FreeFlight Systems to provide upgraded avionics for aircraft in Capstone Project

FreeFlight Systems has been selected by the FAA to provide upgraded ADS-B avionics for as many as 600 aircraft that were instrumental in the development of ADS-B in the Capstone Program.

The FAA chose FreeFlight Systems for the ADS-B upgrade program after an industry-wide, open competitive bidding process.

The program fulfills an FAA commitment to aircraft owners who installed the earlier “Version 1” ADS-B avionics during the Capstone Program in Alaska and in several locations in the lower 48 states. The FAA funded the installation of first-generation systems in exchange for pilot feedback to help refine the technologies and determine performance requirements. The FAA also committed to upgrade the avionics to meet the requirements as defined in the ADS-B “Version 2” Final Rule. Installations of the newer, rule-compliant FreeFlight Systems ADS-B avionics are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

The FAA began the Capstone Program to improve safety in the harsh flying environment of Alaska where small aircraft provide critical air transportation services. The Capstone Program uses ADS-B and other technologies to track aircraft in vast expanses of airspace beyond radar coverage and provides pilots with terrain, weather and traffic data for viewing on cockpit displays.

The program has been a success, resulting in a 57% reduction in the number of aviation accidents and fatalities in Alaska over a 12-year period. Today, ADS-B is a cornerstone technology within the NextGen modernization of the U.S. airspace system. All aircraft operating in U.S. airspace must equip with rule-compliant ADS-B Out systems by Jan. 1, 2020.

“The rule-compliant ADS-B avionics upgrade program is a significant win for our company and for the hundreds of aircraft owners who participated in the development of ADS-B,” said Tim Taylor, CEO of FreeFlight Systems. “We are proud to support the FAA as it fulfills its commitment to the pilots who played such a pivotal role in bringing a fundamental component of the NextGen airspace transformation to fruition.”

FreeFlight Systems was a participant in the Capstone Program and involved in the development of ADS-B, WAAS GPS and related NextGen avionics for more then a decade. The company developed the first rule-compliant ADS-B 978 MHz Universal Access Transceivers (UAT) to receive TSO approval, the first to receive Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval in any aircraft and the first approved for installation in airport ground vehicles. The company is based in Texas and designs and manufactures its products in the United States.

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