uAvionix Begins Testing skyBeacon X with NAV CANADA and Aireon

New product will solve the antenna diversity issue for GA.

uAvionix skyBeacon X
skyBeacon X will transmit on both the 978 and 1090 Mhz.uAvionix

In January of 2019, NAV CANADA announced it will be implementing an ADS-B performance requirements mandate in three phases that will affect U.S. aircraft headed north. Only the third and final implementation phase, due for activation by 2023 will actually impact U.S. GA aircraft.

Because NAV CANADA uses Aireon's space-based ADS-B signals to provide much of its air traffic services, the Canadian government worries that ADS-B Out solutions being installed in the U.S. will not work up north because aircraft from south of the Canadian line use only a single antenna normally installed on the bottom of the fuselage. Many of the current crop of ADS-B Out solutions also transmit on only one frequency, 978 Mhz. Most commercial aircraft have dealt with this antenna diversity issue by adding an additional antenna on top of the fuselage that also transmits on 1090 Mhz.

Montana-based uAvionix says, “Existing diversity-compatible systems today are several thousand dollars more than a non-diversity system, and the installation costs can be much higher due to the installation of the second antenna.” uAvionix currently builds the compact skyBeacon and tailBeacon ADS-B Out solutions. uAvionix thinks it has a solution to the antenna diversity problem that will still keep costs within the budget of most GA pilots.

Called the Beacon X, uAvionix says it is, “developing and testing skyBeacon X, a wingtip mounted 1090MHz Mode S ADS-B OUT transponder, designed to meet the update rate performance required when used in conjunction with the Aireon satellite-based global ADS-B air traffic surveillance system.” The company believes their new transponders will offer an affordable, reliable solution for ADS-B OUT equipage that will help many of its international ANSP customers and regulators increase equipage rates for GA aircraft. “It will also allow GA to leverage both the safety and operational benefits of a space-based surveillance system.”

While skyBeacon X won’t be ready in time for U.S. customers to meet the deadline for the FAA’s 2020 mandate, the new equipment will be available and TSO certified in time to meet the Canadian mandate in 2023.