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Thread: ADS-B First Impressions

  1. #1
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    Default ADS-B First Impressions

    I thought I would post this in case anyone else is looking at other alternatives to XM Weather, and want traffic in their airplane. I decided to go with the Garmin GDL 39, and so far believe it was a good decision since it offers both weather and traffic in a small lightweight unit. I'll post some screen captures later when I get where I can do that.

    Background: I am building one of the CC EX's so the evaluation was done in a J3 (no electric) and on an android tablet running the Garmin Pilot app via bluetooth with the Garmin GDL 39 ADS-B receiver. The GDL 39 receives both FIS-B (weather) and TIS-B traffic on 2 frequencies (978 UAT and 1090 ES). It also includes a built in GPS WAAS receiver to determine position for calculation and display of the traffic and weather. Unfortunately, the GPS WAAS receiver does not meet the FAA rules to also be used for ADS-B out as required by 2020. My suggestion to Garmin, or some other avionics maker is to come out with a lightweight GPS WAAS unit that can be used with the G3X, and the GTX 330ES/33/23 ES transponders. The GPS WAAS is the missing link in having a resonably priced unit to meet ADS-B out regulations for experimental and LSA aircraft. We now have options for everything else.

    Test Conditions: My quick evaluation was done both on the ground driving, and in the air. All the air time was spent at low altitudes (what else is there in a J3?) to determine if the signal strength would be sufficient to be usable in the air for most flying time that I do. I spent all my time in the valleys of western Carolina and North Georgia with as high as 6,000 ft peaks above and between the FAA ground stations and me. Driving on the ground were the same conditions.

    Initial Results/Impressions: First, I am very enthused by the potential this provides pilots with in-flight information that will make for safer conditions. Reception - excellent! I couldn't leave the status page up all the time and see what was going on with the Map, and traffic pages, but every time I checked, I had all bars green, and I tried to check under the worst conditions. This is really surprising. I will also admit, I am not sure exactly where the ground stations are located, but I am sure that I was blocked from direct line of sight at least some of the time. This included a check of status on the ground taxiing at my small private airport. Weather - Fog was prevalent in the area, along with rain showers to my northwest this morning. Radar imaging was as good or better than I have seen with XM, and clearly showed the heavier/lighter areas. And it is free!!! And with fog in the area, you could easily tell which airports were still fogged in, and which one's were clearing - something I think everyone would find valuable if you needed to divert to an alternate. I didn't have time to check everything like temperatures and winds aloft, maybe I will get time to check those next time. Weather is the main reason for me getting an ADS-B receiver. Traffic - traffic in the area was very light, but I did pick up several commercial flights (distance and separation altitude is configurable). To really get the advantages of TIS-B, as the FAA has blocked this unless you transmit, you will need an ADS-B out solution. There may have been much more traffic in the area than I received or observed, but I was never able to see the ground station triggered from an ADS-B equiped aircraft. I sure wish the FAA would transmit this full time like they do FIS-B. I will say that for what traffic I received, the display was very clear on their direction and altitude.

    Quick word on the Garmin Pilot app - it functions just like the Garmin panel units so you will have an easy time setting up flight plans, zooming in, direct to, etc. The one negative is that it doesn't always keep the plane centered well, like the panel units, so if you are considering having a tablet be your panel think it through clearly before you decide, there are limitations to what a tablet can do. It wasn't built to be a primary flight device. That said, I will still have one in my plane to supplement the real avionics. They are extremely handy to have for the sectional charts, and to be another display for weather, and easier to move around or zoom out to get a bigger picture than the panel units.

    Plans: I will have an ADS-B out solution in my CCEX. Right now I am planning a single G3X, with a Garmin GPS 400W (for the certified GPS WAAS as required), a GTX 23 ES transponder (to transmit the ADS-B out), and the GDL 39 ADS-B receiver. The GDL 39 will be mounted remotely, and will have a blade antenna for the ADS-B reception mounted on the bottom, and a separate gps antenna added as well. Like I mentioned earlier, I really wish that Garmin would produce a GPS WAAS unit that is lightweight and doesn't need to be installed in the panel. I would rather put two G3X displays, but there just isn't enough panel space available.

    I'll post screen captures in a separte post.

    Tony

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pete D's Avatar
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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    Great info! I am looking forward to trying one of these systems as well.

    A note on the G3X. Having test flown Carbon Cubs with single and two screen G3X systems I would really recommend coming up with some way to get a two screen system in the panel. The single screen gets very very busy and there is more flipping between pages than the two screen. Especially if you are running the engine monitoring through that as well?

    Just my 2 cents.
    Pete Dougherty
    R & D Shop Manager
    Cub Crafters Inc

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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by clipwingcub View Post
    ...... To really get the advantages of TIS-B, as the FAA has blocked this unless you transmit, you will need an ADS-B out solution. There may have been much more traffic in the area than I received or observed, but I was never able to see the ground station triggered from an ADS-B equiped aircraft. I sure wish the FAA would transmit this full time like they do FIS-B. I will say that for what traffic I received, the display was very clear on their direction and altitude. ....
    Thanks for the report Tony.

    Are you saying that if you have a GTX 330 with TIS traffic out to a display, you only see traffic if someone else triggers it? Unless you are ADS-B equipped? Are there other traffic advantages for ADS-B equipped aircraft?

    Thanks
    Chuck Hull
    L70 Agua Dulce, CA

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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete D View Post
    Great info! I am looking forward to trying one of these systems as well.

    A note on the G3X. Having test flown Carbon Cubs with single and two screen G3X systems I would really recommend coming up with some way to get a two screen system in the panel. The single screen gets very very busy and there is more flipping between pages than the two screen. Especially if you are running the engine monitoring through that as well?
    There is a CC on my field with a dual G3X setup. The main thing they did is extend the panel down a little on the left and right to accomodate everything. I haven't flown it, but sitting in the aircraft it seems there is plenty of clearance under the panel.
    Chuck Hull
    L70 Agua Dulce, CA

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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    I would rather have the two G3X screens, but there is not enough room to extend the panel any lower without getting into the way of the stick, and allow the G400W to be usable in the panel. I know I could create another mount for it to hang below and forward of the panel, but then I would be afraid it wouldn't be as handy to use. I'm all for other mounting options for the G400w if anyone has a better solution.

    Tony

    As promised, here are a couple of the screen captures:

    SC20120927-073653.jpg

    This weather shot was a little less smooth. I think the image was still downloading to the tablet.
    SC20120927-074107.jpg

    SC20120927-074212.jpg

    SC20120927-075222.jpg

    I finally saw the ground station active from an ADS-B aircraft
    SC20120927-153725.jpg

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles View Post
    Thanks for the report Tony.

    Are you saying that if you have a GTX 330 with TIS traffic out to a display, you only see traffic if someone else triggers it? Unless you are ADS-B equipped? Are there other traffic advantages for ADS-B equipped aircraft?

    Thanks
    Charles, there is a difference in receiving TIS-A traffic, and TIS-B traffic. TIS-A, which is what the GTX 330 would send to the display is what it receives from other TIS (Mode S) equiped aircraft, or in Mode S FAA areas, which are few and the FAA announced they are shutting those down.

    TIS-B receivers, such as the Garmin GDL 39 or the GDL 88 (out solution also), or an upgraded 33/330 ES (out solution with a certified GPS WAAS unit attached) provide targets from other mode S aircraft, other ADS-B out aircraft, and the best thing of all is a re-transmitt of all aircraft that show on the FAA radar systems - mode c, mode s, non-equiped, etc. The bad part is that the FAA doesn't transmit unless there is an ADS-B aircraft in the vicinity of the ground station.

    Tony

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    Senior Member Pete D's Avatar
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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    If you pay attention to the stick position when rigging the elevator there is enough room to lower the panel without stick interference. IE, the stick doesn't have to go forward of the panel. As long as there are no knobs sticking out in the lower portion of the panel.
    Pete Dougherty
    R & D Shop Manager
    Cub Crafters Inc

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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete D View Post
    If you pay attention to the stick position when rigging the elevator there is enough room to lower the panel without stick interference. IE, the stick doesn't have to go forward of the panel. As long as there are no knobs sticking out in the lower portion of the panel.
    Pete,
    I'll look into that as an option, which also means I can't use the standard executive blank panel and will need to create one. I need to see what effort that will be to do.

    Tony

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pete D's Avatar
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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    I have not really researched WAAS GPSs as part of a G3X system but just out of curiosity, are there other options (that take up less panel space or even "blind box" controlled through the G3X) for a certified WAAS GPS?
    Pete Dougherty
    R & D Shop Manager
    Cub Crafters Inc

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ADS-B First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete D View Post
    I have not really researched WAAS GPSs as part of a G3X system but just out of curiosity, are there other options (that take up less panel space or even "blind box" controlled through the G3X) for a certified WAAS GPS?
    Pete, all of the panel mount gps units compatible with the G3X are as large or larger than the G400W. Freeflight makes a remote unit that is certified, but from what I understand is not compatible. I'm still looking for other units. If I find any others I will post an update.

    Tony

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