Honeywell by the Letters - ADS-B

January 18, 2017 | Author: Robert Wolfersteig


With commercial airspace becoming increasingly crowded, safety and efficiency upgrades being mandated by international regulatory agencies are a fact of aviation life.

One technology in particular – Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). As the name implies, ADS-B allows the aircraft to continually broadcast – squitter – its identification, current position, altitude and velocity. ADS-B is "automatic" because requires neither pilot nor external inputs. It is "dependent" because it depends on data from the aircraft's navigation system.

There are two commonly recognized types of Automatic Dependent Surveillance for aircraft applications.

  • ADS-B Out transmits GPS-based position and other aircraft or vehicle information and implementation is mandated in 2020.
  • ADS-B In allows transmitted signals to be received by other aircraft as well as ground stations. This is not part of the 2020 mandate.

ADS-B Out Mandated in 2020

ADS-B Out enables an aircraft to use precise GPS data to accurately pinpoint its position in real time and to broadcast this data to surrounding aircraft and air traffic control (ATC) situational awareness, giving pilots and ATC a better understanding of where the aircraft is in relation to the traffic around it.

ADS-B technology using onboard position reporting becomes an enabler for improved surveillance, to more accurately track aircraft anywhere in the world. The aircraft determines its own satellite-based position. This information (along with identification, category, velocity, status and other important data) is broadcast every second and can be received by air traffic control ground stations as a supplement to secondary radar or used by other aircraft to provide enhanced situational awareness.

The upcoming 2020 ADS-B Out Mandate dictates that transponders meet the DO-260B standard, which requires Extended Squitter (ability to transmit more information) Mode S and operation on radio frequency of 1090 MHz capabilities. The extended squitter (ES) transmits the aircraft’s position, direction of flight, velocity, vertical climb / descent to air traffic control computers allowing controllers (ADS-B Out), other aircraft and you (ADS-B In), to track each airplane’s position / path with greater accuracy.


ADS-B In allows an aircraft to receive transmissions from ADS-B ground stations and other aircraft. ADS-B In also provides cockpit advisory services consisting of Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B) and Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B). These are free services transmitted automatically to aircraft equipped to receive ADS-B In.

  • FIS-B provides a broad range of textual/graphical weather products and other flight information.
  • TIS-B is an advisory-only service available to 1090ES (and UAT) equipment users. TIS-B increases the pilots' situational awareness by providing traffic information on all transponder-based aircraft within the vicinity of the ADS-B In equipped aircraft receiving the data.

Implementation of ADS-B In is already in use by several airlines and general aviation operators. While 2020 mandate does not include ADS-B In, there are significant benefits for aircraft so equipped. At present, aircraft crossing the ocean at altitudes commonly used by most airlines are required to stay in a track at a given flight level with defined time-based separation “in-trail,” an approximately 80 nautical mile buffer, between aircraft. However, what happens when one aircraft is able to transition to a more fuel-efficient altitude, but is blocked by nearby aircraft?

ADS-B In reduces that buffer to less than 15 nautical miles, allowing airlines to utilize In-Trail Procedures (ITP), enabling an aircraft to safely move to a more optimum altitude thus reducing fuel costs, improving ride quality or both. In this way, more aircraft will be able to fly at the most optimum altitudes for overall fuel savings.

As you can see, there is no question that ADS-B will bring great benefits across the entire aviation spectrum.

Honeywell has ADS-B Out solutions for the 23+ aircraft types equipped with Honeywell cockpits, but since each aircraft type has a different cockpit configurations, there is no-one-size-fits-all solution. So it is very important to contact your preferred service center, Honeywell representative or visit Mandates.

Robert Wolfersteig

Robert Wolfersteig

Robert Wolfersteig is a Marketing Communications Manager at Honeywell Aerospace.

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