FAA NextGen ADS-B ImplementationNexGen Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, enables behind the scenes automated communications between your plane and ATC, as well as between your plane and other aircraft. There’s a 2020 FAA equipage mandate that requires anyone flying in controlled airpace that now requires a Mode-C transponder to have a certified ADS-B Out capability installed by midnight on December 31, 2019. No ADS-B? Then for all practical purposes, no IFR flights, no flights in Class A/B/C airspace, and no flights in many portions of Class E airspace.

ADS-B Out — Broadcasting Your Position and Motion

Using a WAAS-approved GPS position source, which can be a dedicated panel-mounted Nav/Com, or a WAAS GPS receiver integrated within your ADS-B transponder, your plane continuously broadcasts its current position, ground track, speed over the ground, altitude, vertical speed, and N-number to all ADS-B listeners or requesters.  You’re broadcasting your data, so it’s referred to as the “Out” portion of ADS-B, and it’s this Out capability that’s required by 2020.

ADS-B Out gives ATC and the aircraft around you the data they need to display a very accurate traffic picture with trend lines showing the relative motion of your plane so that they can direct you, in the case of ATC, or avoid you, in the case of other aircraft. The traffic position data is much more accurate and much more timely than anything derived from ATC radar and it also works in areas where radar coverage is poor or nonexistent.

ADS-B In — See the Traffic Around You
Garmin Pilot App ADS-B Traffic Display

Garmin Pilot App ADS-B Traffic Display. Click to enlarge.

In exchange for playing along and spending the money on ADS-B Out, you in turn can receive customized traffic data sent specifically to your aircraft. The data is uploaded to your ADS-B Receiver from the network of ADS-B ground stations via the 978 MHz Traffic Information Service–Broadcast (TIS-B). The FAA’s ATC system actually creates a TIS-B data packet just for you, and only you, that shows you all known traffic, detected via ADS-B or ground radar, within a 15 nm radius and 3,500 ft +/- your altitude. The traffic data can be displayed on your tablet and/or your panel mounted displays.

While you may receive some ADS-B traffic data without broadcasting your own ADS-B Out, it will be somebody else’s TIS-B data and as a result, coverage will be incomplete and intermittent. NexAir can design the perfect ADS-B Out solution for your needs, with ideal GPS and ADS-B antenna placements that maximize your visibility to ATC and other aircraft. You’ll then receive the most complete N-number specific ADS-B traffic data possible from official FAA sources during every flight within ADS-B coverage areas. Get it right, get it done, and do it with NexAir. See our Traffic page for more information.

ADS-B In — Access Nationwide Weather, NOTAMs and TFRs for Free
Garmin Pilot App ADS-B NEXRAD, Winds Aloft and METAR Display

Garmin Pilot App ADS-B NEXRAD, Winds Aloft and METAR Display. Click to enlarge.

Once airborne, anyone with an ADS-B receiver, portable or panel mounted, can receive free weather data uplinked from FAA sources. This generic weather data is uploaded to your ADS-B Receiver from the network of ADS-B ground stations via the 978 MHz Flight Information Services-Broadcast (FIS-B). You can receive METARs, TAFs, SPECIs, NEXRAD (regional and CONUS), NOTAMs, AIRMETs, SIGMETs, Status of SUAs, TFRs, Winds Aloft, Temperatures Aloft, and PIREPS. The weather data is then displayed on your tablet and/or your panel mounted displays. You do not need an ADS-B Out solution to receive free weather data from any ADS-B Ground Station in view of your aircraft. NexAir will optimize your ADS-B receiver antenna placement so as to maximize reception ranges and reliability.

There are major differences in the completeness and timeliness of ADS-B FIS-B weather data versus the weather data delivered by commercial satellite services. You should understand these differences before selecting a weather solution that you’ll use to make safety-of-life decisions for yourself and your passengers. See our Weather page for more information.

Let’s Address Some Very Common Questions

When NexAir holds a seminar on ADS-B, we typically get three highly-charged questions.

1. Will the FAA back down and extend the December 31st, 2019 deadline. (Jan. 1, 2020 is the start date for compliance).
2. What do I need?
3. How much?

As for the deadline, every indication and report indicates the FAA will not budge from their deadline. Given the high, pent-up demand for ADS-B solutions, many ADS-B products have entered the market in the last five years, creating purchase options and price competition for the equipment. Installation costs vary by type of type of ADS-B equipment, aircraft make/model, and, to a large extent, the condition of the existing avionics, antennas and wiring.

Dave’s Your Man When ADS-B’s In Your Plan

Dave Fetherston, NexAir Avionics’ Founder and General Manager, has decades of experience in avionics and has been a pilot since the 1970s with dozens of aircraft types in his logbook. So review the following questions, compile your answers, then email or call Dave with your ADS-B questions. He’ll help you choose the ADS-B equipment appropriate for your aircraft and that meets your flying requirements, style, and budget.

This is a little like ordering from a Chinese dinner menu with many, many choices, all dependent on a few key questions.  The following are the key questions that NexAir Avionics will ask you in an effort to custom fit your aircraft and your typical mission profiles with the proper ADS-B equipment.
Aircraft are a lot like cars; they are used in a million different ways for a million different reasons. A Cirrus SR22T flying for business will not fit the same mold as Piper Cub flying off airport. NexAir does not have a one-size-fits-all package; each aircraft is as individual as the pilot. So we’ll tailor your ADS-B solution to your needs and budget.

ADS-B requires some sort of WAAS GPS position source. If you already have a WAAS GPS navigator installed, then you’ll just need to add ADS-B Out to become ADS-B compliant. If you don’t have a WAAS GPS navigator and you fly IFR, now may be the time to upgrade your aircraft with a WAAS GPS navigator, which can also serve as your ADS-B position source.

On the other hand, many pilots only fly VFR, therefore, they don’t need a WAAS GPS navigator. These pilots may want to consider one of the many ADS-B units that include their own built-in WAAS GPS positioning source, all of which can be remote mounted, thereby eliminating the need to change the panel which reduces costs and install time.

The type of transponder you have is important because some can be made ADS-B compliant with a simple software update, some require both a software and hardware update, and still others can be swapped out for an entirely new unit out using a true plug-and-play replacement that reuses your existing tray and cabling.

The U.S. allows ADS-B transponders that operate at 978 MHz or 1090 MHz; the rest of the world uses only 1090 MHz. So, even if you just fly through Canada once a year on your way to AirVenture, you’ll need a 1090 MHz transponder to comply with Canada’s ADS-B requirements. Examples of 1090mhz transponders are Garmin’s GTX330ES and Avidyne’s AXP340.
You’ve probably heard “ADS-B Out” and “ADS-B In and Out” jargon. The FAA’s 2020 mandate only requires you to transmit your locational information, i.e., send information out. This will make your aircraft compliant. To be compliant and receive free weather and traffic you’ll need the capabilities to transmit and receive, also known as “ADS-B In and Out.” This distinction is very important as it divides the available equipment in half and allows us to narrow down your equipment needs.
If you are of the mind that you’d like to upgrade your avionics and get the ADS-B installation completed, you can often save on installation costs by doing both jobs at the same time, compared to making two trips into the shop.

Start the Conversation

If you’ve seen something here that sparks your imagination, get the conversation started. Email Dave Fetherston, call him at 877-318-0975, or submit an online Request for Quote or Request Repairs or Maintenance short form. We’re ready to collaborate with you so that you, too, can have a smarter plane and be a smarter pilot.