Alaska’s helicopter community is the next in line to get the benefits of the FAA’s next-generation air traffic control system. The agency has signed a letter of agreement with the Helicopter Assn International to facilitate installation of the system throughout the U.S.’s biggest and northernmost state.
ADS-B provides real-time tracking and guidance data for pilots and controllers independent of ground-based radar, using signals among aircraft and between them and both satellites and ground stations. While Alaska was the showcase during the FAA’s Capstone program of ADS-B’s ability to provide coverage where it is difficult or impossible for ground-based radar to do so, Capstone’s installations were temporary, R&D ones. Under an agreement like one that cleared the way for the first widespread use of ADS-B in the Gulf of Mexico, HAI members and others will provide sites for ADS-B ground units and transport the FAA workers needed to set up and maintain them, both free of charge.