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Embry-Riddle officials visit AOPA for a demo of Project Capstone equipmentEmbry-Riddle officials visit AOPA for a demo of Project Capstone equipment

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AOPA President Phil Boyer shows ERAU-Prescott Chancellor Dan Carrell Capstone avionics.
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Boyer explains advantages of Capstone avionics to ERAU-Prescott Chancellor Dan Carrell and Flight Department Chairman Sean Jeralds.

Three high-ranking members of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Arizona, campus visited AOPA's headquarters today, to see for themselves the advantages of combining a multipurpose datalink with a multifunction cockpit display, as is used in the FAA's Capstone program in Alaska. Two aircraft owned by AOPA and the Air Safety Foundation are equipped with the same equipment.

"The situational awareness the system provides to the pilot is simply incredible," said ERAU-Prescott Chancellor Dan Carrell. "We handle some 200,000 operations each year, and with that amount of traffic, keeping track of other aircraft becomes critical."

"We were impressed by the bundled capabilities of the system," added Randy Johnson, the dean of the College of Aviation at ERAU's Prescott campus.

Sean Jeralds, the chairman of the Prescott campus flight department, was also on hand for the demonstration.

"Capstone technology worked well in Alaska," AOPA President Phil Boyer told the visitors. "What AOPA would like to see now is for similar implementation in areas of the Lower 48, such as Prescott, with a high volume of traffic but little, if any, radar coverage. AOPA has maintained a close relationship with Embry-Riddle for many years now, and we're glad to have this opportunity to share an exciting new technology."

Automatic dependent surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology transmits an aircraft's GPS-derived position, altitude, airspeed, and projected track to other aircraft similarly equipped and to ground stations. The datalink capabilities also allow ground stations to uplink information about transponder-equipped non-ADS-B aircraft using the traffic information service-broadcast (TIS-B) system, as well as both textual and graphical weather data via the flight information Service-broadcast (FIS-B) system.

AOPA continues to work with the FAA toward a goal of expanding these capabilities to key sites in the next few years.

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