Copyright © 2016  Grand Rapids Technologies, Inc.

Electronic Flight Instrumentation for Experimental Aircraft Since 1991

Single-band? Dual-band? USB or Serial? OUT options? Tablet redundancy? You have lots of ADS-B choices.

ADS-B Options

The open nature of the GRT Avionics EFIS allows our customers many ADS-B choices and more competitive pricing than can be expected from “closed” systems.  Often customers call us to ask which solution we recommend for their situation, so we have put our answers in writing.


ADS-B Out Requirements


ADS-B out (transmitter) is not required today, but will be required to operate in certain airspace in the United States after January 1, 2020.   Two types of ADS-B output are available, ES (extended squitter using 1090 MHz), or UAT (universal access transceiver using 978 MHz).


Will you need ADS-B out?


Not necessarily. The requirements are similar to the need for mode C transponders today.  Depending on where you live, and where you fly, it can be practical to fly without mode C transponder today, and ADS-B out in the future.


Starting Jan 1, 2020,  exactly where in the US will ADS-B out be required, and which of the two types of ADS-B out will I need?


If you are going to fly above 18,000’ (Class A Airspace), your airplane will require a 1090 MHz extended squitter ADS-B output.


If you are going to fly in any of the following airspace, you will be required to have either  the 1090 MHz extended squitter ADS-B output, or the 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) ADS-B output.


• Class B or C airspace, or above it

• Above 10,000 feet unless within 2,500 feet of terrain.

• In class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico, within 12 nautical miles of the US coastline, and at or above 3000 feet.

• Within 30 nautical miles of any the airports listed in the appendix A.


I decided I need ADS-B out. Which type should I buy? ES, or UAT?


UAT Advantages: Can be less expensive, as it can be used with an existing Mode C transponder.

UAT Drawbacks: Limited to flight below 18,000 feet in the US.  Fewer foreign countries may adopt this standard in the future.


ES Advantages: Allows flight at any altitude in the US. Most likely to be accepted around the world.  Allows airplane-to-airplane traffic awareness.

ES Drawbacks:  Can not be used with an existing transponder, except the GTX330.


I might fly outside the US someday. What foreign countries require ADS-B out now, or are expected to?


The most relevant foreign countries are listed here. As of September 2016:


• Canada – Not required. No plans to mandate it.  Extended squitter is supported in the Hudson Bay area, and provides additional ATC services.

• Mexico  – No mandate at this time, but a proposal would make it required using either UAT, or ES, as in the US mandate, beginning January 1, 2020.

• Australia – ES required only above 29,000 feet, in some other airspace, and for IFR flights starting February 2017.

• Europe –  Required for all aircraft by June 7, 2020.


Does GRT Avionics recommend  ES or UAT ADS-B output for US based aircraft?


We are comfortable recommending either UAT or ES ADS-B output for the vast majority of our customers, as this will allow flight in Mexico, Canada, and other nearby countries, such as the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, etc.  Also, it is our opinion, that often the standards established by the US eventually become adopted by other countries, implying that even the UAT output may become a standard in other countries, especially those that may have US general aviation airplane traffic. Mexico’s proposal to adopt the US standard, including UAT out, is a good example.  It seems unlikely US general aviation aircraft, which comply with all US mandates, would be forbidden to enter any nearby country due to future ADS-B regulatory requirements.


When should I equip my airplane with ADS-B Out?


It is your choice. If you are building a new airplane, we are close enough to 2020 to plan on including it in your new airplane, although plenty of time exists to add the ADS-B output in the future. The addition of the ADS-B out does not affect the instrument panel, and if you pre-wire for an ADS-B out device, it would not be hard to add it later.  We would suggest waiting to purchase your ADS-B out until your airplane is nearing completion.  Prices are slowly dropping, and more options are becoming available to GRT Avionics customers.


If you have a flying airplane, and you have a newer transponder that you expect to keep using, adding a  Navworx 600 EXP is a good option that you can do at your lesiure. It is a one-box solution, easy to install, and you will immediately have weather and traffic.


I have a flying airplane, but don’t want to commit to add ADS-B out at this time. Any suggestions?


Yes. Why not add an ADS-B receiver? You will immediately have weather and some traffic, and if you are willing to put together a Stratux ADS-B receiver, this option can cost as little as $100. We built ours and  found it to be a fun project, and the data it provides makes you wonder how you flew without it.  The hardest part (and its not that hard) is loading the software onto the SD memory card. Get help, or buy one pre-programmed if you wish. If you don’t want to build one, you can buy them assembled, or opt for a Redenna SkyRadar or other commercially available ADS-B receiver.  If you don’t need it for your airplane someday (because your future ADS-B out includes ADS-B in, for example) you can bring it home and watch the airliners fly over by connecting it to your phone or PC. Fun!


ADS-B In (Receivers)


ADS-B in is not required, but provides significant benefits, and typically at little or no cost.  Different sets of data can be received on two bands, the ES band, and the UAT band.


Any GRT Avionics EFIS can display ADS-B traffic and weather provided by an ADS-B receiver includes a RS-232 serial, or USB output in the standard GDL-90 format.  GRT Avionics prides itself on keeping our avionics usable as far into the future as practical, and this is why even our first display unit, produced more than 13 years ago when ADS-B did not exist, includes ADS-B capability via a free software update.



UAT Band


The UAT band provides the pilot with weather and traffic data from a ground station.  The weather data include METARs, Nexrad weather, TFRs, and more.  If your airplane includes valid ADS-B output, you will also see all airplanes with operating transponders or ADS-B output.  The only drawback of the UAT band data is that it typically can not be received on the ground, or at low altitudes, and thus can not be used for flight planning, or for traffic awareness until reaching a sufficient altitude to receive data from the ground station. Be aware that if you do not have valid ADS-B out, you will see traffic triggered by other airplanes, but there is no assurance airplanes near you will be shown.  Also remember that aircraft without transponders (or ADS-B output) will not show up.


ES Band


The ES band allows you to receive data directly from airplanes that are equipped with an ES ADS-B output.  This is strictly airplane-to-airplane, and does not rely on a ground station. This means that you could see this traffic with ES ADS-B output, even when you are on the ground.  


Which band does GRT Avionics recommend for an ADS-B receiver?


Most of the data you will use will be coming from the UAT receiver.  UAT coverage as of September 2016 is already very good, even as low as 1500’ above the ground.  This website illustrates the current coverage: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs/adsb/ICM/


If you often operate at airports with commercial traffic,  or at airports that do not have good UAT coverage, the ES 1090 band receiver may allow you to see airliner and other traffic while on the ground  and near the airport. Low-flying airplanes, such as agricultural airplanes, may also be displayed using this receiver.


Of course if you choose a dual band receiver, you will have the best of both worlds.


What are the most popular choices with my GRT Avionics EFIS for ADS-B Out?


Navworx ADS-B 600 EXP


• Requires an existing mode C or S transponder.

• Provides ADS-B UAT Out

• ADS-B UAT In Only (no ES input)

• Total Cost: About $1400


Trig TT22


• Provides Mode S transponder output, and ES ADS-B output

• Requires GRT Avionics ADS-B compliant GPS ($500)

• Does not provide ADS-B in.

• Any GRT EFIS can function as the transponder control head

• Total Cost : About $2700


Sandia


• Provides Mode C transponder output, UAT ADS-B output

• Provides ADS-B in on UAT Only

• Requires GRT Avionics ADS-B compliant GPS ($500)

• Not available until 4th quarter 2016.

• Total Cost: About $3000


Garmin GTX330-ES


• Provides mode S Transponder output, ES ADS-B output



Garmin GTX345


• Closed System – Format of the data output is proprietary to Garmin. Not usable at this time.




Make

Model

Type

Mount

EFIS Connection

Tablet App Connection

TSO ADS-B In+Out

Price

Stratux(Raspberry Pi - based)

Various

978/1090 MHz

P

Serial

WiFi


Varies from $100 and up

Radenna

SkyRadar-DX

978/1090 MHz

T or P

USB or RS-232

WiFi


$849

SkyRadar-D2

978/1090 MHz

T or P

USB

WiFi


$649

NavWorx

ADS600-EXP

978 MHz

P

Serial

WiFi


$1,400

ADS600-BG

978 MHz

P

Serial

WiFi

$3,800

FreeFlight Systems

XPLORER*

978 MHz

P

Serial

WiFi


$685

RANGR FDL-978-XVR

978 MHz

P

Serial

WiFi

$3,995

Dual Electronics

XGPS170

978 MHz

T

USB

Bluetooth


$699

Levil Technologies

iLevil SW/AW

978 MHz

T or P

Serial or USB

WiFi


$1,195/

$1,395

Flight Data Systems

Pathfinder

978 MHz

P

Serial

WiFi


$549

Mount: T=Temporary/portable, P=Permanent installation

*Requires FreeFlight’s own certified WAAS GPS to be paired with an ADS-B Out transmitter for traffic.

ADS-B Receivers Supported by GRT

ADS-B: How does it work?




    

Make

Model

Type

Mount

2020 Compliant

Includes 2020 Compliant GPS

Price (typical)

Trig

TT22

1090-ES Transponder

Panel or Remote

Y

N

$2,200 (Remote)

$2,499 (Panel)

TT31

1090-ES Transponder

Panel

Y

N

$2,675

Garmin

GTX 330ES

1090-ES Transponder

Panel

Y

N

$3,649

NavWorx

ADS600-B

UAT Transceiver

Remote

Y

N

$1400 (Mode C Xponder also Required.)

ADS600-BG

UAT Transceiver

Remote

Y

Y

$3,800

FreeFlight Systems

RANGR FDL-978-XVR

UAT Transceiver

Remote

Y

Y

$3,995

Recommended ADS-B OUT Transmitting Devices

Types of Data Received by ADS-B Receivers:

978 MHz UAT

Receiver Only

Dual Band

Receiver Only

978 MHz UAT Rx +

ADS-B Out Tx

Dual Band Rx +

ADS-B Out Tx

Inside ADS-B Coverage

Weather

Y

Y

Y

Y

Mode C/Mode S Traffic

Incomplete

Incomplete

Y

Y

1090-ES Transmitting Traffic

Incomplete

Y (Air-Air)

Y

Y

978 MHz UAT Transmitting Traffic

Y (Air-Air)

Y (Air-Air)

Y

Y

Outside ADS-B Coverage

Weather

N

N

N

N

Mode C/Mode S Traffic

N

N

N

N

1090-ES Transmitting Traffic

N

Y (Air-Air)

N

Y (Air-Air)

978 MHz UAT Transmitting Traffic

Y (Air-Air)

Y (Air-Air)

Y (Air-Air)

Y (Air-Air)