CAA launches ADS-B electronic conspicuity trials

Is the UK heading for compulsory use of ADS-B electronic conspicuity by light aircraft?

That’s the likely conclusion from an announcement by the CAA that “ADS-B in/out using 1090MHz is its preferred national system to improve electronic conspicuity”.

This is the statement put out by the CAA:

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today confirmed that ADS-B ‘in/out’ using 1090 MHz is its preferred national system to improve electronic conspicuity for general aviation, ideally used through transponders.

The CAA is already working with the GA community and industry to develop an integrated electronic surveillance solution offering both airborne and ground environment benefits.

Increasing the number of aircraft with electronic conspicuity capability will have the potential to:

  • Enhance safety through improved situational awareness for both pilots and air traffic control;
  • Reduce infringements of controlled airspace;
  • Improve access to the UK’s increasingly busy airspace.

To help encourage ADS-B take-up by the GA community, the CAA has today launched a survey seeking information on the types of devices private pilots already use and what they would prefer to use in future.

The survey can be seen at and closes on 29 September 2017.

uAvionix SkyEcho
Trials will use ADS-B through devices such as the uAvionix SkyEcho.

ADS-B Trials

The CAA has also announced that a number of trials will also be taking place to assess systems and potential uses. These include:

  • A trial at Dundee Airport (run by Highlands and Islands Airports) to investigate a low cost system receiving Mode-S and ADS-B data to provide air traffic controllers with more information on aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace.
  • The transmission of weather data from the ground direct to a GA aircraft cockpit via 978MHz. This trial is being undertaken by an equipment manufacturer (uAvionix) and aeronautical information service provider (SkyDemon). In the longer term this system may also assist drones in safely integrating into the UK’s airspace.
  • Simultaneous transmissions from a GA aircraft with Mode S and a conspicuity device (meeting the criteria in CAP1391). Volunteers from the GA communities are assisting with this trial.
  • A trial run by the Future Airspace Strategy VFR Implementation Strategy (FASVIG) will be looking to provide real time traffic data to GA airfields, enhancing the airfield’s situational awareness of aircraft in its vicinity. (See earlier FLYER news story here).

These trials will look to build on outputs from previous trials, and gather evidence from user feedback.

One benefit of ADS-B in/out is the ability to receive live weather reports and overlay them on a moving map app such as SkyDemon. [Image: SkyDemon]
Colin Chesterton, CAA future systems coordinator, said: “We are very keen to put electronic conspicuity systems into GA aircraft cockpits as soon as possible. But it’s important we also include the users’ requirements in our decision-making.

“We have a real opportunity to put in place an affordable system which will increase the safety of GA pilots and give them some really useful features, such as live weather data, and also provide controllers with the data they need to do their jobs.

“There will be much more to come during the year with the various tests taking place. All will be undertaken in close cooperation with the GA community and equipment manufacturers to make sure that we can implement the findings as quickly as possible.”

FLYER review of uAvionix SkyEcho ADS-B
Discussion on FLYER forum
FASVIG airfield trials


  1. We have some of the most congested airspace in Europe for VFR pilots, with low Class A altitudes, VFR rat runs, and “overhead joins” pushing users into conflict zones. Anything which introduces improved situational awareness is a good thing, but only if the final offering also comes with overlaid weather (as the USA has had for years) because that is another big feature of UK GA – the fickle British weather.

  2. I have been operating Pilotaware and receiving adsb for some time now.
    It is very useful, now that PAW can also receive the OGN of gliders it has become indespesible.
    Weather doesn’t bother me, I have Sky Demon and my iPad has a similar so that I receive weather updates throughout my flight whether home or overseas.

  3. I’ve been outputting ads-b and receiving
    Using Garmin pilot and a GDL-39 3D for a couple of years, it’s very useful already, if and when it’s prevalent it will be awesome, bring it on!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *