SocialFlight, in partnership with FreeFlight Systems and other industry leaders, announces "SocialFlight University" for mobile and web devices
- Created on 15 January 2015
SocialFlight University is an easy to navigate collection of over 100 videos, webinars and reference materials on a variety of educational topics from Pilot Training, Safety and Technique, to Avionics, Aircraft Ownership, Operations and Maintenance. It also includes materials on Clubs and Community-related topics.
The entire collection is integrated into the SocialFlight web and mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, making the materials available for viewing on most phones and tablets, as well as on the web.
FreeFlight Systems provided a variety of educational videos for the library. "Avionics education is very important to us at FreeFlight Systems." said Tim Taylor, FreeFlight Systems President and CEO. "Making the FreeFlight Systems ADS-B University available to the entire SocialFlight community will help awareness of both the technology and the regulations surrounding it. FreeFlight Systems is proud to support SocialFlight University as the centralized, mobile library of free educational materials for all pilots."
SocialFlight is the mobile app and web suite used by tens of thousands of pilots to help them find Aircraft Fly-in's, Air Shows, Pancake Breakfasts, Conventions, FAA Safety Seminars and much more; over 20,000 events catalogued to date. It also includes over 300,000 POI's, such as restaurants, attractions, lodging and more; all within walking distance of airports.
An Industry First: Certified ADS-B System Integrated into an Unmanned Aircraft System in Partnership with Texas A&M University
- Created on 09 December 2014
Anywhere you read within the aviation industry, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), better known as drones, are an emerging market for commercial and personal use. As the FAA tries to maintain the safety of our aviation system, these vehicles are becoming more and more popular within our airspace. In an effort to maintain the safety of this system, FreeFlight strives to be an industry leader by integrating our ADS-B solutions into this technology.
The Five Stages of ADS-B
- Created on 10 October 2014
What a difference a year makes.
In the summer of 2013 the level of GA pilot awareness of ADS-B was still relatively low but definitely increasing. Few had actually equipped given the limited range of certified avionics available.
Jump forward to the present and it is a different picture. Awareness has climbed significantly and aircraft owners and airport owners are literally and figuratively buying into ADS-B. Equipment orders for aircraft and airport ground vehicles are growing dramatically.
ALL OUT, ALL IN
- Created on 11 August 2014
I'm willing to bet that most Capitol Hill hearings generate little or no news coverage or interest outside of the building. That may be especially true for a U.S. House Small Business Committee hearing about ADS-B. But the session at which I and others testified last month has stirred a wave of conflicting – and I would say well-timed -- comments within the GA community about the benefits of ADS-B.
I appeared on behalf of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) to address the industry's ability to meet the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline. Also testifying were FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, AEA President Paul Derks, Virginia flight school operator Bob Hepp on behalf of AOPA and Kenneth Button, director of the Center for Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics at George Mason University.
As Mr. Huerta stated, the hearing was intended to address "the benefits and challenges of equipping aircraft to take advantage of NextGen capabilities."
The challenges are clear when implementing a fundamental upgrade of the entire National Airspace System and the first major change in 50 years. Questions came up about the NextGen rollout (well on track) as well as the cost and the availability of low-cost equipage loans for GA specifically. But it was the question of the benefits of ADS-B for GA that seemed to spark the greatest differences of opinion both during the hearing and afterward in online comments about the news stories that followed.
Out, or Out & In
The main point of disagreement revolves around whether you see ADS-B solely as the ADS-B Out mandate, or, you view it as both ADS-B Out and In with the added benefits of weather and traffic.
Part of the GA community sees it only as ADS-B Out and an equipment mandate with few benefits for pilots. We believe that ADS-B Out by itself is beneficial in the form of wider VFR Flight Following and improved Search-and-Rescue services; staying or getting found faster can make all the difference. The missing Air Malaysia flight is a dramatic example of that.
However, there is general agreement that ADS-B In can or will benefit most airspace users, especially GA pilots. At minimum that means ADS-B In weather and traffic services.
From our point of view the distinction between Out (the mandate) and In (the added benefits) is technically valid but practically meaningless. The fact is that most GA pilots are installing an ADS-B Out and In UAT transceiver. They are complying with the mandate and getting the benefits of ADS-B In from Day One. A quick comparison of the costs of two-way UAT vs. Out-only transmitter systems will show you why that simply makes sense, i.e., a UAT costs less and does more.
In the near-term we'll see improved IFR routing and terminal procedures. As more aircraft equip we are likely to see a wide range of new services and applications that can promote the growth of GA. That includes apps such as real-time aircraft tracking, which would appeal to flight schools and other fleet operators ("Where are my aircraft right now and in what weather conditions?; Are student pilots where they are authorized to be, in the practice area, inbound to base?, etc.). It also will be of interest to anybody with a friend, colleague or loved one who flies ("When will they be here/back home?")
We are hearing from some pilots who primarily see the Out mandate, intend to wait, then do as little as possible just to comply with the requirement. Unfortunately, if they do so they will be paying more and getting less. But others are seeing the benefits of ADS-B Out and In and are moving ahead with UAT installations.
The fact that the hearing has prompted the questions and the active dialog is positive and well timed. The Jan. 1, 2020 deadline is getting closer every day, so now is the time to share information, dispel myths and rumors and allay unfounded fears.
All Out, All In
ADS-B Out is mandatory because all aircraft have to participate in the system to ensure safety. That's what we mean by, "All Out." ADS-B In services come with the price of admission, so to speak, and it only makes practical flying and financial sense to equip for them. That's why we say, "All In."
"All Out, All In" also applies to supporting the overall NextGen transformation of the National Airspace System of which ADS-B is a major component. (The rest of the world is adopting ADS-B as well.) All of us as users of the airspace system are in this together. This is the first major upgrade to the system in 50 years and is intended to replace the current, aging technology developed in World War II. It's not only a good idea, it's necessary to maintain US leadership in aviation and the growth of all of aviation, including GA.