Sagetech: Inexpensive COTS equipment can enhance the safety, usefulness of drones in civil, defense missions

Drone in Iraq

WHITE SALMON, Wash., 7 Nov. 2012. One major benefit of the NextGen ADS-B system is that the equipment required to send and receive aircraft position reports can be inexpensive, says a representative of Sagetech, an avionics company in White Salmon, Wash.

“Small ADS-B data receivers are available, enabling surrounding ADS-B Out equipped aircraft to be displayed using increasingly popular electronic flight bag apps running on Apple iPads.

“The ability to see and avoid aircraft is a fundamental challenge with combined,” he continues. Unless the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is equipped with a sophisticated camera system, it’s nearly impossible for the UAV operator to gain awareness of the locations of other aircraft.

“Pilots of manned aircraft have difficulty visually detecting drones because they are generally small and hard to see. The ADS-B Out system can simplify locating other aircraft by providing pilots and operators real-time overlays of aircraft location, making visual detection less important in the task of assuring separation and collision avoidance,” Sagetech’s spokesperson adds.

“Drone operations can be enhanced without penalizing manned aircraft by further restricting airspace. Using inexpensive equipment, such as iPads, that are already finding use in general aviation cockpits and by operators, range personnel, and others, can readily track unmanned aircraft. We do not suggest this is a complete Sense and Avoid solution that allows for broad use of drones in the civil airspace. Rather, this demonstration is intended to spark ideas and nurture creative approaches to how we can take small steps toward combined unmanned/manned operations.

“Applications where this unique combination can be used to enhance the usefulness of UAV missions are numerous. Military ranges can now track use of their airspace by guest organizations simply by adding a small transponder brick weighing only a few ounces that enables Range Control personnel to track guest drones using stand-alone, independent systems.

Forest fire areas of operation, in which TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions) restrict aircraft, can now replace expensive helicopters with drones that will help manage ground-based and aircraft firefighting strategies and monitor their effectiveness. Flight crews and ground personnel can be issued easy to use iPads and ADS-B receivers, allowing pilots to monitor locations of drones, and ground personnel to see the locations of all aircraft as firefighting operations progress, increasing safety and situational awareness.

“Law enforcement and border patrol organizations have become early adopters among civil users of unmanned aircraft. Use of drones by law enforcement is presently limited, with line-of-sight control of small quad-rotor hover vehicles offering only marginally more capability than simple aircraft long used by R/C (radio control) hobby enthusiasts. Customs and Border Patrol are using more capable aircraft and operate nine Predator drones as of this writing. The Department of Defense is the primary force behind drone popularization, and they themselves have need for increased access to airspace for training.

“Meanwhile, the FAA has been busy upgrading the way Air Traffic Control locates airplanes, adding the NextGen ADS-B system infrastructure to their existing legacy radar systems. The ADS-B system is a world standard inspired by the success of a similar maritime system allowing ships to electronically track one another to avoid collision.

“The NextGen concept is simple. Aircraft transmit GPS position and fight information reports by way of ADS-B Out messages. ADS-B Out capability will be required of virtually all aircraft in the US by Jan 1, 2020. Europe, Australia, and the world in general are also adopting ADS-B Out requirements.

“Sagetech makes an ADS-B transponder that weighs just 3.5 oz. (100g), making it feasible for use in drones as small as 10 lbs.

“ADS-B receivers allow pilots to access free in-flight weather data broadcast from FAA ADS-B ground stations, a service previously available only by paid subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. Some of these ADS-B receivers, like Sagetech’s Clarity, are capable of receiving ADS-B Out position reports.

“Drone and manned aircraft alike can be tracked anywhere within an operations area up to 100 miles in diameter using inexpensive equipment:

  • Small transponders on drones and manned aircraft
  • iPads and EFB apps for pilots and ground personnel
  • Portable low cost ADS-B receivers

“These facilitate the ability for UAV operators and pilots to self-deconflict flight paths.”

Follow Avionics Intelligence news updates on Twitter (@Avionics_Intel), LinkedIn, and Google+.

ATC image courtesy Shutterstock.

ATC image courtesy Shutterstock
ATC image courtesy Shutterstock

Related Products

VPX3-453 3U VPX Virtex-6/8640D Digital Signal Processor

The Curtiss-Wright VPX3-453 is a high performance 3U VPX DSP and FPGA processor card th...

CHAMP-FX4 6U OpenVPX Virtex-7 FPGA Processor Card

The CHAMP-FX4 is the flagship 6U product in Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions’ family of...

PMC-E2001 Audio/Acoustic Waveform Generating PMC Card

PMC-E2001 Delta-sigma PMC features 16-bit resolution with 8 Analog Outputs and 4 Analog...

Related Companies

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a lon...

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading supplier...

General Micro Systems Inc

Since 1979, General Micro Systems has been providing the most diverse line of single-board comput...
Wire News provided by   


Press Releases

One Component, Snap Cure Epoxy Features High Strength Properties

Suitable for a variety of applications in the electronic, aerospace and OEM industries, Master Bond EP...

One Part Epoxy Resists up to 500°F and Meets NASA Low Outgassing Specifications

Master Bond Supreme 12AOHT-LO is a one component epoxy for a variety of bonding and sealing applicatio...

Low Viscosity, One Part Cyanoacrylate Is Non-Toxic and Meets ISO 10993-5 Specifications

Master Bond MB250NT is widely used for a variety of applications ranging from repair to high speed pro...

Thermally Conductive, Two Component Epoxy Passes USP Class VI Tests and ISO 10993-5 Specifications

With biocompatibility and cytotoxicity certifications, Master Bond EP21AOLV-2Med is often selected for...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Defense Solutions division applauds Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: N...

Curtiss-Wright’s New Rugged Mobile IP Router Subsystem Features an Integrated Cisco® 5915 ESR Router

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division, a Cisco® Systems Solut...

VICTORY Shared Processing, Fire Control Computer, and Switch for Ground Vehicles Introduced by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced a new fu...

GE Announces First Sub-Credit Card-Sized Multi-Function High Definition (HD) Video Tracker

HUNTSVILLE, AL.— OCTOBER 13, 2014—GE’s Intelligent Platforms business today announced at AUSA (Octobe...

Most Popular Articles

All Access Sponsors

Follow Us On...