ADS-B Coming To Gulf Of Mexico

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The FAA has committed to installing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast equipment to cover the Gulf of Mexico, thanks in part, no doubt, to a $100 million carrot dangled by the gulf-oil-fed helicopter industry. According to a news release issued by the Helicopter Association International, chopper operators will supply manpower, facilities and free flights totaling a value of $100 million to get the system up and running. HAI President Rick Zuccaro hailed the cooperative arrangement. "The need for accurate weather, direct communications, and surveillance capabilities has never been greater to support the 650-plus helicopters flying offshore," President Zuccaro said in a news release. The Gulf project will be the first widespread implementation of the technology in the Lower 48 after successful testing in Alaska in the Capstone project. ADS-B-equipped aircraft are able to detect other aircraft with the equipment to maintain separation. "I believe that due to the very nature of helicopter operations, which involve low altitude, off-airport, remote location, all-weather situations, our segment of the aviation community stands to reap the greatest rewards from the ADS-B technology," Zuccaro said. "Accordingly, HAI will be exploring the potential for ADS-B benefits to other segments of our industry, such as helicopter emergency medical services, corporate, utility operations, and others," said President Zuccaro.