Electronic Conspicuity and ADS-L

Electronic Conspicuity (EC): From Surveillance to Safety

In the field of aviation, the concept of electronic conspicuity (EC) is quickly becoming essential. Its aim is to enhance the visibility and detectability of aircraft electronically towards both ground observers (e.g. ATC) and other aircraft, to supplement the pilot’s visual observation. This approach addresses the limitations of relying solely on visual identification, thereby increasing safety. Solutions like FLARM and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) are both expressions of this same concept.

ADS-L

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recently introduced the concept of ADS-L (ADS-B “light”). Originally tailored for surveilling manned aircraft in U-Space airspace, as mandated by the Standardised European Rules of the Air (SERA) Article 6005, ADS-L led to the creation of two standards: networked and broadcast. Each standard offers unique benefits, addressing different safety aspects and contributing to a comprehensive EC ecosystem.

Interoperability: Bridging the Gap Between EC Systems

With the increasing complexity of the EC landscape, interoperability has become crucial. This process involves enabling various EC systems to communicate with each other, improving their overall effectiveness. Interoperability can occur through ground stations that rebroadcast or relay signals (this includes mobile networks such as 4G), through in-cockpit devices with multiple capabilities, or a mix thereof.

The following picture shows the EC landscape expected by 2026.

 

Adaptability and Selective Integration: The Path Forward

The growing complexity within the EC sphere is undeniable. However, it’s vital to understand that EC isn’t intended to replace FLARM. Rather, it acts as a supplementary solution, enhancing existing safety measures for a more robust and secure aviation environment.

In this context, FLARM will persist in adopting and integrating effective functionalities from the EC landscape that add value for users. This adaptive approach ensures the implementation of best practices and technologies for optimal safety.

In conclusion, the evolution of electronic conspicuity in aviation signifies a major step towards improving aircraft visibility and safety. With continuous technological developments like ADS-L and an emphasis on interoperability, the aviation industry is moving towards a future with safer skies. However, significant challenges such as interoperability and the inherent complexity of new approaches remain.