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Author Topic: ADS-B Coming to the USA?  (Read 7296 times)
Tomato
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« on: August 07, 2007, 06:24:01 PM »

The current issue of Popular Mechanics (August 2007) has an interesting article about aircraft getting GPS to aid navigation and reducing flight delays.  I was pleased to see the full article online as well.  Here's an excerpt:

"As the first phase, the government plans to award $1 billion this summer to a major contractor ... to design the infrastructure that will eventually replace the nation's 380 or so vintage radar towers.... At some point, the FAA will require that airplanes flying under air traffic control be equipped with the avionics to make the system work. The transition will be gradual — but, by 2025, the FAA expects the entire country to be on the new network."
-- from http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4219569.html

Just a few afterthoughts - For those familiar with ATC, flying, and/or aviation, this article reads like a really simplified article!  Smiley  They kept mentioning GPS (which I'm sure many airplanes already have installed), but they finally mentioned ADS-B!

Doesn't London Heathrow or some region already have a requirement that all aircraft arriving/departing must have functioning ADS-B/Mode-S transponders?  Whatever the case, that would make aviation enthusiasts happy with those willing to splurge on the SBS-1 (which can receive ADS-B/Mode-S signals to literally plot aircraft on a consumer computer screen).  Smiley

After so much talk, it's great the FAA is taking action.  Now, for Canada... I wonder if such a move will come as soon?
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Pygmie
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2007, 10:21:00 PM »

ADS-B isn't going to radically change the way things work.  The main benefits to the FAA/Nav Canada at this point are simply that it costs less then traditional radar to operate and install, meaning we may see more coverage and more redundency.

ADS-B is not some magic bullet that will solve delay problems and increase system capacity (at least not in places with radar coverage already).  The rules and procedures aren't any different, just the source of the signal.

And I hate to burst the bubble as far as mandatory Mode-S in Canada.  That may be an option in EGLL with virtually 100% of their flights being major airlines, but in Canada, with a huge number of flights into major airports still not being GPS equipped, let along Mode-S, I wouldn't hold my breath.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2007, 08:44:25 AM »

 I wonder if avgas, or the 100 octane low lead fuel that powers the piston engine aircraft, will even be around in 2025.   Sad


As far as ADS-B, my understanding is that it is currently operational in Alaska, and to a lesser degree the service is up and running in the state of North Carolina as a trial, but there it is only providing weather and traffic uplinks to properly equipped aircraft.
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RobertK
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2007, 11:08:36 AM »

Heathrow does not have an ADS-B requirement yet, there does exist a Mode-S requirement throughout all of Europe though.

Regarding the article: Dan Brown, former controller with the FAA, sums up my feelings pretty well: http://gettheflick.blogspot.com/2007/08/playing-catch-up.html

Regards,

Robert
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w0x0f
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2007, 04:17:45 PM »

The following is a NATCA press release concerning this subject.

Air traffic controllers would like to correct some misinformation being distributed by the airlines’ trade group’s PR machine.

In a Chicago Tribune “Travel Insider” column on August 5 about flight delays and the discussion about how a Next Generation air traffic control system could help, columnist Alfred Borcover paraphrased Air Transport Association Spokesman David Castelveter as saying, “Countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom are using next-generation precise satellite systems that permit much less than the normal 3 miles separation between planes.”

Sounds good. Except that it’s not true. There are only four places in the world where aircraft are allowed to legally be closer than three miles: London Heathrow, but only during the daytime in good weather within 15 miles of landing, the United States at most major airports within 10 miles of landing, one terminal area in Sweden, and in Mr. Castelveter's imagination.
 
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association asked its controller colleagues in other countries about their separation standards between planes, even when using advanced navigation technologies, and here is what we found:

AUSTRALIA: While the technology is there, the standards that they have to use to separate aircraft remain the same – three nautical miles -- restricted by the reality of controllers being able to intervene with any real possibility of maintaining safety. Says our contact there: “While we love RNP (Required Navigation Performance, a modern GPS navigation system) approaches and all they offer the industry, we still use three nautical miles.”  And here’s more: “ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) separation procedures similar to radar separation minima are implemented for en-route traffic. ADS-B separation procedures for non-radar terminal areas are being developed, but minima would not be less than the radar minima.”

UNITED KINGDOM: Our contact says, “Satellite navigation can be used as one means of navigating for P-RNAV (Precision Area Navigation). However, the route spacing to be applied when using P-RNAV is five nautical miles for straight segments, and more for converging routes. The proposed route spacing is therefore still greater than the three nautical miles that can be achieved when applying radar vectors in the LTMA (London Terminal Control Area).”

Our contact notes that RNP procedures in terminal airspace could eventually enable routes to be spaced by as little as 1.2 nautical miles “using the principle of containment, rather than traditional separation standards. However, in practice, such low route spacing values won’t be achieved due to the need to maintain the ‘controller intervention buffer’, i.e. provide time for controllers to detect a blunder, formulate a corrective course of action, apply the corrective course of action and the aircrew respond to the corrective action.  This buffer will, in my humble opinion, prevent routes from being spaced less than the three nautical miles that is already in use in some terminal airspace.”

CANADA: Here’s what a Canadian air traffic controller wrote in the Tribune’s “comment” section beneath Mr. Borcover’s column: “As a Canadian air traffic controller, I can assure you that we are still using old radar systems with a minimum separation standard of three miles, with five miles being the standard the majority of the time. We are in the very beginning of looking at using satellite surveillance but it is not in use at this time.”

SOUTH AFRICA: South African controllers use five nautical miles as the minimum radar separation. “We are working to reduce to four nautical miles on final,” our contact says, “but it’s not approved yet. This is just radar and no fancy RNAV/RNP/GNSS in this process.”

NEW ZEALAND: Separation standards are the same as the United States’: Five nautical miles for en route airspace and three for terminal airspace. “There is discussion around reducing the en-route minima towards three nautical miles with RNP,” our contact says, “but this is still only an idea and would be some time away.”

ITALY: Separation standards of three nautical miles are used ONLY in the terminal airspace of Rome and Milan. More separation is used everywhere else.

SWEDEN: Separation standards are five nautical miles for en route and three nautical miles in terminal, except for one area where 2.5 nautical miles is used.

-Doug Church

Director of Communications

National Air Traffic Controllers Association

202-220-9802
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digger
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2007, 08:47:25 PM »

Over and above the fact that it's pavement, not airspace that is at the root of the system's struggles with capacity, (meaning ADS-B won't solve that problem anyway), the notion of turning off all the radars seems to me to be terribly short sighted. ADS-B presumes that, the operator of a given aircraft wishes to have his loaction known by ATC. As we learned so painfully on 9/11, some people might wish to be invisible to ATC...
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BMT
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2007, 10:15:07 AM »

I have a friend using SBS-1 in MD. Scanner backed up with SBS-1 really adds to aircraft monitoring.

BMT
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MathFox
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2007, 01:34:36 PM »

I am pretty sure that seeing the plane positions on your computer screen makes a lot of difference when you listen to ATC in a sector. The question is how much ADS-B will add to the capacity of radar covered airspace. Another question is what replacing radar with ADS-B will remove in safety by not seeing non-ADS-B equipped flying objects.

Decreasing spacing does increase capacity, but bringing planes closer together increases risks of collision. Having more accurate position information (I wonder how much more accurate ADS is compared with radar) will allow ATC to put planes closer with little loss of safety; OTOH physics gives some limits to how close you want to put planes together. Flying in strong wake is uncomfortable and dangerous for lighter planes; you also want to have enough time so that a landing plane can vacate the runway before his follower touches down.
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w0x0f
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2007, 07:59:54 PM »

you also want to have enough time so that a landing plane can vacate the runway before his follower touches down.

And that is literally where the rubber meets the road on this whole capacity issue.  No pun intended.  You can fill the sky up with airplanes but they have to land sooner or later.  As long as airlines apply the hub principle to scheduling then we will have problems at these hub airports.  Over scheduling an airport leaves no room for error.  The slightest bit of weather knocks the whole thing out of balance. 

w0x0f
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edro20
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2007, 09:25:56 PM »

Weather indeed! If the 'X' factor of weather is present, all the electronic goodies in the world won't help. It is maddening that the Airlines blame GA for delays when the true matter is simply the weather.
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MathFox
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2007, 08:24:04 AM »

It's easy to blame the weather for bad human planning... If you plan an airport on 100% use of available runway capacity there are dozens of potential causes for delays, from a blown tire to bird hits. Yes, that thunderstorm counts too, or wind from "the wrong" direction.
I predict that this $1 billion system will be over budget and won't bring the promised capacity improvement. Solutions for the delay problem lie elsewhere, planning with a margin for contingencies for example.
If one of the causes is lack of runway capacity, building more runways makes sense. Of course, more passengers require more terminal facilities (when remodeling terminals, please give the TSA a decent space for passenger scanning). If ATC capacity is a problem, try to retain your existing controllers and train future ones.
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RobertK
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2007, 01:05:16 PM »

Sounds good. Except that it’s not true. There are only four places in the world where aircraft are allowed to legally be closer than three miles: London Heathrow, but only during the daytime in good weather within 15 miles of landing, the United States at most major airports within 10 miles of landing, one terminal area in Sweden, and in Mr. Castelveter's imagination.
Well, and Frankfurt Main airport in Germany.
Just adding that little bit of info.

Regards,

Robert
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blizzard242
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2007, 02:58:37 PM »

The faa is gust grabbing at straws because of the current condition of are air routing condition.
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bcrosby
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2007, 10:01:33 AM »

Canada is already using ADS-B in Vancouver and the North.

The NAV Canada press release.:
http://www.navcanada.ca/NavCanada.asp?Language=en&Content=ContentDefinitionFiles\Newsroom\NewsReleases\2007\nr0212.xml

CBC Also has a recent article:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2007/08/08/delayedflights.html
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Tomato
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2007, 05:12:16 PM »

Very interesting comments, many of which I expected and completely agree with.  The magazine article showed planes flying direct from one city to another... how can you have airplanes flying towards each other on a direct path?  It's a little simplified/cynical, but I think you get my point.

Personally I can't wait for ADS-B/Mode-S to take over since it's new, exciting, and more accurate.  I agree though that unplugging the existing radar systems and believing the article is overrated.  It is afterall, a dramatized magazine article... or else who would read it?

Mr Crosby... I had no idea about ADS-B in Vancouver.  The question remains though, how many aircraft in/out of Vancouver are actually transmitting that information?  Smiley
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