Nav Canada is bringing in a new ADS-B mandate. The change will have two phases, the first starting on 23 February 2023.

ADS-B mandate

NAV CANADA has announced there will now be mandatory ADS-B Out performance requirements for all aircraft operating within Canadian domestic airspace. The change will be implemented through a phased approach to smooth the transition. As of 23 February 2023, the mandate will come into effect for high altitude Class A and B airspace and expand to incorporate Class C, D and E no sooner than 2026.

FAA airspace map
The New mandate will only apply to Class A and B airspaces at first – this covers high altitudes and airports | © Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)

This change follows several other countries that have mandated ADS-B technology in recent years, including Australia in 2017 and USA in 2020. The new technology poses several benefits over the existing ground-based radar, including improved safety and efficiency.

What is ADS-B?

ADS-B uses satellite navigation technology to determine the position of an aircraft in the air. The plane sends this information twice every second, giving air traffic controllers a constant update on an aircraft’s location, speed, and direction. This information is also available to the pilots, giving them a clear picture of what other aircraft might be nearby.

ADS-B display
ADS-B gives pilots a clear picture of what is in the air | © Eurocontrol.com

ADS-B can also help locate downed aircraft and provide data on flight incidents. As Canada’s ADS-B is space-based, it has the advantage that its signal will not be blocked by terrain as would ground-based radar. This makes it especially well suited to Canada’s unique geography. In fact, areas such as Hudson Bay, the Labrador Sea and Southern Greenland already use ADS-B instead of traditional radar.

US compatibility issues

Although ADS-B is already mandatory in the United States, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses a ground-based network instead of a space-based system like Canada. This creates some compatibility issues between the two systems. In short, the Canadian mandate requires antennae that can transmit towards both the ground and satellites, whereas the FAA only requires ground facing antennae. This means that whilst Canadian aircraft will be compliant with US and European ADS-B requirements, the opposite is not necessarily true.

 

What do you think of the new ADS-B mandate? Do you think Europe should introduce something similar? Let us know your insights in the comments below!

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