The ABCs of ADS-B

ADS-B – By now you have probably heard the term, but do you know what the acronym stands for? ADS-B (Automatic – Dependent – Surveillance – Broadcast) is the FAA’s NextGen equipment requirement for all aircraft by 2020.

Here is a brief explanation of each of the different components:

  • Automatic– Location and other information are automatically transmitted every second (versus 5 to 12 seconds for a transponder) with no action necessary from the pilot.
  • Dependent– The system depends on the aircraft being equipped with a compliant position source and signal transmitter.
  • Surveillance– The signal includes aircraft position and velocity vector, which is derived from the position source, usually GPS receiver. Distance from the ground station does not affect the accuracy of the information.
  • Broadcast– The ADS-B equipment automatically broadcasts position data to controllers and other ADS-B equipped aircraft, and that information is displayed in real time.