ATC procedures are moving away from a system of ground based radars to satellite-based navigation. The new system will require all aircraft to send out a signal as to their location. Commercial aircraft are already equipped with these devices, but many older aircraft will be required to add one.
Aircraft owners can choose to also install a device which will enable them to see all the satellite activity on a screen in their own aircraft. The new system will allow planes to fly in a much more direct path, saving operators millions of gallons of fuel each year and significantly reducing aircraft exhaust emissions into our environment!
Ground based systems require aircraft to fly over land based radar locations to have their position captured and relayed onto radar screens used by ATC. These routes, in many cases, have a zigzag pattern that can be very inefficient and time consuming.
When weather threatens a certain flight path, pilots are redirected to other paths that can be even more out of the way. Using satellite navigation, planes will be more reliably tracked and will be able to fly direct to their destination, even over water where land based radar is scarce. This will make many new routes available.
GPS sends position information to aircraft.
Aircraft communicate position, speed and altitude data with each other.
All data gets transmitted to ground unit for decoding.
Data is sent to ATC and displayed on a radar scope.
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