How does a Cub driver prepare for NextGen?

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Anybody reading our Fly the Distance with NextGen series knows that we took the series to the streets and performed a one-hour event at this year’s SUN ’n FUN.

To be perfectly honest, we really did not know just how much interest there was in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), nor did we have any preconceptions as to what to expect at the show.

I would have to say we were pleasantly surprised at the turnout.

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ADS-B already benefiting pilots

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Over the past year, this series has covered just about all there is to know about the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

We have received a fair amount of mail, with many in the general aviation community seeking information on ADS-B hardware. The question that comes up most often is the current state of ADS-B installations throughout the U.S.

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NextGen: Where do we go from here?

Over this past year this series has covered just about all aspects of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and what it will do for General Aviation.

In addition, we went even further, delivering an historical perspective of the entire National Airspace System. We believed it was necessary to remind each aviator that our way of life will always be in a state of change.

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FIS-B: What every GA pilot always wanted (at least I do…)

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This is the 14th in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

The last discussion on Traffic Information Service–Broadcast (TIS-B) was a clear example of how the FAA is trying to put together a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) program that all of us in general aviation can sink our teeth into. Flight Information Services-Broadcast (FIS-B) is no different. Again, it is offered to primarily general aviation airplanes that incorporate a Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) to operate under ADS-B.

So what is FIS-B? Flight Information Services-Broadcast will provide free weather to pilots, along with all the goodies that all of us use when planning most flights. I say “most” because I still see so many of my fly buddies go for weekend putts and never even consider any of these services.

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The fizz on TIS

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This is the 13th in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

In my last post, ADS-B: Twice as nice, I spent a fair amount of time detailing the fact that there are two separate ADS-B systems in the U.S. — one for the big boys at 30,000-plus feet and another for the rest of us at 20,000 feet and lower having all the fun.

However, the FAA knew straight away that there was going to be an issue with GA in implementing ADS-B, due to costs, so agency officials started thinking of ways to bribe us into coming “on board” with ADS-B.

The FAA will offer two services that should be beneficial for all of us. One is TIS-B (Traffic Information Service–Broadcast) and the other is FIS-B (Flight Information Service–Broadcast). I doubt that any GA pilot would refuse either of these services, so it does seem that the FAA came up with a cool little offer to get all of us on board. That being said, there is still a ways to go before everyone out there goes for it, but it is at least a start.

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ADS-B’s two-for-one deal

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This is the 11th in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

Sounds like a sale doesn’t it? Well, not really. Instead, it’s a reference to the FAA’s decision as part of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to use two different “systems” within the ADS-B environment, so everyone on both sides of the aisle would be happy.

This is how it came down: The big boys on top, the transport carriers, have been using the newer Mode S 1090ES (Extended Squitter) transponder system that we discussed last month for some time know. Perfectly understandable since they have all the necessary attributes to work in the proposed ADS-B system environment.

But — don’t you just hate those buts? — the Mode S transponders have some limitations.

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So is NextGen really NextGen?

This is the ninth in a series of articles looking at the impact of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) on GA pilots.

What the heck is this all about? NextGen really not NextGen?

Over the course of the last 10 months we have reviewed quite a few navigation techniques that always brought something new to the table. It could be in hardware, procedures, rules, or even just seat of the pants know how. Each and every addition added improvements in safety, efficiency, or speed.

So were these previous developments considered NextGen? You bet they were. [Read more...]