Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a new satellite-based technology that enables equipped aircraft and air traffic control to graphically view identical real-time traffic information. This technology is the planned cornerstone of the future air traffic control system, called the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
ADS-B would replace today's aging radar infrastructure with much greater capabilities. ADS-B depicts an aircraft's precise airspeed and altitude, as well as its movement, and updates all of this information via a datalink system every second. ADS-B ground stations provide coverage from high altitude to the surface, and also can be used for monitoring airport ground operations. ADS-B is a better solution than radar in remote areas because multiple ground stations can be installed for a fraction of the cost of just one radar station. ADS-B's two-way transmission capability offers tremendous benefit — while an aircraft is transmitting its position, it also can be receiving proximate traffic information, weather graphics, and airspace restrictions.
ADS-B uses global positioning system (GPS) to determine and track the precise location of an aircraft's position in space. GPS forwards the aircraft's position to the on-board universal access transceiver (UAT), where it is converted to code and combined with other aircraft information (N number, airspeed, altitude, direction, and attitude); then it is transmitted by datalink to other aircraft and ground stations within about 150 miles. Display screens in all equipped aircraft, as well as in air traffic control sites on the ground, show the ADS-B targets, providing critical information for traffic management and conflict avoidance.
ADS-B has been tested and refined in Alaska under the Capstone Program for the past seven years, where it was very capable and useful for tracking both traffic and weather when bundled with a GPS and a moving map such as the Garmin AT MX20 multifunction display.
As the FAA begins to implement ADS-B nationwide over the next decade, AOPA insists that weather information be available for free. Pilots in ADS-B-equipped aircraft could have the same weather resources in the cockpit that we now have on the ground — Nexrad weather radar images no more than six minutes old, current area and terminal weather forecasts, and current weather reports.
AOPA is concerned about the cost of implementing ADS-B technology. Today, a UAT costs about $8,000 installed. AOPA is pushing to bring the price down to about what a transponder currently costs and insisting that UATs eventually replace Mode C transponders, thereby avoiding the duplicate expense of replacing transponders and adding ADS-B equipment.
AOPA continues to represent our members to ensure that the transition to ADS-B is beneficial and affordable for the largest group of aviation users in the world.
Answers to frequently asked questions about your AOPA membership
Q: I'm receiving more renewal notices than I need. Can I get just one renewal notice sent to me each year?
A: Yes. Contact Member Services at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672), 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday, or send us an e-mail and we'll update your mail preferences on your membership record.
You'll receive one notice just prior to your renewal month and won't receive any more if you respond promptly to that one. Or better yet, join the more than 150,000 members who take advantage of our easy Automatic Annual Renewal Plan. We'll bill your credit card on the first day of your renewal month and you'll receive a $4 discount when you enroll if you haven't previously been enrolled in the program.
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Q: I only fly recreationally once or twice a month. Why do I need the AOPA Legal Services Plan?
A: Pilots who fly less frequently can find themselves unaware of FAA rule changes and new regulations, making them more vulnerable to violations. The plan provides valuable services you may need as a pilot, no matter how infrequently you fly, such as unlimited legal consultation on covered plan matters, review of your key aviation documents, and much more. At $26 per year, the AOPA Legal Services Plan is an affordable way to protect your certificate and guarantee aviation legal assistance.
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