January 11, 2005
Traffic information services (TIS) is being cut back. The FAA has made that clear in its response to AOPA's objection to the agency unilaterally eliminating TIS at 22 out of 129 terminal radar control facilities.
As many as 10,000 pilots have installed TIS equipment in their aircraft. The equipment sends them traffic information through a Mode S transponder, when the aircraft is within the radar coverage of certain terminal radar systems.
The FAA's response noted that TIS services will continue for some indefinite period at 107 sites, but 12 sites will be turned off between now and January 2008. Another 10 sites will be decommissioned by 2013, but the exact schedule has yet to be determined (see AOPA's issue brief).
But all Mode S-based TIS sites are likely to disappear over the next 10 to 15 years. "We will continue to provide TIS at the ASR-7, 8, and 9 sites until these programs phase out of the National Airspace System," FAA Vice President for Terminal Services David "Bruce" Johnson wrote AOPA. (ASR-7, 8, and 9 are older terminal radar systems. They are being replaced in 22 areas by ASR-11 systems, which don't support TIS.)
But Johnson noted that the FAA is "expanding traffic information service - broadcast (TIS-B) and flight information service - broadcast (FIS-B)" in the agency's strategic plan "so we can better serve you."
Both TIS-B and FIS-B are transmitted through the ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) system, the system that AOPA has been advocating as the eventual replacement for the Mode C transponder. (See " ADS-B: The Future Is Now" in the November issue of AOPA Pilot.)
"ADS-B gives air traffic control a much better surveillance system than radar, with one-second updates compared to six- or 12-second updates for radar," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA director of advanced technology. "It gives pilots weather and traffic information right in the cockpit. And unlike TIS, which is limited to terminal airspace, the traffic information will work anywhere between equipped aircraft."
November 1, 2005
FAA Systems and Airspace,
Aircraft and Avionics,
FAA Procedures and Services
Pilot Skip Gibbs regularly uses his Bonanza A36 to bring medical volunteers and supplies to remote areas of Mexico. Just before sunset, Gibbs was flying to the historic city of El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa where LIGA International Flying Doctors of Mercy has been doing good works since 1934.
Roscoe Morton, long the lead voice of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s summer celebrations, honored as the “essence of EAA,” has died.
A federal agency chartered to secure national borders has been working inland, targeting general aviation with no clear authority.