August 30, 2018

ADS-B Update


Transport Canada has yet to announce an ADS-B mandate. In the U.S., the FAA has mandated that on January 1, 2020, aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out to fly in most U.S. airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today. This includes Class A, B, and C airspace; within the 30 nm Mode C ring around a Class B primary airport; and most Class E airspace at or above 10,000 feet asl. The FAA ‘recommends’ 1090ES ADS-B Out hardware in an aircraft on international flights. Although flights between Canada and the U.S. are considered international, the mandate for Mode S transponder-based 1090ES ADS-B hardware has not been set by the FAA as specified in US 14 CFR 91.225. During a flight to the U.S. from Canada, understanding the U.S. airspace transited and at the U.S. destination airport is critical to determining ADS-B equipment and regulatory requirements.

Nav Canada’s joint venture with Aireon LLC has delivered space based 1090ES ADS-B Out services. The U.S. ADS-B environment is based upon a network of ground stations. A typical ground station-based ADS-B aircraft installation has an antenna on the underside of the fuselage. Compliance with a future Nav Canada space-based fabric will require an antenna installed on the top of the aircraft. To facilitate compliance with both U.S. and Canadian requirements, an ADS-B transmitter which supports antenna diversity would be required.

The last four years have seen a rapid advancement in ADS-B technologies from new entrants in the marketplace. The uAvionix skyBeacon replaces a navigation light and delivers 978 UAT ADS-B Out and is equipped with a WAAS GPS, barometric altimeter, LED strobe and navigation lights. Their goal of delivering an installed ADS-B below $2,000 USD for certified aircraft is attainable. uAvionix’s president Christian Ramsey says “Placing an ADS-B antenna on the tip of a wing or on the tail, with visibility to both the sky and the ground, provides an optimal location for reception by a satellite or a ground-based receiver. 1090MHz versions of skyBeacon and tailBeacon are possible.”

With a limited number of ADS-B manufacturers and with no Canadian mandate defined, determining an appropriate strategy would be based upon the usage requirements of the aircraft. If the aircraft is not operating in U.S. airspace, then a wait-and-see strategy would deliver the most cost-effective results.

Watch for more details in an upcoming issue of COPA Flight.