Civil Air Patrol and uAvionix Corporation, have successfully partnered to deploy a DO-260B compliant dual band ADS-B receiver network to compliment FAA sensor data with low altitude aircraft positions in support of the National Radar Analysis Team (NRAT) mission to shorten the crash to rescue time in Search & Rescue.
Through the leadership of Virginia Wing (VAWG), Volunteers throughout Civil Air Patrol Squadrons in Virginia have assisted uAvionix in locating suitable receiver sites and supported the installation of small, low weight FlightStation ADS-B receivers at various airports in the State. The dual mode (1090Mhz and 978Mhz) FlightStations, receive transponder data from aircraft, which is centrally received and transmitted to the NRAT server at Maxwell Air Force Base where it is combined with FAA sensor data.
NRAT uses FAA data and advanced technologies in support of the CAP Emergency Services mission. The team is activated by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) when there is a report of a possible missing aircraft or crash. Once the team is activated, analysis and actionable data can be provided in minutes to an Incident Commander; instead of days or hours before NRAT was created, which is used by Incident Commanders and air crews to conduct their search.
The FlightLine roll-out consists of several ATC grade ADS-B receivers with overlapping coverage, allowing for validation of transmitted ADS-B data and pinpoint multilaterated positions. Traditional ADS-B and radar concentrate mostly on airports and higher altitudes in support of Air Traffic Control. Most other available data sources largely exclude coverage for 978Mhz transponders, typically used by General Aviation aircraft. Virginia is the first State in the US to have 100% coverage down to 500 ft of altitude, rapidly expanding to other States.
“NRAT has been working several years to test small ADSB receivers to place at locations with limited FAA coverage”, said Lt Col Mark Young, Commander of NRAT. “The availability of these new receivers, built to RTCA aviation certification standards, and it’s subsequent real time data from FlightLine data available to CAP is a significant advancement for NRAT. Real time data at lower altitudes significantly improves NRAT’s ability to provide a fast and accurate location of missing aircraft that can be used to support the Emergency Services Search & Rescue mission and will result in lives saved.”
“uAvionix is proud to work together with CAP to improve low altitude data availability for this important public service”, said Christian Ramsey, Managing Director of uAvionix. “The introduction of ADS-B has resulted in a significant improvement of General Aviation safety, expanding on the FAA coverage at lower altitude and for UAT transponders typically carried by General Aviation will further enhance the tools used in safety of life activities such as CAP‘s Emergency Services mission.”