Radio Navigation – ADS-B

in Communication and Navigation

ADS-B

Collision avoidance is a significant part of the FAA’s NextGen plan for transforming the National Airspace System (NAS). Increasing the number of aircraft using the same quantity of airspace and ground facilities requires the implementation of new technologies to maintain a high level of performance and safety. The successful proliferation of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), such as GPS, has led to the development of a collision avoidance system known as automatic dependant surveillance broadcast (ADS-B). ADS-B is an integral part of NextGen program. The implementation of its ground and airborne infrastructure is currently underway. ADS-B is active in parts of the United States and around the world. [Figure 11-135]

Figure 11-135. Low power requirements allow remote ADS-B stations with only solar or propane support. This is not possible with ground radar due to high power demands which inhibit remote area radar coverage for air traffic purposes.

Figure 11-135. Low power requirements allow remote ADS-B stations with only solar or propane support. This is not possible with ground radar due to high power demands which inhibit remote area radar coverage for air traffic purposes.

ADS-B is considered in two segments: ADS-B OUT and ADS-B IN. ADS-B OUT combines the positioning information available from a GPS receiver with on-board flight status information, i.e. location including altitude, velocity, and time. It then broadcasts this information to other ADS-B equipped aircraft and ground stations. [Figure 11-136]

Figure 11-136. ADS-B OUT uses satellites to identify the position aircraft. This position is then broadcast to other aircraft and to ground stations along with other flight status information.

Figure 11-136. ADS-B OUT uses satellites to identify the position aircraft. This position is then broadcast to other aircraft and to ground stations along with other flight status information. [click image to enlarge]

Two different frequencies are used to carry these broadcasts with data link capability. The first is an expanded use of the 1090 MHz Mode-S transponder protocol known as 1090 ES. The second, largely being introduced as a new broadband solution for general aviation implementation of ADS-B, is at 978 MHz. A 978 universal access transceiver (UAT) is used to accomplish this. An omni-directional antenna is required in addition to the GPS antenna and receiver. Airborne receivers of an ADS-B broadcast use the information to plot the location and movement of the transmitting aircraft on a flight deck display similar to TCAS. [Figure 11-137]
Figure 11-137. A cockpit display of ADS-B generated targets (left) and an ADS-B airborne receiver with antenna (right).

Figure 11-137. A cockpit display of ADS-B generated targets (left) and an ADS-B airborne receiver with antenna (right).

Inexpensive ground stations (compared to radar) are constructed in remote and obstructed areas to proliferate ADS-B. Ground stations share information from airborne ADS-B broadcasts with other ground stations that are part of the air traffic management system (ATMS). Data is transferred with no need for human acknowledgement. Microwave and satellite transmissions are used to link the network.

For traffic separation and control, ADS-B has several advantages over conventional ground-based radar. The first is the entire airspace can be covered with a much lower expense. The aging ATC radar system that is in place is expensive to maintain and replace. Additionally, ADS-B provides more accurate information since the vector state is generated from the aircraft with the help of GPS satellites. Weather is a greatly reduced factor with ADS-B. Ultra high frequency GPS transmissions are not affected. Increased positioning accuracy allows for higher density traffic flow and landing approaches, an obvious requirement to operate more aircraft in and out of the same number of facilities. The higher degree of control available also enables routing for fewer weather delays and optimal fuel burn rates. Collision avoidance is expanded to include runway incursion from other aircraft and support vehicles on the surface of an airport.

ADS-B IN offers features not available in TCAS. Equipped aircraft are able to receive abundant data to enhance situational awareness. Traffic information services-broadcast (TIS-B) supply traffic information from non-ADS-B aircraft and ADS-B aircraft on a different frequency. Ground radar monitoring of surface targets, and any traffic data in the linked network of ground stations is sent via ADS-B IN to the flight deck. This provides a more complete picture than air-to-air only collision avoidance. Flight information services-broadcast (FIS-B) are also received by ADS-B IN. Weather text and graphics, ATIS information, and NOTAMS are able to be received in aircraft that have 987 UAT capability. [Figure 11-138]

Figure 11-138. ADS-B IN enables weather and traffic information to be sent into the flight deck. In addition to AWOS weather, NWS can also be transmitted.

Figure 11-138. ADS-B IN enables weather and traffic information to be sent into the flight deck. In addition to AWOS weather, NWS can also be transmitted. [click image to enlarge]

ADS-B test units are available for trained maintenance personnel to verify proper operation of ADS-B equipment. This is critical since close tolerance of air traffic separation depends on accurate data from each aircraft and throughout all components of the ADS-B system. [Figure 11-139]
Figure 11-139. An ADS-B test unit.

Figure 11-139. An ADS-B test unit.