Official PayPal Seal

ADS-B Information Page

Below is information that the FAA posted on their website as of 2010.  This is listed as reference information only. You can select the FAA/ADS-B option from the New and Events menu option on the left, for more current information.

What is ADS-B?

ADS-B is one of the most important, underlying technologies in the FAA’s plan to transform air traffic control from the current radar-based system to a satellite-based system. ADS-B is bringing the precision and reliability of satellite-based surveillance to the nation’s skies.

How does it work?

ADS-B uses GPS signals along with aircraft avionics to transmit the aircraft’s location to ground receivers. The ground receivers then transmit that information to controller screens and cockpit displays on aircraft equipped with ADS-B avionics.

What are the benefits of ADS-B? 

ADS-B for the first time allows pilots to see what controllers see: other aircraft in the sky around them. Pilots are also able to see – and avoid – bad weather and terrain, and receive flight information such as temporary flight restrictions. The improvement in situational awareness for pilots greatly increases safety.

The improved accuracy, integrity and reliability of satellite signals over radar means controllers will be able to safely reduce the mandatory separation between aircraft. This will increase capacity in the nation’s skies.

ADS-B also provides greater coverage, since ADS-B ground stations are so much easier to place than radar. Remote areas without radar coverage, like the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska, are now covered by ADS-B.

Relying on satellite signals instead of ground-based navigation aids also means aircraft fly more directly from Point A to Point B, saving time and money while reducing fuel burn. United Parcel Service voluntarily equipped approximately 100 of its aircraft with ADS-B avionics, knowing that it will recoup its investment by saving time and money on flights to and from its Louisville hub.

ADS-B will also reduce the risk of runway incursions. Pilots and controllers will be able to see the precise location of aircraft and properly equipped ground vehicles moving on the ground – even at night or during heavy rainfall.

Why adopt ADS-B?

Radar technology dates back to World War II. Radar occasionally has problems discriminating airplanes from migratory birds and rain “clutter.” ADS-B, which receives data directly from transmitters rather than scanning for targets like radars, does not have a problem with clutter.

Radars are also large structures that take up a lot of space, are expensive to deploy and maintain, and require the FAA to lease the land upon which they are situated. ADS-B ground stations take up only 20 square feet, including the perimeter fence. Ground stations are the size of mini-refrigerators. Under the terms of its contract with ITT Corp., the company that is installing the ground stations, the FAA will only pay for ADS-B signals. The equipment will be owned and maintained by ITT. 

Who’s installing the ground stations?

ITT Corporation was selected in August 2007 to be the prime contractor for the ADS-B ground stations. ITT will build, install and maintain the nationwide network. The FAA will pay “subscription charges” to the company, just as the agency today buys telecom services from telecommunications companies. This will reduce costs and give the agency greater flexibility.

Under the terms of its contract, ITT must have ground stations in place to cover the entire nation by 2013.

As the ADS-B infrastructure expands, companies are likely to use ADS-B capabilities to offer even more services to private pilots and airlines.

What about aircraft avionics?

The agency issued a proposed rule asking for industry comment on the avionics necessary for implementing ADS-B across the national airspace system. Under the proposal, operators would equip their aircraft with avionics based on the airspace in which they plan to operate.

The FAA is currently reviewing comments and will issue a final rule soon. The final rule will specify performance standards for ADS-B avionics. The marketplace will then take over, as manufacturers build avionics that must meet those standards.

Below is information that Garmin has posted on their website. This is listed as reference information only. You can select the FAA/ADS-B option from the New and Events menu option on the left, for more current information.

What is ADS-B?

ADS-B is the acronym for Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast—a new technology that allows pilots in the cockpit and air traffic controllers on the ground to "see" aircraft traffic with much more precision than has been possible before. ADS-B can make flying safer and can allow more efficient use of our airspace.

ADS-B Information ImageADS-B-equipped aircraft broadcast their precise position in space via a digital datalink along with other data, including airspeed, altitude, and whether the aircraft is turning, climbing, or descending. ADS-B receivers that are integrated into the air traffic control system or installed aboard other aircraft provide users with an accurate depiction of real-time aviation traffic, both in the air and on the ground.

Unlike conventional radar, ADS-B works at low altitudes and on the ground so that it can be used to monitor traffic on the taxiways and runways of an airport. It's also effective in remote areas or in mountainous terrain where there is no radar coverage, or where radar coverage is limited.

One of the greatest benefits of ADS-B is its ability to provide the same real-time information to both pilots in aircraft cockpits and ground controllers, so that for the first time, they can both "see" the same data.

How does it work?

ADS-B relies on the satellite-based global positioning system to determine an aircraft's precise location in space. The system then converts the position into a digital code, which is combined with other information such as the type of aircraft, its speed, its flight number, and whether it's turning, climbing, or descending. The digital code, containing all of this information, is updated several times a second and broadcast from the aircraft on a discrete frequency, called a datalink.

Other aircraft and ground stations within about 150 miles receive the datalink broadcasts and display the information in user-friendly format on a computer screen. Pilots in the cockpit see the traffic on a Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI). Controllers on the ground can see the ADS-B targets on their regular traffic display screen, along with other radar targets.

Advantages of ADS-B

  • ADS-B technology, the cornerstone of future air traffic control systems, will improve aviation safety by giving pilots in the cockpit and controllers on the ground reliable, accurate, real-time information about aviation traffic.
  • By using existing, proven, digital communications technology, ADS-B can be implemented rapidly for a relatively low cost.
  • ADS-B provides traffic information to pilots that is currently unavailable to them. Because the system has an effective range of more than 100 miles, ADS-B provides a much greater margin in which to implement conflict detection and resolution than is available with any other system.
  • Pilots and controllers using ADS-B data will be able to determine not only the position of conflicting traffic, but will clearly see the traffic's direction, speed, and relative altitude. As the conflicting traffic turns, accelerates, climbs, or descends, ADS-B will indicate the changes clearly and immediately.
  • ADS-B systems can further enhance aviation safety through features such as automatic traffic call-outs or warnings of imminent runway incursion.
  • In addition to increasing safety in the airline environment, ADS-B technology can be scaled and adapted for use in general aviation and in ground vehicles. This will provide affordable, effective surveillance of all air and ground traffic, even on airport taxiways and runways, and in airspace where radar is ineffective or unavailable.
  • General aviation aircraft can use ADS-B datalinks to receive flight information services such as graphical weather depiction and textual flight advisories. In the past, these services have been unavailable or too expensive for widespread use in general aviation.