Tony Velocci FORBES
Navigating The Future: NextGen
January 9, 2015
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  • It doesn’t seem that long ago when 2020 sounded like a distant time marker. Now this very important date across the business aviation community is just five years away.

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a mandate that all civil aircraft—including business jets—must be equipped with avionics known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out (ADS-B Out) in order to fly in U.S. and European airspace by January and June 2020, respectively. The technology also is required for operating aircraft in portions of airspace above Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam.

    ADS-B Out—an element of the U.S. Next Generation Air Transportation system (NextGen) and the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR)—is a cooperative surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it. This enables air traffic controllers to track the aircraft. The information can be received by air traffic control (ATC) ground stations as a replacement for secondary radar. It also can be received by other aircraft to provide situational awareness and allow self-separation between aircraft. ADS-B is “automatic” in that it requires no pilot or external input. It is “dependent” in that it depends on data from the aircraft’s navigation system.

    ADS-B-equipage operations are available on most business jet models, and by the end of 2015 options will exist for all such aircraft. Gulfstream Aircraft may be the most recent airframe manufacturer to receive approval from the FAA to install ADS-B Out on the manufacturer’s G150 aircraft, and is available to G150 operators, as of this month. ADS-B Out is an important part of the solution to meet the demands of air traffic growth in coming years, Gulfstream Product Support President Mark Burns points out.

    ADS-B out installation for the G150 will include replacement of the aircraft’s existing transponders with DO-260B-compliant units, which will be required for U.S. and European airspace, and the installation of a universal access transceiver and three antennas. All work will be done at Gulfstream’s Dallas facility. Garmin manufactures the equipment. ADS-B Out is available for all other in-production Gulfstream aircraft and several out-of-production.

    Where there is no question are the benefits of ADS-B: Improved position accuracy for ATC for all flight segments; closely spaced parallel approaches; reduced spacing on final approach, and improved ATC services in non-radar airspace.Jens C. Hennig, vice president of Operations at the General Aircraft Manufacturers Association, notes that it is important for aircraft owners to start thinking about what upgrade path they want to take. “Does the owner just want to meet the mandates for U.S. and foreign airspace, or do they want to take the opportunity when opening up their aircraft to also address other equipment needs, such as ADS-B In, data communications or improved navigation?”