Flying with an ADS-B-equipped aircraft provides pilots with a number of benefits today, while ensuring their aircraft are equipped to fly after December 31, 2019. The number of aircraft operating in the surrounding airspace is growing and is predicted to grow even more through the year 2020 and beyond. While the act of flying an aircraft will not change (as it hasn’t for over 100 years), the amount of information we have access to, will.
So, what will flying look like after the year 2020?
“See and Avoid”
The traffic picture is bigger, better and more comprehensive. More aircraft will be equipped to broadcast ADS-B Out and for those who can receive and display ADS-B In traffic information, aircraft are easier to see and of course, easier to avoid. It’s even easier to anticipate Air Traffic Control (ATC) traffic advisories, particularly if you are displaying traffic on a portable or installed display in the panel of your aircraft. It goes without saying, those of us operating in the affected airspace will be able to see and avoid one another without overreliance on ATC.
“Request 20 Degrees Left”
Pilots will be more proactive about deviating for weather. Receiving FIS-B weather in the cockpit gives us more tools to determine whether or not we’re heading for a cell that has yellow or red returns, which upon departure, merely looked like rain showers an hour ago. Assuming an instrument flight plan has been filed, a quick request to deviate 20 degrees right/left can be made to ATC without once again, relying on their guidance. Our ability to be proactive in our flying can mean the difference between being in IMC and flying through moderate turbulence or remaining in VFR conditions and flying on the North side of a cell to remain clear of any potential weather hazards.
Safer, more efficient skies
Regardless of whether you are, intend to be or have no plans to equip for ADS-B In/Out or otherwise, the great news is, is that by the year 2020, more aircraft and pilots will be collaborating among the entire Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast network. We’ll be aviating, navigating and communicating better than we ever have before, allowing us to be more proactive and helping all of us to stay ahead of the airplane.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say flying will be vastly different in the year 2020, as truly nothing about physically flying an aircraft is going to change. However, as we approach the next decade, we’ll see a significant technological upgrade to a number of aircraft operating in the surrounding airspace. With that, we’ll be able to see more, do more and know more and all of this unquestionably amounts to increased safety for all of those who utilize the National Airspace System.