The Federal Aviation Administration is moving away from its antiquated radar-reliant air traffic control system toward one that's based on data from the global satellite network and promises to be more accurate, safe, and efficient. (i.e., fewer weather delays, crashes, and overall airport hassles.) Key to this next-gen system
is a technology called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B.With ADS-B
, both pilots and controllers will see radar-like displays with highly accurate traffic data from satellites, according to the FAA. The displays will update in real time and don't degrade with distance or terrain. Better access to weather services, terrain maps, and flight information services should mean pilots can maintain safe distances from one another with less assistance from air controllers.
One component of ADS-B program is Traffic Information Service-Broadcast, or TIS-B, which shows air traffic radar targets. Here, for example, a TIS-B screen displays targets in the Anchorage (Alaska) Bowl area. Round-nosed targets are non-ADS-B (radar) aircraft. Arrow-nosed targets are ADS-B equipped aircraft.