Ask the Captain
John Cox, Special to USA TODAY April 29, 2018
Q: I understand that a system called ADS-B OUT is to be mandated for all jet aircraft (and more) in the year 2020. Can you explain how this system will aid in having those aircraft follow uniform patterns? I am interested in approaching the FAA with a request at small, noise sensitive airports requesting a SIDS & STARS approach and regularly controlled pattern.
— William Confoy, Naples, Fla.
A: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a special transmitter installed in airplanes to provide instant information to air traffic controllers and other aircraft. There are two components in the system: the transmitter (out) and the receiver (in).
In the future, airplanes will broadcast continuous updates of the position, altitude, speed, heading, and registration of the airplane. This will allow much better forecasting of potential traffic conflicts. ADS-B does not have the limitations of traditional radar and is not affected by weather.
ADS-B should improve traffic flow and allow for the more efficient use of airspace in oceanic and remote environments.
Your question seems to focus more on precision navigation than on ABS-B. Modern aircraft are increasing able to navigate more precisely and can follow Standard Instrument Departures (SIDS) or Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARS) with no difficulty.
If you approach the FAA, please be aware that airspace in the U.S. is very complex and designing SIDS, STARS or arrival routes requires a lot of work from qualified experts. It is the goal of the FAA to minimize noise where possible. Adjusting airspace and arrival routes is an ongoing challenge. If you have a request, they will listen and try to accommodate it if possible.
John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems.
FUNDING KEY TO FUTURE OF NEXTGEN
MATT THURBER | APRIL 2018
Just days after the failure of a last-minute attempt to attach an amendment for Air Traffic Control reform into the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, a panel at the Wings Club luncheon in New York City met to discuss how the aviation industry will move forward with implementation of the NextGen air traffic control system.
Lack of funding remains a key issue, said the FAA’s Edwards. “We’re still trying to deliver NextGen benefits, but that will depend on the cooperation of the aviation industry.”
Upgrading the U.S. fleet for the 2020 ADS-B Out mandate continues, and Baker said about 50,000 of the 180,000 aircraft in the U.S. are now equipped, although not all will require the capability as they won’t be flying in the mandate airspace. “I think we will see a lot higher adoption,” he said.
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