FreeFlight ADS-B installation list grows

Equipment installed in aircraft, ground vehicles

March 18, 2014

FreeFlight Systems announced a number of ADS-B installations and approvals during the Aircraft Electronics Association convention, held in Nashville from March 12 through 15.

FreeFlight announced FAA supplemental type certificate approval for a 1090ES ADS-B Out solution for all Sikorsky S-76A/B/C model helicopters. Developed with Peregrine Avionics and DAC International, the STC enables a quick, cost-effective installation of an ADS-B Out system in S-76 rotorcraft. Combining an approved GPS WAAS position source and Mode S transponder, the STC broadens the availability of both 1090ES and 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) solutions from FreeFlight. More than 750 civilian variants of the twin-turbine S-76 have been produced.

Quality Avionics of Brisbane, Australia, completed a certified ADS-B Out installation in a 2013 Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna Grand Caravan 208B. The project allowed a Fiji-based customer to meet an imminent ADS-B Out equipage deadline. A high-integrity GPS WAAS position source and an ADS-B rule-compliant Mode S transponder were integrated with the G1000. The Caravan is operated by Air Wakaya, which transports customers from Nadi International Airport to the private Wakaya Club & Spa Resort.

Business and Commuter Aircraft of Bron, France, received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for a Dassault Falcon 20 ADS-B solution that integrates the FreeFlight Systems 1203C WAAS/GPS with the Rockwell Collins TDR-94/94D Mode S transponder. The 1203C’s integrated 15-channel WAAS/GPS sensor is an approved position source for all ICAO jurisdictions.

FreeFlight’s systems aren’t being utilized only aboard aircraft. The company announced a long-term agreement to supply Exelis with FDL-978-TX RANGR-G ADS-B transponders for installation on airport ground vehicles as part of a vehicle movement area transponder airport operations system that Exelis is developing. The system, part of a broader FAA program to improve runway safety, will allow precise tracking of ground vehicles operating on or near airport runways, taxiways, and other surfaces.

Exelis will deploy its Symphony Vehicle Movement Area Transponder system at 35 airport surveillance detection equipment (ASDE-X) airports across the country. About the size of a consumer GPS receiver, the RANGR-G can be moved between airport vehicles on a seasonal basis. FreeFlight said the system is the first—and currently the only—UAT certified by the FAA for ground vehicle installation.

"Runway safety is a top priority for the FAA, for pilots, controllers, and airport ground personnel," said Tim Taylor, FreeFlight Systems president and CEO. "The system also is a great example of the wide-ranging benefits from ADS-B and other NextGen technologies to come."

Mike Collins

Mike Collins | Technical Editor, AOPA

Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.