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UK Trial of 978MHz UAT ADS-B Obstruction Beacons for gliding, hang gliding, paragliding, and model flying sites

uAvionix is participating in a Civil Aviation Authority-endorsed large-scale trial using ground-based ADS-B obstruction beacons operating on 978MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) in the UK. A first-ever trial to use ADS-B to enhance the safety of glider, hang gliding, paragliding, and model flying operations, the trials will commence in the autumn of 2022 at various sites throughout the UK, supported by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Airspace Modernisation Strategy (AMS).

Collision risks associated with hazardous overflight of winch launch gliding sites are well known to operators, yet frequent incidents continue to be reported. As part of the AMS, the CAA is seeking to implement measures to mitigate this and similar risk utilizing underutilized 978Mhz spectrum, commonly used in the USA as a secondary ADS-B frequency and for Traffic Information System Broadcast (TIS-B) and Flight Information System – Broadcast (FIS-B).

As the global market leader in UAT ADS-B devices, uAvionix is supporting the trials by providing purpose-built powered obstruction beacons that will be placed at 13 club sites throughout the UK, enabling the sites to be visualized when operational on any Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) utilizing ADS-B IN devices such as the uAvionix skyEcho2. The obstruction beacons will be switched on and broadcast only when flying activities are underway at the participating club sites.

The project will trial new airspace safety functionality built upon ground-based ADS-B obstruction beacons broadcasting on 978MHz UAT ADS-B protocols. Approved by the CAA, the project will be undertaken between September 1st and October 31st, 2022. The trials are a collaboration between uAvionix, the CAA, Association Head Office and member clubs of the British Gliding Association (BGA), British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA), and the British Model Flying Association & Large Model Association (BMFA & LMA).

Suitably equipped General Aviation pilots flying within the vicinity of these Beacons will be alerted in real-time to these aerial activities to enhance their situational awareness and safety. Other airspace users and interested parties may also benefit. The project will be seeking feedback from all relevant stakeholders.

The trial is approved by the CAA to evaluate digital Flight Information Service provision as part of the Airspace Modernisation Strategy.

For further information and details of the trial sites see here.

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