UK CAA opts for ADS-B as preferred GA tool

British aviation authorities have declared that ADS-B ‘in/out’ using 1090 MHz is their preferred national system to improve electronic conspicuity for general aviation, ideally used through transponders.

The nation’s CAA said it is already working with the GA community and industry to develop an integrated electronic surveillance solution offering both airborne and ground environment benefits.

Increasing the number of aircraft with electronic conspicuity capability will have the potential to:

  • enhance safety through improved situational awareness for both pilots and air traffic control;
  • reduce infringements of controlled airspace;
  • improve access to the UK’s increasingly busy airspace.

To help encourage ADS-B take-up by the GA community, the CAA is launching a survey seeking information on the types of devices private pilots already use and what they would prefer to use in future.

The survey can be viewed here and closes on 29 September.

A number of trials will also be taking place to assess systems and potential uses. These include:

  • A trial at Dundee Airport (run by Highlands and Islands Airports) to investigate a low cost system receiving Mode-S and ADS-B data to provide air traffic controllers with more information on aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace.
  • The transmission of weather data from the ground direct to a GA aircraft cockpit via 978MHz. This trial is being undertaken by an equipment manufacturer (uAvionix) and aeronautical information service provider (SkyDemon). In the longer term this system may also assist drones in safely integrating into the UK’s airspace.
  • Simultaneous transmissions from a GA aircraft with Mode S and a conspicuity device (meeting the criteria in CAP1391). Volunteers from the GA communities are assisting with this trial.
  • A trial run by the Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Strategy (FASVIG) will be looking to provide real time traffic data to GA airfields, enhancing the airfield’s situational awareness of aircraft in its vicinity. http://fasvig.org/ats-traffic-display-trial-to-be-launched-at-uk-ga-airfields

The CAA said these trials will look to build on outputs from previous trials, and gather evidence from user feedback.

Colin Chesterton, CAA future systems coordinator, said: “We are very keen to put electronic conspicuity systems into GA aircraft cockpits as soon as possible. But it’s important we also include the users’ requirements in our decision-making. We have a real opportunity to put in place an affordable system which will increase the safety of GA pilots and give them some really useful features, such as live weather data, and also provide controllers with the data they need to do their jobs.”

“There will be much more to come during the year with the various tests taking place. All will be undertaken in close cooperation with the GA community and equipment manufacturers to make sure that we can implement the findings as quickly as possible.”

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