The UK civil aviation authority is conducting a ADS-B trial together with City Airport and general aviation lobby group Airspace4All which has provided a Uavionix pingStation aerial to be mounted on the roof of the control tower.
City Airport is located in Barton-upon-Irwell in the Greater Manchester area, five nautical miles west of Manchester
The new aerial will be able to receive ADS-B transmissions from aircraft as far away as the Scottish Borders and down to the south coast of England, across the North Sea and out towards Dublin in Ireland.
The data will be fed into a standard computer running an application called Virtual Radar Server which allows aircraft positions to be plotted on a highly customisable map. City Airport will be monitoring an area roughly 10 nautical miles around the airfield and have depicted airspace boundaries and ‘Visual Reference Points’ (VRPs), where aircraft commonly report.
City Airport as a Flight Information Service Officer (FISO) unit is not licensed or trained to provide any form of radar service but staff there have agreed a training package and a full safety case with the CAA to start the trial use of the display.
Steve Cooper is a FISO at City Airport working at weekends at the airfield who holds a private pilot’s licence. He says that during the trial the airport will be able to broadcast information like generic traffic information to aircraft and warnings as to when they appear to be approaching controlled airspace.
“There will be no passing of specific traffic information, or deconfliction of aircraft – that remains firmly the preserve of air traffic controllers with radar ratings,” he says, adding, “over the comings months as the trial develops we hope it will prove to be a significant asset to us and help to show just what will be possible in the coming years as the UK really starts to make the most of EC technology.”