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Features December 2012 Issue

There’s No Free Lunch

ADS-B promises a lot. ATC will get better separation. Weíll get traffic and some capable weather products, both for free. Admission, though, is both confusing and expensive.

The primary purpose of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is to provide the FAA with the next generation of ATC surveillance capability at lower cost. ADS-B can be more accurate while simultaneously reducing the installation and maintenance costs of existing radar systems. It permits greater coverage where radar isnít practical, such as in mountainous areas and over the Gulf of Mexico. With ADS-B, ATC expects to safely handle more traffic in the same airspace. Much of the cost justification is based on the elimination of about half of the current radar installations. But donít plan on tossing your transponder yet. Radar will still be used as backup to the ADS-B system and for TCAS.

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