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uAvoinix developing transponder for space-based ADS-B surveillance

Photo: uAvionix

Image: uAvionix

uAvionix is developing and testing skyBeacon X, a wingtip mounted 1090MHz Mode S ADS-B OUT transponder designed to meet the update rate performance required when used in conjunction with the Aireon satellite-based global ADS-B air traffic surveillance system.

According to the company, skyBeacon X is similar to the original skyBeacon in that it is an ED position light replacement with an integrated 1090MHz transponder, GPS position source, barometric altimeter, and LED position and anti-collision lights.

In January 2019, NAV CANADA revealed that it will be implementing an ADS-B Performance Requirements mandate in three phases. Phase 1 includes Class A airspace and Class E airspace above FL600 by Jan 1, 2021. Phase 2 includes Class B airspace which in Canada extends from FL125 to FL180, and requires equipage by Jan 1, 2022. Phase 3, to be implemented no sooner than 2023, will require General Aviation (GA) aircraft to equip with transponders which employ antenna diversity — an antenna installed on both the bottom and the top of the aircraft — in order to achieve acceptable performance to provide Air Traffic Services.

uAvionix plans for skyBeacon X to serve as a low-cost, diversity-compatible system for Canadian users to meet these requirements.

“Many of our ANSP customers would like to provide air traffic control services at lower altitudes and to all types of aircraft in controlled airspace, including GA,” said Cyriel Kronenburg, Aireon’s Vice President of aviation services. “We are excited to participate in testing and validation with uAvionix to ensure skyBeacon X meets performance requirements to be used with the Aireon system. We believe these transponders offer an affordable, reliable solution for ADS-B OUT equipage that would help many of our international ANSP customers and regulators increase equipage rates for GA aircraft. This will also allow GA to leverage both the safety and operational benefits of a space-based surveillance system.”

skyBeacon X is expected to be certified and available in 2021. According to the company, skyBeacon X will be uAvionix’s first global GA product operating on 1090MHz. While it will not be available in time for U.S. users to meet the deadline for the FAA’s mandate, it will be available and TSO certified for the Canadian projected mandate date of 2023, uAvionix added.

The company also recently expanded into two new facilities: one in Leesburg, Virginia, and one in Columbia Falls, Montana.

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