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NATS to run Mode S transponder trial

October 2, 2014

NATS is to run a trial that will allow General Aviation pilots to use the full functionality of a Mode S transponder for the first time. 
The trial will allow the connection of a Mode S to a non-certified GPS transmitter to transmit a position, height and call-sign via ADS-B and in some cases, receive that data from other aircraft. Under current safety regulations, this functionality cannot be used unless the GPS signal has had its accuracy certified by the CAA; however NATS and AOPA have secured permission to conduct a UK-wide trial using uncertified signals. 
While NATS does not rely on ADS-B to detect aircraft, it believes that helping the GA community to use it will deliver additional functionality in the air and on the ground, and make the UK’s busy airspace even safer and more efficient. 
Jonathan Smith, NATS General Aviation Lead, said, “The aim of the trial is for NATS and the GA community to understand whether uncertified GPS positions can be used to deliver real safety benefits. This could be in the form of traffic alerts in the cockpit, enhanced situational awareness or even information being spoken directly into a pilot’s headset.” 

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