Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) is the backbone of the next generation ATC system.
The most basic portion is called ADS-B Out. This allows ADS-B-equipped aircraft transmit their position and velocity vector every second. As a result, ATC has a much better understanding of their position and movement relative to other air traffic, particularly in areas with marginal radar coverage (due to distance, terrain, etc.) When people talk about the 2020 ADS-B mandate, they are typically discussing ADS-B Out. The ADS-B system works best when all the aircraft in a particular portion of airspace broadcast their position.
The optional portion of ADS-B is called ADS-B In. Instead of just an ADS-B Transmitter, the aircraft will have an ADS-B Transceiver. This will allow the aircraft to receive the overall traffic picture from ADS-B. It will also allow the receiption of free (no subscription required) weather information and important information (TFRs, NOTAMs, etc.)
ADS-B is most rapidly-evolving portion of the avionics industry. For years, we have had two main recommendations for our customers:
- If you will benefit from the GPS-based precision IFR approaches provided by a WAAS GPS, it's time to consider one of these GPS systems, regardless of ADS-B. The ability to use this WAAS posiiton information for ADS-B is simply icing on the cake.
If you will not use or cannot justify the addition of a WAAS GPS, then hold off on ADS-B. Our thinking was that the add-on ADS-B functionality that these customers desired had not yet been invented. This proved to be correct, but we are now seeing add-on ADS-B solutions that make a lot of sense. These systems add a remote WAAS GPS Receiver and ADS-B Receiver / Transceiver. This allows you to meet the ADS-B mandate while keeping the overall upgrade cost to a minimum.
These add-on systems are offered by Garmin, FreeFlight, uAvionix, and others.
The GPS Systems shown below offer WAAS capability, needed for ADS-B. We will add other ADS-B Systems, particularly add-on systems that can be added to your avionics in a modular fashion, as they become available.