high-capacity two-way data-link-communications network in Denmark, Germany and Sweden. Situational awareness, free flight, fleet management, surveillance and global satellite-signal augmentation will be included in the study, as well as standards and certification issues.

A Fokker F28 became the first aircraft in the world to be equipped with ADS-B in January, since when more than 3,500 flights have been carried out with two F28s, with the system performing "-as we hoped it would", says SAS technical pilot Capt Lars Lindberg.

A live demonstration at the conference showed the ADS-B system in action. Linked through the Internet, the system was able to follow the F28's progress from take-off to landing, with ground-vehicle movements. A display of the ADS-B-derived information presented on the flight-deck was also shown.

A new flight-deck display has been developed and used on Saab 340s on internal revenue-earning flights from mid-1997, when the first differential global-navigation satellite system approach (into Angleholm) will be made.

Lindberg reveals that, in 1995, SAS lost more than SKr450 million ($68 million) in direct operating costs because of air-traffic-control-related delays. During the first four months of 1996, the carrier experienced a 143% increase in delays compared with the same period a year earlier.

Source: Flight International