cockpit illustration

1090 Global

FAA and NAV CANADA Flight Tests Further Validate Aireon’s Space-Based ADS-B System


Total of 101,517 ADS-B Messages Received by AireonSM Payloads During FAA and NAV CANADA Flight Tests in the New York Oceanic and Edmonton FIRs

Aireon is thrilled to share results from two successful flight tests partnered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NAV CANADA, as part of an effort to validate the effectiveness of the satellite-based global Aireon system.

The FAA test flight departed out of the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The WJH Technical Center is a leader in modernizing aviation technology and infrastructure and home to some of the most important advancements in the industry. The flight departed on December 6, 2017. The coordinated effort involved trials of 125-watt transponder with top and bottom-mounted antennas on the FAA’s “flying laboratory” jet known as N47, retrofitted with highly calibrated flight-data test equipment and recorders.  The aircraft flew from Atlantic City International Airport into New York Oceanic Airspace (KZWY), broadcasting the aircraft identification, position, velocity and altitude every 0.5 seconds.

FAA Test Flight Path

NAV CANADA Flight Test Path

Taking place on December 5, 2017, NAV CANADA’s second flight test utilized a Bombardier jet, specially equipped with ADS-B transponders. The test occurred in Edmonton Airspace (CZEG).  This was a two leg, 5 hour-long flight test, with about 1/3 of the end-state 66 Aireon payloads actively receiving data.

“Using our CRJ 200 Flight Test Aircraft configured with ADS-B enabled TDR-94D Mode S Transponders detuned to 125-watt power output, we were very pleased with the performance of the Aireon payloads tested from launch two and three,” said Anthony MacKay, NAV CANADA Director, Flight Operations. “Other than reducing the power output from 250 watts to 125 watts, our flight test aircraft has been using the standard ADS-B Out system commercially available for the CRJ fleet.  These tests continue to grow our already high confidence in the system and its use in day-to-day ATS surveillance.”

“These flights are a key step in validating Aireon’s space-based ADS-B system,” said Dr. Michael Garcia, director of systems engineering at Aireon. “The technology has exceeded our expectations in both the U.S. and Canada to provide real-time surveillance. Most exciting for our team was to see how our payload footprints are covering vastly more surface area than anticipated, creating a level of redundancy that is invaluable when authenticating position information.”

In total, over 20 Aireon system payloads received, decoded and delivered a total of 101,517 ADS-B messages during the flight tests performed by the FAA and NAV CANADA and on a monthly basis, are receiving over six billion position reports from targets of opportunity.