Alaskan Aviation Company Out to Change Future of Flying

Making Aviation Safer Around The World


by Mike Ford

Automatic dependent surveillance broadcast or ADSB became a reality in Alaska a little over a decade ago. It was one of the key components of the Capstone program designed in a co-operative effort by the aviation community and funded by Congress to reduce aviation fatalities.

Located at Merrill Field ADS-B Technologies is involved in promoting the use of ADSB on a global scale. "it's been fun" stated CEO Skip Nelson "it's been a bit of a crusade, we like to tell people that ADSB is a process, its more than just a single technology it's a way of doing air traffic control, it's the next generation of air traffic control"

ADSB is always on, no operator attention is required. The system is dependent on very accurate position data. It provides aircraft position attitude,speed heading, identification and other needed information. That data is broadcast to any aircraft or ground station equip ed to receive the data link signal.

ADSB technologies have now taken this air traffic control opportunity and made footholds in China, Korea, Japan and Africa. Their vision by 2014? Space based ADSB.

While land based ADSB is line of sight and dependent on terrestrial antennas, space based ADSB will overcome those restriction by using low earth orbiting satellites. "We can take an airplane a thousand miles away from the nearest terrestrial antenna and send that same ADSB digital signal up to a satellite and back down to the ground and then to the FAA and we can do that in 3 or 4 tenths of a second" said Nelson.

ADS-B Technologies "ALAS" system is already a certified air traffic control protocol allowing air traffic to be seen well beyond radars boundaries. Even during tests over the rugged Alaskan Terrain.
With system advancements like "ALAS" the future for aviation safety looks bright. Nelson is excited about what lays ahead "It's going to be a brave new world but it's also going to be a much safer and a much more efficient new world.. and its only 10 or 15 years away."

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