ADS-B Covers More Ground

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Most of the Eastern Seaboard as far north as New Jersey now has virtually seamless automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast service (ADS-B -- a system that automatically and precisely reports an equipped aircraft's position, identity and velocity twice each second) thanks to a nudge from AOPA. The last gap was filled when the Pennsylvania Department of Aviation agreed to partner with the FAA to set up ground stations at four airports in the state. Now, ADS-B equipped aircraft can pick up continuous traffic and weather information en route from Florida to New Jersey. AOPA says it gave Pennsylvania officials a demonstration of the technology in 2004 and that helped them decide to implement it. The FAA has committed to installing ADS-B nationwide but it has a ways to go. Beyond the Eastern Seaboard, the technology exists in pockets of Ohio, central Tennessee, Wisconsin, North Dakota, central Arizona and most of Oregon. The technology will eventually replace the existing radar system and may allow aircraft some level of independent traffic control (or awareness) but not until all aircraft are equipped with the transponders that make it work.