ADS-B Satellite Tracking Of Aircraft Approved

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Few people would argue that flying poses possible risks that make it a somewhat dangerous occupation – even if most aircraft manage to make it back to the ground in safety. Inclement weather and the possibility of mid-air collisions are just two of the risks that aircraft face on a daily basis. Now it seems all that is about to change with the FAA approving satellite tracking of aircraft.

Up until now aircraft has been tracked by radar which means that ground services cannot really help pilots plan for certain environmental factors. The use of satellite for this purpose would prove to be far more efficient, since it can reduce the risk of mid-air collisions, help aircraft to avoid weather-related accidents, provide more efficient routes for aircraft and improve situational awareness. With this in mind, FAA Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell has finally given the go-ahead for nationwide deployment of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) satellite tracking system in America’s aircraft. The ground breaking step promises to improve the overall safety and efficiency of air transportation in the country.

The move to make the country’s airways safer and more efficient got a start on November 18 when President Bush signed an executive order for the implementation of NextGen in the nation’s aircraft. Bush said that it was the policy of the United States to establish and preserve a system of air transport that not only met the present needs of the country but also saw to the future needs. The subsequent step taken by Sturgell clears the path for nationwide deployment of the NextGen system in American aircraft by as early as 2013. Approval for the ADS-B system will see eleven ground stations installed in Florida. The stations will give pilots the same information that traffic controllers have access to as well as other useful information such as real-time weather updates, temporary flight restrictions and special-use airspace. All this will go a long way to making the flying as safe as possible and will also enable even more aircraft to take to the skies. Because efficiency can be increased by better planned routes, the system is better for the environment too. It is hoped that by 2013, as many as 794 ground stations will be installed making it possible to use the system anywhere in the world – including places that currently lack radar coverage such as Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

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