Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)

When was the last time you used a plotter, a marker and a VFR chart?


Truth be told, I’ve used mine rarely since I got my private pilot license!

As you can see my instrument plotter remains unopened to this day! I have stopped buying paper charts since I became a subscribed user of  iPad and Foreflight.

The aircraft I trained in for my primary private pilot certificate, was a basic C152 trainer with a single VOR, six pack analog instruments for Airspeed, Attitude, Altitude, Turn Coordinator, Heading, and Vertical Speed Indicator. Any flight planning required poring over VFR charts, identifying ground references, computing headings, distances and checking weather with the Flight Service Stations. That was then.

adsb2Once I got my Private Pilot Rating, I quickly moved to the four seat C172S and the PA28 that were equipped with GPS. I frequently used VFR charts, sometimes a plotter and several hours for planning my flight. I spent  hours, perusing the weather sites such as, talking to Flight Service Stations (FSS) to understand weather patterns and preparing for my upcoming cross country flight. I purchased  backup hand held radio, intercom, Garmin GPS moving map handheld and other devices, that not only provided additional information, but also served as back devices for the safety of flight.

photo(5)Truth be told, they were quickly obsoleted by the fact, that I progressed to newer aircraft that were equipped with built in GPS and Flight Management Systems (FMS). There was no turning back, once I got here!

Once I switched to the G1000 aircraft, when they started to invade flight schools back in early 2000’s, there was no looking back. These days that is my first aircraft of choice. My hand held devices, which served as early backups, soon remained unused. Instead, my latest toys are the iPad with ForeFlight and the Stratus. Even these I rarely use. return3When I fly the G1000, there is rarely a need to use the iPad with Foreflight and Stratus. Truth be told, I love to fly by looking outside and don’t want to be bogged down with technology. The G1000 is excellent for all weather flying. The iPad with ForeFlight and Stratus  (or some other similar device, app and software) are excellent devices that enhance the safety of any cross country flight.

Bahamas 2013 096During  longer cross country flights  when weather events prevail, these backup devices very quickly become primary safety devices.  ADS-B with weather and traffic services are an incredible tool for General Aviation (GA) pilots. Especially so when you fly in congested airspace, special use areas and are haunted with less than normal weather conditions.

IMG-20130106-00043ADS-B coverage through Traffic Information System – Broadcast (TIS-B) and Flight Information System – Broadcast (FIS-B) provides traffic services and weather for suitably equipped aircraft. Both a valuable asset to GA pilots.If you posses an iPad with ForeFlight and possess a Stratus 2, you can obtain both these services without any other subscription.

MIT is conducting a study and taking a survey of GA pilots on the use of ADS-B. If you are a GA pilot, and interested, please consider participating by checking  this out.

IMG_0575Navigation these days is so much easier because of GPS, ADS-B and so much more…..

5 thoughts on “Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)

  1. swpilot March 27, 2014 / 3:18 am

    Like you, I have been flying G1000 cockpits (DA40, 172SP) since 2006 and have absolutely love the evolution of electronic flight deck since learning in the six packs over a decade ago. I was the first to adopt iPad/WingX in mid-2010 and within 6-months I went completely paper charts free especially after moving to ForeFlight app even though I had to use Jepp paper plates for my Instrument rating the same year.

    Then came Stratus and it changed everything even though it was a expensive investment and not that close qualitatively to Nexrad Wx on G1000, I saw ADS-B grew in the Southwest and flying both VFR and IFR extensively, I have warmed up to the added traffic info (still relatively incomplete and can never replace your Mark-1 eyeball for traffic avoidance. Being a Mission Pilot and Safety Officer for Civil Air Patrol, its a great tool for tracking other sorties in nearby grids especially during searches close to the rough terrain of the southwest. I’d still prefer an embedded ADS-B solution within G1000 system which would likely be a reality as we get closer to 2020 leading to more cost effective solutions. Until then iPad+ForeFlight+Stratus in a G1000 rich environment gives you more redundancy that you’ll even need for the flights.


    • flynthings March 28, 2014 / 12:50 am

      swpilot, I do love going paper less.. iPad with Foreflight and Stratus is totally awesome. Although in my case, I bought my Stratus a few months before they released Stratus 2. So I don’t get Traffic with my Foreflight+Stratus combo. But the G1000 I fly has TIS-B, so Traffic is available where there is coverage. And it is an invaluable asset, since I fly under the DC SFRA, Dulles Class Bravo, and near some really busy GA airports with high flight training activity.


      • swpilot March 28, 2014 / 2:39 am

        I agree maneuvering within DC SFRA is likely more complicated than all the R- areas and the AFB around PHX Class B. I have personally found filing IFR can sometimes be a faster getaway during rush hour traffic and heavy student training back in AZ.
        I get a lot of VFR time flying for CAP where I use pilotage for primary navigation and supplementing electronics only to confirm the drifts within assigned grid boundaries. And while IFR can get you from point A to B, nothing beats a CAVU VFR day to romance the air 🙂


  2. thearcticchiller March 27, 2014 / 11:46 pm

    I travelled all across Europe and I only had an iPad as backup. Primary navigation was plotter, watch and compass. So yes, there are people around who use these things. I love to fly like that. My eyes are outside all the time, I keep my skill to read charts… I love it to keep it simple. In bad weather, though, an iPad is nice to have. But why put whole TVs into small airplanes? 😦


    • flynthings March 28, 2014 / 12:46 am


      Fun… and I agree, a pilot doesn’t need to be preoccupied looking at some computer screen.

      Most of my flying is in visual conditions. I like to look out too 🙂
      Although in my case, I started following roads and coastline and rarely used my plotter after I got my private. It was easy to do so in California!
      iPad, Foreflight, Stratus, and G1000 are extremely useful, and I only minimally use the GPS to help me with navigation.


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