Aero: U.K. Pilots Like FIS-B Weather, But Not If They Have To Pay

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As the 2020 ADS-B mandate pumpkin looms on the horizon, say this is about the system: Once you’ve ponied up for the installation cost, it does provide free weather and traffic. But in Europe and the UK, no deal. And a recent experiment to see if pilots across the pond would pay for these services produced an unsurprising result. They won’t.

At its own expense, ADS-B maker uAvionix set up a small seven-station ADS-B network in southern England broadcasting FIS-B, the weather side of the data stream. In this podcast recorded at Aero, Mike Tetlow, uAvionix’s representative in the U.K., said the experiment was successful in getting real-time weather into GA cockpits, but is not likely to continue much longer. “The broad-brush assessment is that people liked to have the weather information, they did use it. The majority like it, but didn’t want to pay for it,” Tetlow said.

In the U.S., ADS-B is both mandated and part of the FAA’s NextGen air traffic system, so TIS-B and FIS-B are required components and free to users who equip. TIS-B doesn’t exist in the U.K., although FIS-B data is available. “The CAA have looked into putting in something similar as used in the states, but always, finances are an issue. At the moment, it’s up to pilots to carry in their own aircraft some form of traffic receiver and of course, not everyone carries a traffic transmitter. It’s not a requirement in the U.K. at the moment,” Tetlow added. He’s not sure how much longer uAvionix will maintain the ground stations now that the survey is complete.