Juneau ADS-B sets stage for final rule

May 4, 2010

The FAA has completed the final steps needed to move forward with requiring Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out in cockpits by 2020. 

The agency declared initial operating capability for the use of ADS-B at Anchorage Center for air traffic separation services in Juneau, Alaska, April 28, shortly after it achieved the same capability in Philadelphia. Juneau was the last key piece of ground infrastructure the FAA had to complete before issuing its final rule mandating ADS-B Out in all airspace where a transponder is required today.

ADS-B has the capability to expand surveillance services to areas not currently covered by radar. Philadelphia and Anchorage were the last of four pioneer sites for the rollout of ADS-B technology as part of the transition to satellite-based surveillance and navigation in the NextGen air transportation system. In its involvement in modernization planning, AOPA has worked to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is put in place for general aviation pilots to benefit from new technologies. The association continues to work closely with the FAA to ensure that pilots will be able to easily identify benefits of ADS-B and equip with affordable avionics.

Before Philadelphia and Juneau, the FAA rolled out ADS-B in Louisville, Ky., and the Gulf of Mexico. Philadelphia was chosen as one of four demonstration sites because of the presence of UPS, which has some 100 aircraft equipped with the avionics needed to take advantage of ADS-B. US Airways, the dominant airline at Philadelphia International Airport, also is equipping some of its airplanes, according to the FAA. Philadelphia is considered a key test of the system because of its busy East Coast location.

With those four areas now taking advantage of ADS-B, the FAA is expected to move forward with the final rule in the coming weeks. It is expected to set a 2020 deadline for all aircraft flying above 10,000 feet or in Class B or C airspace (all airspace where a transponder is now required) to transmit ADS-B signals.