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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: ADS/B, the new silver bullet just got a bit tarnished ... as reality catches up
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Author Topic: ADS/B, the new silver bullet just got a bit tarnished ... as reality catches up  (Read 581 times)
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 718

« on: January 29, 2018, 05:05:54 PM »


Saturday I participated in a generally well done safety stand down at a local aviation college.  One of the topics was, of course, the benefits and deadline for ADS/B.  Nice talk, except...

I keep hearing that life after ADS/B will be good, and all we have to do if we want our flights to be smooth and without concerns for conjoining with other aircraft is "watch the box" (aka:  "ADS/B-IN).  The linked  Starts n Stripes article above nicely summarizes the 'military problem' ...  It (the ADS/B system) ain't likely to be 100% secure ( i.e. it's hackable for lots of very intractable reasons).  So why would we want to grant our very good friends on the west side of the Pacific and our other very good friends just east of the NATO alliance border a nifty tool that tracks all of our highest value military defensive and offensive assets?  A crowd sourced, post ISIS effort by hackers just waiting in the wings (love the pun) with a Stinger or two, armed with prior knowledge is an obvious additional existential hazard.  Don't we already have enough OPSEC issues with clueless soldiers/airmen/sailors who use fitbits and other wearables, cell phones, tablets, and etc.???  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42853072

So, here's the "Bottom line":  See and avoid in the case of a military jet is maybe not the sure bet some would like (Russians, Chinese, ISIS wanabes, Congress).  Fighters, bombers, and even cargo jets bebopping along at even well less than cruise (and with closure rates being what they are as demonstrated by the F16/C152 midair accident in Florida a short while ago) strongly suggest we GA and CAP pilots should hope the jet jock sees US and avoids US - cause we have zero chance of seeing, recognizing, responding with the controls, and having the aircraft change path in time to avoid a collision.   S 'n A has this, and other obvious limitations.  :)  Which means that this very important  'midair proofing' aspect of the marketing job to GA  for ADS/B-OUT includes more than just  a bit of fiction.

Here's something else to keep in mind:  There are also much more sedate aircraft out there that pose a very real potential midair risk and that are exempt from ADS/B.  NORDO fixed wing aircraft (anything without an electrical system from Cubs to trikes hang gliders, and powered chutes) will remain invisible on 'the box' after 1 Jan 2020.  Sadly, records from the last 20 years or so show that about 5% of fixed wing midairs near uncontrolled airports involved one or more NORDO aircraft.  NORDO aircraft have also been involved in cruise midairs, but much less frequently (only a very few show up in the NTSB accident db).  Then too, we have an estimated 1,000,000+ registered UAS (a.k.a. "drones") plus an unknown and likely equally scary large number of UNregistered drones ... the majority being flown by operators who are as ignorant of airspace and operation rules as they guy who flew his drone into a Blackhawk helicopter last November.  Plus an unknown number of radio equipped aircraft that don't plan to fly in (a) Class B or within the Class B veil; (b) Class C; Class E - realizing that nearly all of the airspace above 10,000' MSL over the continental US is now Class E; and (c) Class A.  Last summer I spent a lot of time out of town flying 'for hire'.  I heard several pilot/owners tell me they have no intention of equipping... some were air traffic controllers staffing some very busy temporary towers.  Go figure.

I think the real talisman against a midair is a 'lucky' rabbits foot.  Maybe it's effective because it's so politically incorrect to carry an unlucky rodent's body part around "for luck".  :)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:44:20 PM by Live2Learn » Report to moderator   Logged
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 519
Unit: SWR-TX-001

« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2018, 02:38:32 AM »

I think this article hyperinflates a problem that doesn’t really exist. This isn’t any different from military aircraft flying Mode 3/C vs Mode 5 today. When there’s no “operational necessity” to secure their position data, they fly in Mode 3/C so that ATC and aircraft equipped with TCAS can see them. In cases of operational necessity (like air defense, the F-22, etc), they flip to Mode 5 and ATC can still see them. The same holds true in an ADS-B world. The military aircraft would have to depend on ATC and onboard equipment like radar and TCAS to sense and avoid other aircraft since they wouldn’t be visible, but the risk isn’t any greater than it is today.

As for other aircraft not equipping with ADS-B, the FAA is going to retain enough primary ASR sites to cover the majority of cruise altitude airspace. This just reinforces the value of IFR flight planning and fight following when you’re in cruise flight to supplement see and avoid. When in the terminal environment under visual conditions, it’s always been see and avoid anyway. Keep on doin’.

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« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 02:42:42 AM by Nick » Report to moderator   Logged
Nicholas McLarty, Lt Col, CAP
Texas Wing Staff Guy
National Cadet Team Guy
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Aviation & Flying Activities  |  Topic: ADS/B, the new silver bullet just got a bit tarnished ... as reality catches up

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