Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/27/10 08:50 PM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Does anyone have a line on the text of the FAA reauthorization bill which the Senate just passed? There are a couple of items in there which I'd like to see for myself:

- Apparently it mandates both ADS-B In and ADS-B Out for all aircraft (no exceptions for aircraft without electrical systems).

- News reports say that, in reaction to the NWA Minneapolis overflight, the bill prohibits all personal electronic devices in the cockpit. Can't figure out if that's just Part 121 or all of us.

I've done the Google searching and come up empty-handed. The Thomas entries are downright indecipherable. I'd appreciate any pointers.

Regards,
Joe


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/27/10 09:44 PM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Joe - I haven't seen the text of the bill, but understand, as you do, that
the ADS-B language relates to "all aircraft" (in required by 2015, out by
2018). I assume that will be reconciled with the House bill, so there
is a good chance that sanity will prevail, at least outside of the Mode C
veils.

I had read that the personal electronic device ban was for Part 121, but it
may also include 135 and Part 91-K, don't know. I have seen nothing to
indicate that it would apply to Part 91 ops.


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/27/10 10:16 PM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Joe -- Looking further, Section 44731(a) of the bill as passed by the Senate
last week provides that Part 121 flight crew members are not allowed "to use a
personal wireless communications device or laptop computer while at the crew
member's duty station on the flight deck of such an aircraft while the
aircraft is being operated." there is an exception for use of such devices
that are directly related to operation of an aircraft, or for emergency or
employment-related communications, in accordance with procedures to be
established by the carrier and FAA.

Section 315(b) requires the FAA to start rulemaking no later than 45 days
after enactment for, among other things....
(1)(A)(ii) ...."require all aircraft to be equipped with [ADS-B Out]
technology by 2015".

Section 315(b)(2)(B) says that "all aircraft" must be equipped with ADS-B In
by 2018.


The only proviso to these dates is that before the date on which all aircraft
are required to be equipped as described above, a body know as the "Air
Traffic Cocntrol Modernization Oversight Board" must verify that the systems
works and is working with proper ground infrastructure, certification and
interfaces. Section 315(b)(3) is where this is located.


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/27/10 10:19 PM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

The URL for the bill as passed by the Senate is here:

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid
=f:h1586eas.txt.pdf

or

http://snipurl.com/v434b


sreyoB yrraL
(AVSIG Member)
03/27/10 11:14 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

there is an exception for use of such devices ... employment-related communications




Sounds like working on your bids to me! :)


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 06:34 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Thanks! This'll help me get to sleep... <g>

Regards,
Joe


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 06:41 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

Joe -- Looking further, Section 44731(a) of the bill as passed by the Senate
last week provides that Part 121 flight crew members are not allowed "to use a
personal wireless communications device or laptop computer while at the crew
member's duty station on the flight deck of such an aircraft while the
aircraft is being operated." there is an exception for use of such devices
that are directly related to operation of an aircraft, or for emergency or
employment-related communications, in accordance with procedures to be
established by the carrier and FAA.

Section 315(b) requires the FAA to start rulemaking no later than 45 days
after enactment for, among other things....
(1)(A)(ii) ...."require all aircraft to be equipped with [ADS-B Out]
technology by 2015".

Section 315(b)(2)(B) says that "all aircraft" must be equipped with ADS-B In
by 2018.


The only proviso to these dates is that before the date on which all aircraft
are required to be equipped as described above, a body know as the "Air
Traffic Cocntrol Modernization Oversight Board" must verify that the systems
works and is working with proper ground infrastructure, certification and
interfaces. Section 315(b)(3) is where this is located.




Thanks for all that. The ADS-B In requirement was quite a surprise to me as I expect the airlines will strongly resist it (they're keeping TCAS, what do they need another traffic detector for?) As you said in your other post, it'll be interesting to see how the House/Senate conference sorts this out.

Good to know the Captain's iPod won't be taken away. <g>

Regards,
Joe


Tom Tyson [SUW]
(Glider Guider)
03/28/10 08:59 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

[Changing the direction of my post] What are the minimum requirements for ADS-B.

To be honest, I haven't paid a huge amount of attention to the technology since I come from an environment where limited battery power is the only source of electricity and transponders are voluntary.

GPS information isn't a problem as most sailplanes already carry a receiver.

Is Mode-S the only method of data broadcast, and if so, what is the minimum power requirement?

And finally, what sort of receiver / display will be required for ADS-B in?

- TT


Tom Tyson [SUW]
(Glider Guider)
03/28/10 09:29 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

As an aside, if the ADS-B requirement comes to pass, I can't wait to see what happens to the warning system at the first soaring race where there are twenty or thirty sailplanes stacked up in one 500'-1000' diameter thermal prior to the start of the race, all within 2000' altitude of each other. This is not a particularly unusual occurrence, even in today's non-surveillance environment. Fortunately, after the start everyone tends to diverge to "do their own thing" and the chance for midairs decreases dramatically.

And to the glider geeks here:

ADS-B In could institutionalize leeching and have the unintended consequence of killing competitive soaring the the US. It would also probably make soaring more dangerous for midairs, as everyone will now know where the best lift is at any given moment and all will try to converge on the same thermal, recreating and preserving the prestart gaggle for the entire race.

- TT


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 10:04 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

[Changing the direction of my post] What are the minimum requirements for ADS-B.

To be honest, I haven't paid a huge amount of attention to the technology since I come from an environment where limited battery power is the only source of electricity and transponders are voluntary.

GPS information isn't a problem as most sailplanes already carry a receiver.

Is Mode-S the only method of data broadcast, and if so, what is the minimum power requirement?

And finally, what sort of receiver / display will be required for ADS-B in?





The existing proposed rulemaking (October, 2007) would have required a certified WAAS GPS or FMS with equivalent precision as its location input. That NPRM was sent back to the locker room for a lot of reasons - no one really knows what's going to come out of the FAA now. With this stuff in play I'd be surprised if the FAA issued a final rule without waiting for, and digesting, whatever requirements get handed down by the enabling legislation.

You can broadcast ADS-B out on either Mode-S or on 930MHz. The Mode-S signal piggybacks on your transponder return so power would be pretty much the same as a transponder. The only difference is that it would still be broadcasting even if there weren't a radar around. For all practical purposes 930MHz is in the same frequency band so I'd expect power requirements to be similar. There could be some advantage to the simpler broadcast requirements of 930MHz when you're really counting electrons - as you would in a sailplane. But I haven't studied the technology at that level enough to really have an opinion.

At the moment the only ADS-B In receivers on the market only tie into certified MFD's. There's at least one outfit, though, working on a portable ADS-B In receiver that will deliver traffic info to a 496. Dunno if it can feed the 496 weather info, too.

Regards,
Joe


Tom Tyson [SUW]
(Glider Guider)
03/28/10 10:30 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

It will be interesting if this comes to pass. A very limited check shows about 5500 J-3s registered in the US. I wonder what form an ADS-B installation would take for them.

- TT


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 01:05 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

It will be interesting if this comes to pass. A very limited check shows about 5500 J-3s registered in the US. I wonder what form an ADS-B installation would take for them.





I don't know. You might want to contact any glider groups you belong to and have them lean on your elected representatives. I wouldn't just leave it up to the critters on the Hill to figure this out on their own.

Regards,
Joe


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 02:41 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

The two ADS-B boxes are either Mode S through a transponder, or the 900mHz band Universal Access Transceiver. UAT is a FAR better datalink unit than mode S will ever be, but the airlines didn't want to have to get UATs since they already bought mode S transponders for TCAS. The bonus with ADS-B In is the ability to exchange data with the aircraft in reasonable quantity (at least for GA types with UATs), which I expect will turn into "if you build it, they will come" from an industry standpoint. It starts making improved situational awareness fairly easy to achieve, interactive weather and flight information services have a nice path for data exchange, etc. It also provides a connection for safety warnings to crews, especially in situations like runway incursions at airports that don't have expensive tower systems like ASDE-X and a controller in the middle to relay the alerts.

I dunno - I think robust two-way data communications to aircraft will be just as popular and useful as it is to homes and businesses. From a data standpoint, sticking with mode S is just lame. FAA is talking about getting away from radars, so aircraft need something aboard to avoid becoming invisible to ATC. That would be ADS-B Out... but if you want to get anything substantial back to the aircraft (that is, if you'd like the crew to be able to tell something has improved...), you need ADS-B In, too. In the long run, it seems clear to me that it might as well be done right if we're going to go to all the trouble of a big change in the system. However, I expect that no-electrical and other limited users will be accommodated somehow, just as they generally are now.


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 03:09 PM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Scott -- The problem with "IN" is that the various weather services and all
that can't be received on the ground reliably, unless within line of sight of
a ground station. I remember all the Collins articles from 10-15 years
ago, with his King ground-based weather display, launching out of HGR or
wherever and realizing, only when climbing through 4,000' or so, that the wx
picture was really crappier than when he last got his brief in the FBO. This
is where the XM product is far superior and the ADS-B In adds nothing of
much interest to me. With Mode S already, the upgrade to ADS-B Out isn't too
high a price, and price will detemrine if I go with the UAT or an active
traffic system.


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 03:50 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

FAA is talking about getting away from radars, so aircraft need something aboard to avoid becoming invisible to ATC.




I've been trying to do that for years... <g>

I'm in the other Scott's camp. The active traffic detection and XM weather already in my plane give me better service than ADS-B In ever will. If the gov't. wants to replace its secondary beacons with ADS-B, fine. I'll throw 1040 ES onto my transponder and be done with it. I don't need the FAA to spend billions of my dollars building out ADS-B transmitters to provide me ADS-B In.

Further, I don't think anyone else really does either. There is no theoretical reason the electronics gurus can't build a black box which receives both 1040ES and the UAT signal from other planes. If you want awareness of other aircraft around you, you can pick up their signals yourself - you don't need the FAA to do it for you.

FIS-B, the weather service, is just a marketing add-on to ADS-B's traffic function. All the FAA is doing is buying and rebroadcasting WSI's weather service. If the collective "we" decide that in-cockpit weather service should be mandatory, I *know* it would be a lot more cost effective to just mandate that we all have XM or WSI in the cockpit. Again, nobody needs the FAA to do this for us.

As for "Build a datalink and they will come": put something useful on the datalink and they will come. No need for anyone to spend money on it until that time.

No, it's not a hot button of mine or anything. <g> And, yes, I said all this in my response to the NPRM.

Regards,
Joe


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 10:58 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

>> line of sight of a ground station...

Well, yeah - but 15 years ago there weren't a lot of ground stations. Since they will be part of the surveillance system and a lot cheaper than a radar site, I expect that there will be better coverage than before out of ATC necessity, if nothing else. The rest of the data comm is gravy. Unless you just have mode S, in which case it's au jus.


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
03/28/10 11:10 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

>> put something useful on the datalink and they will come...

Well, sort of - every time they do something like this, there's always the chicken and egg argument. Nobody's going to front the service cost unless there are customers, and the customers don't want to spend the money until there is service available. Hence my preference for a generalized decent datalink that can start out supporting the basic surveillance, collision avoidance, and weather services, but still have capacity left to carry other services as they're developed. Mode S is already breathing pretty hard, so I don't think that's a good long-term approach. Of course, it does have the advantage of stability... what you see is pretty much all you're ever going to get.

While you're right in thinking that a dual UAT/Mode S box is technically possible, I dunno - it seems kind of silly to build half a UAT (a UAR?) when doing the whole thing wouldn't be a whole lot more trouble and would be a lot more robust than mode S. But then I don't have an airplane, either.


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/29/10 07:23 AM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Scott -- Yes, there will be more towers, but there won't be *that* many more
to provide coverage to the ground at all the outlying non-towered fields in
Maine, upstate NY, NC, TN, Newfoundland, let alone in the western mountain
states. These little fields often don't allow good internet connectivity (or
the office has limited hours) which makes the availability of wx on the
ground of even greater importance than at HPN, BED, IAD or places like that.
I have no interest in being an early (or mid-term) adopter of the new federal
service that isn't as good as what I have now.


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/29/10 08:38 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

Well, sort of - every time they do something like this, there's always the chicken and egg argument. Nobody's going to front the service cost unless there are customers, and the customers don't want to spend the money until there is service available. Hence my preference for a generalized decent datalink that can start out supporting the basic surveillance, collision avoidance, and weather services, but still have capacity left to carry other services as they're developed.




This is where we have a philosophical difference. If *you* want to front the cost of a system with potential but no defined benefit, I'm happy to watch you spend your money to do so. But I'm not happy when you're spending my money (both as a taxpayer and as an aircraft owner) on your cause.

Quote:

While you're right in thinking that a dual UAT/Mode S box is technically possible, I dunno - it seems kind of silly to build half a UAT (a UAR?) when doing the whole thing wouldn't be a whole lot more trouble and would be a lot more robust than mode S. But then I don't have an airplane, either.




There are two issues embedded in here: The first is technical. Building a transmitter is *always* a lot more trouble than building a receiver. It's considerably more expensive, too. Since I'm required to carry a transponder anyway, I can piggyback my Mode S ADS-B Out signal onto that transmitter relatively economically. (There is no difference in the data transmitted from the aircraft on Mode S ES than on UAT.) Then, if so inclined, I'd only have to equip myself with a 1040ES receiver and a 930MHz UAT receiver to hear other planes for myself. The UAT receiver could be upgraded to receive any other useful data the FAA wants to throw at me, after the FAA figures out what that is. Any new applications will require an upgrade anyway - under all scenarios.

The second issue is this ridiculous standard for 2 frequency bands for ADS-B. Yeah, I understand the Mode S frequencies are already saturated. Then I don't understand why we support ADS-B Out on Mode S at all. If the frequencies are saturated in the major terminal areas, as a number of experts have told me, 1040 ES ADS-B isn't going to work there. Period. Seems kind of silly.

I think the core concept of ADS-B is brilliant. The FAA's implementation is a complete mess. Gee, there's a surprise.

Regards,
Joe


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
03/29/10 05:09 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

XM can go away any time they decide they don't want to provide the service any more. It's great stuff, but not something that can be adopted as a reliable standard. When FAA looks at service levels, that matters - and may well lead them to implement something that appears somewhat redundant but is under their control. Else, minimum available services become commercial pot luck, which isn't really how they want to operate. And perhaps the need to improve the coverage level of said FAA-obligated service will lead to innovations that do just that. Or you could end up with nothing when XM decides that weather's just not their bag anymore and the FAA hasn't done anything to provide similar services.

Remember, FAA's trying to design something that works to a specified standard that they can keep there. Dependence on non-contractual commercial services won't necessarily achieve that.


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
03/29/10 05:27 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Your UAR isn't going to have a whole lot to listen to from other airplanes if they don't buy UAT's, either.

The dual-band ADS-B concept wasn't driven so much by saturation on the mode S datalink (although that's an issue) as it was by people/companies who wanted to stick with what they already had. As previously noted, mode S is a crummy datalink compared to UAT. IMHO, in a data-driven world, it is remarkably shortsighted to intentionally limit future aviation data services to what can be carried by mode S. So, the FAA decided to support both - but not because it was a great technical idea. They just caved to pressure from mode S users who don't want to upgrade, while allowing others to progress. For the argument you're making, I guess that should seem reasonable. I think supporting surveillance, collision avoidance, and weather IS a defined benefit - and doing it in a flexible way with room to grow seemes to me to be a lot better than trying to cram more stuff onto the mode S channel when it can barely handle what's there now.

>> (There is no difference in the data transmitted from the aircraft on Mode S ES than on UAT.)

Now, maybe not. How long would you think that a reasonable limitation? As long as both systems are in use, they do need to play nice together, so to some extent Mode S will serve as lowest common denominator for data transfer.

I don't want anybody to waste money, either - but mode S vs UAT strikes me as about like arguing dial-up vs FIOS. I don't know too many people who regret upgrading, and I'm happy that the FCC didn't settle on 56K as the standard for the next 30 years.


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/29/10 08:50 PM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Scott -- Sure, XM could crump or go bankrupt. But so long as it's there,
it's more to my liking than what the fed is offering. What makes the most
sense is for this additional service to be space-based, perhaps on a model
like DUAT, private vendors with government contracts, that may ensure
continuity over the long haul.

Unfortunately, that lowest common denominator approach isn't working in the
marketplace.


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/29/10 11:05 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

You make a very good point about the data communication architecture. Unfortunately, that isn't how the FAA is selling or implementing ADS-B. Trying to boil this down to essentials, here's how I see it:

- The label of ADS-B and the technology's stated purpose is to allow the FAA to replace their surveillance system with something cheaper. Fine. I'm willing to go along with that, within limits.

- The only thing necessary to implement the above objective is ADS-B Out. Everything about ADS-B In is optional, designed to serve some greater purpose.

- If ADS-B Out will work reliably on Mode S, that is clearly the most economical solution for the user community. (And if it's an "either-or" question, it's an economic "don't care" for the FAA. As is, the FAA is spending for both.) Given a choice, the user community will choose Mode S based on economics.

- In supporting the "two-band" solution, the FAA is implicitly agreeing that ADS-B Out will work reliably on Mode S. (If it won't work reliably on Mode S there are a whole host of embedded issues that boil down to your Chairman calling up the Administrator and asking "WTF do you think you're doing?")

- So the only reason to mess around with UAT's is to support some greater purpose called ADS-B In that has nothing to do with what ADS-B, the technology, actually means.

- As you've gathered by now, I don't see a present value in the collision avoidance and weather services which the FAA proposes and someone has lobbied to mandate for ADS-B In. Those problems have already been solved in other ways. IMO we don't need the FAA to solve them again. "Waste" is the word that comes to mind. I have a bunch of other, less-polite words for the FAA's practice of trying to make ADS-B In and Out seem inseparable in order to sell the program. In short: I think the FAA should be spending its resources and mine on problems that haven't been solved, not on ones that have.

- I hear you loud and clear on the data comm technology. When there is a critical service which cannot function without it, that will be the time to sell us on the new technology. We haven't seen that point yet. This is a technology in search of a problem.

Regards,
Joe


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/30/10 07:23 AM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Joe -- A'men, brother. You've nicely described how I've come to view this
stuff, more eloquently and concisely than I would have. And, it's not just
the FAA that is to blame for the "IN" mess...I think AOPA really screwed up
on this, too.


Sean Franklin
(Top Gun)
03/30/10 11:15 AM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

I don't see a present value in the collision avoidance and weather services which the FAA proposes and someone has lobbied to mandate for ADS-B In.



Joe, I agree with you on weather. However if at some point in the future there will be airplanes buzzing around with UAT's but no transponders, traffic avoidance becomes a big issue. If ADS-B becomes mandatory, at what point will transponders become optional?


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
03/30/10 11:24 AM
FAA Reauthorization Bill

Sean -- I don't think that they will become optional in the foreseeable
future, as the air carriers rely on the transponders for the TCAS system.


Joe Budge (W29)
(Top Gun)
03/30/10 02:00 PM
Re: FAA Reauthorization Bill

Quote:

If ADS-B becomes mandatory, at what point will transponders become optional?




The key to this question lies with what the FAA decides to do with TCAS. In order for transpoders to become optional, the FAA would have to mandate that *all* TCAS systems be upgraded to accept traffic data from both transponders and ADS-B UATs. This would have to happen by some specific date, and would have to apply to all TCAS-equipped aircraft in our airspace, including foreign ones. Aircraft which were not ambidexterous, so to speak, would have a TCAS that only worked some of the time - not a good thing. Such a mandate would encounter strong opposition from the airlines - who are already howling about the cost of putting ADS-B in their aircraft. I believe our relationship with ICAO is governed by treaty so there'd be some thrashing on the diplomatic front as well.

In addition there's a technical hurdle: if your aircraft has both a transponder and an ADS-B UAT, the TCAS-equipped aircraft will see two traffic returns relatively close together. Are they one aircraft or two? It's easy to answer that question with ADS-B and regular Mode S because the aircraft identifies itself in its returns. Impossible to tell if the target aircraft only has Mode C. So I suspect a move to ambidexterous TCAS would also force a move to Mode S for everyone who keeps a transponder.

Under present circumstances I don't think any of this will come about for a long time. If we find out that piggybacking ADS-B on top of Mode S doesn't really work after all, then it'll be a whole different ball game.

Regards,
Joe



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