ADS-B and Privacy – Not All Datalinks are Created Equal

By | Blog | No Comments

Privacy, by definition is the quality or state of being free from company or observation. Privacy is something most of us value – especially in this digital age where information about us is so readily available and searchable to anyone with internet connectivity. The introduction of digital network technology into National Airspace System (NAS) Traffic Management provides a lot of benefits including more accurate and timely information about aircraft position. This allows for improved utilization of the NAS, increasing both capacity and safety. The heart of the system is Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS-B). ADS-B equipped aircraft transmit messages containing information about themselves to both other aircraft and to the ground Air Traffic Control infrastructure. In addition to the basics of position, altitude and velocity, these messages also include identification data, specifically the aircraft’s unique 24-bit identifier or “ICAO code” and flight ID – either a call sign or the N-number. The privacy implications are clear – as we fly, we are telling the world who we are and where we are. But do the advantages of improved airspace utilization and increased safety have to come at the expense of your privacy? Contrary to popular belief the answer is no, they…

Read More

ADS-B In: Take Advantage

By | Blog | No Comments

The 2020 mandate for ADS-B isn’t going away. It’s time to get serious about a solution. Multiple avionics manufacturers have ADS-B solutions looking for a home in your aircraft. Avionics shops are seeing a spike in demand and a majority are reporting backlogs, some as long as twelve months. Prices for ADS-B systems are decreasing while installation costs are increasing. With a myriad of options available, what should be considered in order to obtain all the benefits of having ADS-B-In? Consider your aircraft and where you fly. An ADS-B-In solution for a relatively new Daher Socata TBM 850 is going to be very different from an ADS-B-In system for the Piper SuperCub you learned to fly on. For the first time, ADS-B-In will allow pilots to have the same traffic and weather picture that air traffic controllers see. Having a display is a precursor to making use of the great information that ADS-B-In provides. Cockpit displays come in many varieties; GPS navigators, EFIS screens, HUDs and now more and more ever, the humble iPad. When selecting an ADS-B-In system determining how that information is displayed in your cockpit is essential. 1090 or 978? 1090 MHz is the frequency a standard…

Read More

ADS-Be Ready – Asking the Right Questions, Getting the Right Solutions

By | Blog | No Comments
In my line of work, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with a lot of pilots on a regular basis. The conversation typically turns to ADS-B, usually because I push it in that direction. As it turns out, pilots are pretty eager to talk about their airplanes, so it's usually not difficult to get the conversation started. Once we get past the typical "it won't happen" comment, I try to take on more of an advisor-type role in helping them select the best solution for their specific flight profile. The following are the questions I ask and the questions you should be able to answer in order to make the best decision about how to equip your aircraft. What do you fly? This is hands down the easiest question I'll ever ask a pilot, unless they're some sort of Black Ops pilot that is sworn to secrecy under the penalty of death. The "what do you fly" question gives me an idea about how they fly and what they use the plane for, which in turn will start to narrow down the solutions that would fit their needs best. If it's an airframe I've never heard...
Read More

Yes, You Can Keep Your Transponder

By | Blog | No Comments

“Really, I don’t have to update my transponder? Are you sure?” The FAA’s ADS-B mandate is quickly approaching and our answer to one of the most common questions asked by general aviaton aircraft owners remains unchanged. For those who fly below FL180, no, you don’t have to update your transponder. And yes…we’re sure. Your transponder has been loyal to you. Why not keep it? ADS-B compliance doesn’t mean doing away with older avionics when a simple addition gets the job done. So, before you pull your perfectly functional mode A, C or S transponder from the panel, consider using it alongside our ADS-B Out equipment to give your investment the longest life possible. Trust us, we’ve done the research and buying a new transponder just doesn’t make a lot of sense for the large majority of piston single- and twin-engine drivers and helicopter owners. Study the Film Choosing whether or not to upgrade your transponder can be a big decision. We’re here to help you understand the nuts and bolts. Since its introduction during World War II, the aircraft transponder hasn’t undergone any huge technical changes. Its overall essence has stayed consistent – a big AM radio, blasting radio waves…

Read More

ADS-B Truths

By | Blog | No Comments

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…

Read More

ADS-B Equipage: Key Things to Consider

By | Blog | No Comments

There is no shortage of information regarding ADS-B: benefits, solutions, cost, installation, certifications, compliance – there is a continuous influx of ADS-B information making headlines and remaining a hot topic within industry forums. Knowledge is power, but too much information can be difficult to digest when evaluating equipage options. In an effort to alleviate common ADS-B frustrations, presented below is a summary of a few key points to consider in order to help you take advantage of ADS-B systems and achieve rule compliance. This is a great time to equip. The ongoing ADS-B conversation has been alive with spirited dialogue with a particular focus on cost. With announcements of sub $2,000 ADS-B Out systems, many are pleased that pricing concerns have been heard, and as result, unit costs have come down. But what about the cost of installation? While unit prices are at their lowest, it is likely that installation costs are going to rise – and here is the reason why: There are about 200,000 aircraft in the United States that need to be equipped with ADS-B by January 1, 2020. We are at the halfway point between the FAA’s Final Rule in 2010 and the implementation date, and…

Read More

Keep Your Transponder, Add ADS-B

By | Blog | No Comments

Aircraft owners ask us a lot of questions when they’re considering how to upgrade their avionics for ADS-B. But there’s one question asked most frequently by pilots who fly below FL180: “Do I have to replace my transponder?” Our usual answer is, “No,” or sometimes just, “Why?” With few exceptions, those of us who fly in the thicker air can use our current Mode A, C or S transponders alongside our ADS-B Out equipment. Sure, you can replace your older transponder with a 1090 MHz Mode S Extended Squitter (1090ES) ADS-B Out unit. But you don’t have to pull a perfectly good, functional transponder from the panel. For the large majority of piston single- and twin-engine drivers and for helicopter owners, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Getting Freq-y Pilots who fly below FL180 can use either a 1090ES transponder or a 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT). That choice doesn’t apply to anybody who operates in Class A airspace; they must use a 1090ES transponder to support continued use of TCAS and other systems. But for everybody else a UAT – while keeping your current transponder — is the way to go: UAT technology supports expansion for…

Read More