Space-based automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (SB ADS-B) is revolutionary technology that now provides 100 percent world-wide surveillance coverage to appropriately equipped aircraft, expanding surveillance capability to remote and terrain-blocked areas.
NAV CANADA – in conjunction with the United Kingdom’s NATS – was the first in the world to use space-based ADS-B. First implemented in 2019 over the North Atlantic, the world’s busiest oceanic airspace, aircraft operators are now benefiting from significant safety and efficiency enhancements.
NAV CANADA was also the first air navigation service provider worldwide to implement space-based ADS-B in its domestic airspace. Space-based ADS-B is already being used and delivering benefits to suitably-equipped aircraft in high level airspace above flight level 290 (FL290) in Canada.
Additionally, beginning December 2021, NAV CANADA has commenced incremental provision of air traffic service (ATS) surveillance services using space-based ADS-B below FL290. This represents the first time ADS-B data is used below FL290. The incremental approach to implementation will allow for ongoing evaluation of overall system performance, gathering air operator, air traffic controller and flight service specialist feedback, and address any potential technical issues prior to the mandate going into effect. Learn more about the incremental implementation.
Further extending the benefits of space-based ADS-B surveillance into our own airspace enhances safety and efficiency while ensuring our long-term alignment with the global aviation system.
Space-based ADS-B is already being used and delivering benefits to suitably-equipped aircraft in high level airspace in Canada.
The mandate will be implemented in a phased approach.
In the first phase, the mandate will come into effect in high altitude Class A and B airspace on February 23, 2023, and will be introduced through changes to the Designated Airspace Handbook (DAH) and supported by amendments Standards in Airworthiness Manual Chapter 551.
The mandate will then be implemented in areas within Class C, D and E airspace starting no earlier than 2026. The approach and timing for implementation in these classes will be determined pending further assessment. We expect these changes will be facilitated through changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and further updates to the DAH. NAV CANADA will continue to engage with stakeholders ahead of this implementation.
To learn more about Canada’s classes of airspace, see our infographic.
Canada is committed to developing an ADS-B mandate that will benefit its aviation community, and this included an assessment of a best approach that accounts for all stakeholder needs.
Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and in response to stakeholder feedback and valued industry input that indicated more time was required to prepare for the ADS-B Out Performance Requirements Mandate, NAV CANADA and Transport Canada made a decision to postpone implementation.
In order for our space-based ADS-B receivers to acquire a reliable signal, an antenna is required to emit the signal toward the satellites. Without this reliability, reduced separation using space-based ADS-B as surveillance would not be possible.
This requirement can be met either through antenna diversity (the use of a top and bottom antenna) or with a single antenna that is capable of transmitting both towards the ground and up towards satellites.
The intent of the mandate has not changed, but new entrants in the transponder market have provided more flexibility in how aircraft can meet equipage requirements (e.g. the use of a single antenna capable of transmitting both up and down).
In the U.S., aircraft that operate in airspace that required a Mode C or Mode S transponder needed to be equipped with ADS-B Out by December 31, 2019. This includes most controlled airspace (Class A, B, C and parts of E); details can be found on the FAA website. Above 18,000 feet MSL, 1090 Extended Squitter is required, whereas below 18,000 feet a provision was made to allow for the use of a 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT). Outside U.S. airspace, almost all ADS-B systems operate on 1090 MHz.
Aircraft that equip for compliance with the Canadian ADS-B Out Performance Requirements Mandate will also be compliant with the U.S. and European ADS-B Out mandates. However, US and European aircraft that plan to fly in Canadian mandated airspace will have to meet the earlier-described antenna performance requirements.
The FAA have developed a ground-based network that covers the contiguous United States, and equipage requirements reflect this infrastructure. Canada’s unique geography, along with a long-term view of the safety and efficiency benefits that space-based ADS-B will deliver worldwide, made this satellite technology the right choice for Canada. Canada has an abundance of remote areas without road access, including areas with extreme weather in the north, that make the installation and maintenance of ground-based infrastructure costly and challenging. Space-based ADS-B also has the advantage of a signal that is not blocked by line of sight due to terrain, which is especially advantageous in mountainous regions. Additionally, the equipage requirements of Canada’s mandate are in line with a growing number of other countries in the world, and our adoption of space-based ADS-B best ensures our long-term alignment with the global aviation system.
The first phase of the mandate (Class A and B) will be introduced through changes to the Designated Airspace Handbook (DAH) and supported by amendments to Standards in Airworthiness Manual Chapter 551. We expect the second phase (Class C, D and E) will be facilitated through changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and further updates to the DAH.
Except for special situations such as search and rescue, MEDEVAC and law enforcement, aircraft that do not meet the equipage requirements defined by the mandate will be denied entry into the airspace for which the mandate is in place.
The greatest benefits for ATS surveillance are achieved if all aircraft are appropriately equipped. Mandating the equipage of all aircraft within certain airspace enables the use of a common surveillance technology across the country, creating a more seamless operating environment and bringing significant safety and efficiency benefits.
Space-based ADS-B surveillance enhances safety and efficiency by providing air traffic services (ATS) with highly accurate position and velocity aircraft data. Read about all the benefits of ADS-B here.
The first phase of the mandate applies to Class A and B where general aviation customers do not generally fly.
Prior to establishing an ADS-B mandate in controlled airspace below 12,500 feet — including but not limited to class C, D, or E control zones, class E airways, Terminal and Transition areas — specific guidelines will be developed and coordinated to ensure that the concerns of affected operators are addressed and mitigated. Such a mandate will be implemented no sooner than 2026. NAV CANADA recognizes that there is a cost to adequately equip aircraft, and this is being considered in the timelines and airspace classification.
NAV CANADA is dedicated to working toward developing additional benefits specific to general aviation such as enhanced search and rescue, and we are in preliminary discussions with several external companies who may wish to deploy a FIS-B service.
Customers who currently fly in airspace where space-based ADS-B is used for surveillance are already benefiting from the improved efficiency.
Additionally, NAV CANADA has commenced incremental provision of space-based ADS-B surveillance within specific airspace below FL290 beginning December 2021. Equipage will not be mandatory during this period, which will only leverage aircraft that are already equipped to transmit to space-based ADS-B receivers. These equipped aircraft will benefit from ADS-B service in areas not previously covered. Fore more information see the Resources above.
NAV CANADA’s current customer charges rates already reflect the use of space-based surveillance data services domestically and in the North Atlantic oceanic airspace. No additional costs specific to the use of ADS-B are anticipated from NAV CANADA. Where an aircraft does not currently meet the ADS-B Out performance requirements, air operators and aircraft owners will have costs associated with equipage (e.g. transponder installation).
Canada is committed to an ADS-B mandate that will benefit the aviation community and NAV CANADA will continue to engage with stakeholders throughout the transition.
Additionally, an incremental approach to implementation of space-based ADS-B surveillance in airspace below FL290 has been undertaken to allow for ongoing evaluation of overally system performance, gathering air operator, air traffic controller and flight service specialist feedback, and to address any potential technical issues prior to the mandate going into effect.