The FAA plans to issue a cautionary notice to airmen about military activity planned off the east coast between March 16 and April 14 that could interfere with the 1030/1090 MHz frequency band, reducing the sensitivity of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) systems that operate in that range.
Most general aviation aircraft use ADS-B systems that operate on 978 MHz, and should experience no interference. Similar activities have been carried out in the past with no problems being reported by pilots flying in the area. Nevertheless, AOPA is notifying pilots in advance about the planned activity to “provide a context” for the multiple notams expected and avoid confusion about the impact on GA flight operations, said Rune Duke, AOPA director of government affairs for airspace and air traffic.
AOPA reported last September that short notice provided for similar operations at that time caused concern and confusion about the impact of the activities. Coordination with the FAA is enabling AOPA to provide more advanced notification for the event starting on March 16, and for future events.
Beginning March 16, the activities conducted by the U.S. Navy will generally last eight to 12 hours a day. Notams advising of specific test times and giving details of the geographic area concerned will be published the day before.
No delays or air traffic control disruptions are expected as a result of the exercises, Duke said.
“AOPA works closely with the FAA to ensure that the flying public is well informed and provided the context for these events, and their possible impact,” he said. “We do not expect this event to have an impact on general aviation.”
Duke urged pilots to use the FAA’s notam search tool to find information relevant to their flight operations.
“Military readiness is important, and the new notam format provides enhanced awareness and context,” he said.
Duke addressed several other aspects of the testing about which GA pilots have raised questions before similar past activities by the Navy, which engages in these sorts of tests about four times yearly off the east and west coasts.
No false TCAS alert or issue has ever been experienced by a civil aircraft during one of these training events, Duke said.
Separate GPS notams will be issued for concurrent testing of GPS and IFF (identification, friend or foe) technology planned for March 21, and March 30-31 between 1100 Zulu and 1900 Zulu. Potential IFF interference with electromagnetic spectrum is the reason for issuing the cautionary notam about the exercises, he said.
“AOPA works with the FAA Air Traffic Organization’s System Operations service unit to ensure that the impact of these events is minimized and mitigated,” Duke said.