ADS-B Coming to Southern Africa – Here’s How…

Recently, Air Support has been heavily engaged in the development of ADS-B for Africa. The project, called OpsControl | Flight Watch, is designed for global coverage, and is ideal for the sub-Saharan regions and in South Africa. Here’s how it will work…

AvBuyer  |  07th May 2021
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There are several benefits to be enjoyed by operators equipped with ADS-B. For example, those with ADS-B Out enhance the Air Traffic Controller's awareness of aircraft flying within the airspace...

Traditionally, radars can take anywhere up to 12 seconds to update an aircraft's position, whereas ADS-B-equipped aircraft update air traffic control (ATC) on their position approximately every second, allowing controllers to identify and resolve potentially hazardous situations quickly and effectively.

In addition, operators of aircraft equipped with ADS-B In, can enjoy enhanced safety and situational awareness, seeing the locations of surrounding aircraft on their flight panel displays.

So great are the enhancements to flight safety, that ADS-B is now mandated for aircraft flying above certain flight levels in the US and Australia, and the same will soon be true for operators fly through European airspace, too.

If there was ever a sense that Africa was lagging, those concerns are now being allayed thanks to the development of the Flight Watch project.

Flight Watch, a multi-purpose flight tracking platform that is fully integrated to the PPS Flight Planning System, is designed to offer gate-to-gate precision tracking via multiple tracking sources (including Aircraft Communications, Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), ADS-B, Satellite data, as well as local radar coverage).

According to Air Support, it will go beyond ‘simple aircraft tracking’, and will offer active warnings and notifications to operations control centers, as well as advanced post flight data for flight performance analysis.

“Flight Watch is a next-gen situational awareness platform, assisting operations with vital information concerning flights, and in particular providing notifications about abnormal situations,” notes Lasse Nilsson, AIR SUPPORT.

ADS-B Receiver Network in South Africa

According to AIR SUPPORT, the notification center in Flight Watch will help operators meet requirements set out by ICAO, and controlled by local aviation authorities, concerning flight tracking.

Operators are required to have equipment that provides active warnings in the case its position is lost. In response, AIR SUPPORT has been deploying a complete network of its own ADS-B receivers throughout the South African area. The aim is to achieve the ultimate target of getting high precision gate-to-gate data in South Africa.

Strategically Positioned ADS-B Receivers in South Africa

“The ADS-B receivers meet aviation quality demands for stability, durability, and connectivity” product specialist Kash Rajan says. “All receivers are directly communicating via AIR SUPPORT's servers, and they provide anonymous data to operators.”

Most importantly, he adds, the network will ensure operators respect tracking demands set out by the aviation authorities.

The network consists of multiple strategically-placed ADS-B receivers which provides full coverage in South Africa as well as the surrounding countries.

Each receiver tracks aircraft within ranges up to 250nm (depending on various conditions). The receivers are constantly monitored remotely via direct access. In case of power shredding a 4G modem is coupled to the receiver to ensure high online capability.

The ADS-B network is expanding far beyond South Africa. Currently several projects are being completed in co-operation with Air Support's customers, with the ultimate goal of getting expanded coverage in the surrounding countries.

Example of ADS-B Coverage in Southern Africa

Multiple Tracking Sources Available

Apart from AIR SUPPORT's private ADS-B network, a variety of tracking sources are available to the Flight Watch solution, including:

The fact that multiple tracking sources are available should serve as an assurance to operators that they can track aircraft anytime and anywhere on the planet.

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