Two NextGen Air Safety Tools: An ADS-B Equipped UAV and a Wake Turbulence Estimator
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Two air safety tools are developed in the context of the FAA’s NextGen program. The first tool addresses the alarming increase in the frequency of near-collisions between manned and unmanned aircraft by equipping a common hobby class UAV with an ADS-B transponder that broadcasts its position, speed, heading and unique identification number to all local air traffic. The second tool estimates and outputs the location of dangerous wake vortex corridors in real time based on the ADS-B data collected and processed using a custom software package developed for this project. The TRansponder based Position Information System (TRAPIS) consists of data packet decoders, an aircraft database, Graphical User Interface (GUI) and the wake vortex extension application. Output from TRAPIS can be visualized in Google Earth and alleviates the problem of pilots being left to imagine where invisible wake vortex corridors are based solely on intuition or verbal warnings from ATC. The result of these two tools is the increased situational awareness, and hence safety, of human pilots in the National Airspace System (NAS).