Air traffic control could soon be moving from the ground to the air if trials of an Automatic Dependent Surveillance -Broadcast (ADS-B) solution on display at UPS Aviation Technologies' stand (Hall 3/A8) go well.

ADS-B is just one new technology on the road to true "free flight". It allows pilots in the cockpit and air traffic controllers on the ground to "see" aircraft traffic with much more precision than has been possible before. The FAA has identified more than 20 ways that ADS-B can make flying safer and can allow more efficient use of the airspace around the world's busiest airports.

One version of ADS-B is already in operation in Europe and, in the USA, the Cargo Airline Association is developing an ADS-B system that will be operational this year. US cargo carriers Airborne Express, Federal Express and UPS have each committed to install ADS-B in four aircraft after a supplemental type certificate (STC) and letter of authorisation were issued by the FAA.

By late 1999 a second-phase of ADS-B software will be developed to provide conflict detection and traffic avoidance. This will provide visual and audible warnings at much greater distances than first generation TCAS equipment, giving pilots more chance to take action.


Each ADS-B equipped aircraft broadcasts its precise position in space thanks to the satellite-based GPS system, along with other data including airspeed, altitude and changes in direction.

This provides anyone with ADS-B equipment installed to see a much more accurate depiction of air traffic than radar can ever provide - it even works at low altitude and on taxiways and runways. One of its biggest benefits is that both pilots and ground-based controllers both see the same information.

The digital code containing an aircraft's information is updated several times a second and is broadcast from the aircraft on a datalink. Other aircraft within about 160km receive the broadcasts and see the information in a user-friendly format on a small cockpit screen. Air traffic controllers see the ADS-B targets on their regular traffic display screens along with other radar targets.

One of ADS-B's biggest plus points is that it is small enough and cheap enough to be retrofitted to all types of aircraft, including single and twin propeller models.

Source: Flight Daily News