ADS-B: The First Step of NextGen

Contributed by Matt Nelson, Manager of Satellite Operations

Straight Talk About ADS-B 
Matt Nelson and his team condensed the available information about ADS-B into "Straight Talk About ADS-B" a free booklet available for download at

Most people in aviation have heard about NextGen, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) vision for the future of national airspace management and control. That vision is quickly becoming a reality with the 2020 mandate for implementing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B).

ADS-B is the first step in the transition of Air Traffic Control (ATC) from a ground-based radar network to a satellite-based system. This FAA mandate will have a huge impact on the entire aviation industry, affecting, to a certain degree, every aircraft in U.S. airspace.

ADS-B: What is it?

In the simplest of terms, ADS-B is a satellite-based transmission system that allows aircraft to transmit (ADS-B Out) and receive (ADS-B In) information to and from ATC ground stations and other properly equipped aircraft.

ADS-B Out will be mandated by the FAA in the airspace that now requires Mode-C transponder. ADS-B In, at this time, will be optional for most aircraft.

NextGen Technologies

As mentioned, ADS-B is just the first step in achieving all of NextGen’s goals. The following are other technologies related to NextGen that are being developed and tested.

  • Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS)
  • Multilateration
  • Airport Surface Detection Equipment model X (ASDE-X)
  • Data Comm Integrated with FMS 

My team and I have spent the last few months finding and condensing information about ADS-B, which we hope will answer many of your concerns on ADS-B for your aircraft. For a more in-depth look, read “Straight Talk About ADS-B” at

Feel free to contact our avionics experts with your questions and challenges when the subject of ADS-B arises.

Matt Nelson serves as the Manager of Satellite Operations for Duncan Aviation’s avionics network and is a co-author of “Straight Talk About ADS-B.” He began working in aviation in 1987.

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