February 13, 2018

Consulting on an ADS-B mandate

There are many technologies that have delivered improvements in aviation safety and efficiency and have therefore had wide adoption. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast is certainly on track to be one of them.

ADS-B Out is a highly robust system that automatically transmits aircraft position and other flight data at a high repetition rate and with accuracy and integrity. This data is used by air traffic controllers to depict the aircraft’s position, altitude and other unique flight data without the need for radar and at a much lower cost. As of December 2017, the rate of ADS-B equipage in Canadian domestic airspace is 33%.

By using ground based ADS-B, NAV CANADA has extended surveillance to cover 4 million square kilometres of airspace previously without ATS surveillance. This has enabled safe increases in airspace capacity and more fuel efficient routings. Later this year, global ATS surveillance will be made available by the reception of ADS-B signals from the Iridium NEXT low earth orbiting satellites carrying the Aireon payload.

NAV CANADA has initiated a study to assess where and how Aireon could be used to enhance ATS surveillance coverage in Canadian Domestic Airspace and to examine the potential benefits of a Canadian ADS-B Out performance requirement mandate. Once completed, the study will be sent to Transport Canada as the decision for any mandate rests with the government.

Where VHF coverage exists, it is expected that Aireon will support the application of a 5 nautical mile separation between aircraft, providing the opportunity for significant efficiencies.

ADS-B will provide other safety benefits such as allowing controllers to minimize vertical errors by allowing for the selected flight level set by the flight crew to be compared to the cleared flight level. ADS-B will also ensure aircraft are visible to certified ACAS/TCAS systems, and will improve flight crew situational awareness through reception and display of ADS-B transmitting aircraft on tablet displays or smart phones.  Aireon’s ALERT service will also provide location and flight track information to assist emergency services with locating any ADS-B equipped aircraft anywhere in the world.

ADS-B has the potential to provide greater safety, capacity and efficiency and provide a flexible, expandable platform to accommodate future traffic growth while avoiding possible system delays and limitations in service.

ADS-B equipage mandates are not new. By January 1, 2020, aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out to fly in most controlled airspace in the United States. Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and the European Union have also announced some form of ADS-B mandate.

NAV CANADA is currently examining a potential phased approach as follows:

  1. Class A, B and FL600 and above (Class E)
  2. Class C airspace, Class D control zones and Class E control zones
  3. All other controlled airspace

The study will examine system impact and impacts on customers and stakeholders as the proposed phasing encompasses progressively more airspace.

Consultations are currently underway and feedback from our customers and stakeholders is a critical part of the study. To provide your input, contact service@navcanada.ca with “ADS-B Mandate” in the subject line.


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