ADS-B is one of the cornerstones of NextGen. This technology provides the locational and informational link between the aircraft and the ATC system. It is also one of the most controversial elements of this transformational future of the aviation navigation. Probably the biggest questions have been directed to its cost, particularly for GA aircraft, and its value to all users. NBAA, an organization which has supported ADS-B, has repeated at a NextGen Advisory Committee concerns about the collateral uses of this equipment’s recordings.
Ed Bolen, NBAA’s President and CEO, made the following statement:
“NBAA has long promoted the development of ADS-B…But at the same time, we have consistently pointed out that, in transitioning to satellite-based navigation and surveillance, we need to find a way to make accommodations for privacy, security and competitiveness, and we want to ensure that concern is addressed as ADS-B moves toward implementation.”
One of the Association’s services to its member is Blocked Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) which protects the privacy of the N numbers of aircraft which register under this program. Basically it does not permit real time display on aircraft situation display to industry (ASDI).
The above comments by Mr. Bolen should put the FAA on notice that it should find some method to provide this level of privacy. If that aspect is clarified, the business aviation segment likely may move into the pro-ADS-B camp.
The technical issue raised by NBAA may have broader applications. The information created by the ADS-B may be of interest to a wide range of collateral uses. In any litigation involving any inflight issues, the lawyers will likely seek this information. The precision of these tracks will provide new information for the airport neighborhood groups asserting inverse noise damages. Journalists may seek this information of the exact location at a specific moment, time of departure, time of arrival, etc. to support some proposition.
These inquiries may require additional staff to respond to all of the requests. If not that solution, it might be wise to get some statutory protection for unlimited FOIA applications for this information.