Nav Canada is testing space-based ADS-B for low altitude aircraft in the Montreal area and is going to try it out next around Edmonton. Nav Canada says the voluntary trial is assessing how well the system works with aircraft closer to the ground than the 29,000-foot floor of current ADS-B airspace. The Montreal Flight Information Region rolled out its test program in mid-December and Edmonton’s is to be next. “The trial will help evaluate performance, gather air operator and air traffic controller feedback, and address any potential technical issues prior to the mandate going into effect,” the company said. “Equipage will not be mandatory for this trial, which will only leverage aircraft that are already equipped to transmit to space- based ADS-B receivers. The airspace management company has tentatively set mandating ADS-B Out equipage in Class A and B airspace in 2023 and in Class C, D and E airspace in 2026.
To qualify for the trial, aircraft must have ADS-B transmitters that can communicate with satellites, which generally means a roof-mounted antenna, although presumably a uAvionix Tailbeacon should also work. “The aircraft system will require an antenna able to broadcast out toward space-based ADS-B receivers emitting 1090 MHz Extended Squitter. Bottom mount transponders alone are insufficient,” the company said. “An antenna that emits the signal toward the satellites is required for space-based ADS-B receivers to acquire a reliable signal. The aircraft must have TCAS reporting serviceable and enabled.”