Avionics suppliers FreeFlight Systems has developed an entry-level Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) solution for budget-conscious pilots. Priced under $10,000, FreeFlight Systems "ADS-B Out System" combines a 978 MHz data radio with its TSO-certified 1201 or 1203 GPS/WAAS sensor, dual antennas, and a compact control head. It will be available in late 2009.
An aircraft equipped with Freelight Systems’ ADS-B technology constantly monitors its location using GPS readings, then broadcasts this data via the 78 MHz band to ground-based air traffic controllers. ADS-B is central to the FAA’s NextGen air traffic management system, which exploits advances in satellite-based navigation. The FAA is encouraging operators in high-traffic areas such as the Gulf of Mexico to adopt ADS-B technology early.
"Our ADS-B solution requires minimal changes to the existing cockpit making it efficient, effective, and economical for operators to implement," said FreFlight Systems President and CEO Tim Taylot. "We understand that cost and time implications are a real concern, especially for those flying in non-radar airspace where ADS-B promises greater efficiency and safety. We designed our solution with these considerations at the forefront." Note: ADS-B does not replace an aircraft’s existing transponder, it merely supplements it.