What is ADS-B?
ADS-B is the acronym for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast.
ADS-B utilizes satellite rather than ground based navigational aids. The system converts the aircrafts location into a unique digital code and transmits it once a second along with its flight number, speed, altitude and aircraft flight configuration.
This information is displayed on appropriately equipped cockpit traffic display screens. Air traffic controllers also see the information on their displays. Because ADS-B signals are transmitted once per second, they provide a more accurate tracking system for pilots and controllers.
Eventually, with ADS-B, some of the responsibility for keeping safe distances between aircraft will shift from air traffic controllers to pilots. Separation rules have not yet been developed by the FAA.
With ADS-B equipped, both pilots and controllers will see real-time displays of air traffic. Pilots will have much better real time situational awareness and their displays will show other aircraft sharing the airspace around them.
ADS-B will also help reduce the risk of runway incursions on the ground also which is particularly important in poor visibility conditions such as fog and snow. Both pilots and controllers will see their precise location on runway displays along with other aircraft including equipped ground vehicles.