Important NextGen cornerstone continues to garner support
"ADS-B is the way forward - that's undeniable," said Mark Baker, President of AOPA. "And it can only be truly effective with full participation from all types of aircraft."
Industry support for ADS-B continues to grow. Lower-cost options that are now available on the market allow the safety and benefits provided by ADS-B to become a reality - and not just referring to the weather and traffics "benefits." FIS-B and TIS-B tend to get a lot of the attention when talking about the perks of ADS-B, but there's so much more than that.
ADS-B lays the foundation for the bigger picture - the NextGen airspace transformation. It enables the surveillance, advisory and critical applications upon which future NextGen programs will build. ADS-B is the beginning of a safer, less-congested, and more efficient NAS. As Mr. Baker said, ADS-B is the way forward, that is undeniable.
ADS-B ground stations are less expensive and smaller than radar, so it is now easier to provide ATC services in remote locations like parts of Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico as well as rugged, mountainous terrains. The FAA has produced a series of coverage maps showing these extensions - you can see it here. Improved ATC coverage brings access to more IFR airspace, and provides flight following and search and rescue benefits for all.
Not only is more of the country covered by ATC services with ADS-B, but the quality of service is improved also. The high precision and high integrity position data on aircraft makes it possible to manage the airspace better - more traffic can safely fit in congested service volumes such as those around airports, and improved, environmentally friendly procedures can be designed and implemented. Reduced fuel consumption, less noise over sensitive areas and reduced emissions are a few small examples of the improvements that can be made.
These benefits will only come into play when those of us who share airspace with others equip - and equip properly. All aircraft that fly close to other aircraft, or to airports that are either not equipped at all or are poorly equipped (and sadly there are already too many of the latter) reduces the benefits available to those who properly equip. You can't reduce separation around an aircraft who's position is uncertain - you have to instead create a "big hole."
Finally, we all need to be thinking about the rapid growth of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations within the NAS. Separation from those vehicles is going to lean heavily on the ADS-B system. It will be important to let the world know that you are out there...
For more information regarding future NextGen programs, please visit http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs/.
At FreeFlight, we actively listen to the needs of the aviation community in order to make your equipage process as painless as possible.