AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - 45

- sort of a carrot to ease the sting of the stick of requiring
ADS-B Out as of Jan. 1, 2020. FIS-B works like this:
The FIS-B system collects weather information
through the nationwide network of ADS-B ground stations
and the National Weather Service NEXRAD radar
network, processes the resulting data into a deliverable
format, and broadcasts that data for reception by an
aircraft's ADS-B In receiver and translated for viewing
on cockpit display in the form of radar images and other
information - weather alerts, airport information and
various other reports.
It bears repeating that among the advantages for
pilots using FIS-B via a 978 MHz receiver is that the
basic services arrive in the cockpit at no cost. And
these services are comparable to an XM weather
subscription service. Currently, FIS-B offers the following
communications services:
*	 Aviation weather products such as METARs,
TAFs, winds aloft and NEXRAD precipitation
maps.
*	 Temporary flight restrictions and status updates
for special use airspace.
*	 AIRMETs, SIGMETs and convective SIGMETs.
*	 Pilot reports.
*	 NOTAMs, both distant and FDC.
There is more, with these six newest services added
by the FAA in 2018:
*	 Lightning.
*	 Turbulence.
*	 Icing.
*	 Cloud tops.
*	 Graphical AIRMET.
*	 Center weather advisory.
Terminal area forecasts for airports, METARs, and, of
course, national and regional NEXRAD. The beauty of the
NEXRAD images comes from the ability of most receiving
systems to store multiple updates and then replay them
in order, and in doing that providing an animated display
of weather movement spanning as much as an hour to 90
minutes of the systems most-recent movement.
Delivering NEXRAD images for FIS-B:
It's a multiple-step, step-by-step process
It seems unlikely that anyone working in aviation today
would be unfamiliar with the familiar radar images of weather
movements shown on The Weather Channel, local television
weather programming and on flight-planning and weatherdata programs running on computer screens at thousands of

FBOs scattered across the country.
Most of us have seen the animated replay of NEXRAD
radar generated by 159 S-band National Weather Service
NEXRAD stations. Most people don't know the details
behind those NEXRAD graphics.
NEXRAD, a digital-Doppler radar system, generates a
single composite radar image by making six 360-degree
scans of its coverage area. The first, or base-reflectivity scan,
occurs at an elevation tilt of 0.5 degrees above the horizon.
Each successive scan of the six is at a higher tilt, which
contributes to the final image's three-dimensional depth.
After the final scan, a computer processes the six scans
into a single image informed with height above the ground
to give the image a three-dimensional appearance. It's that
final composite image that's transmitted to the FAA's ADS-B
In system for delivery by FIS-B to aircraft equipped with the
receiver and display needed for viewing.
It's the total time needed to process the multiple radar
sweeps into the final images - 179 of them - and packaging
them for computer-coded broadcast for ADS-B In users
that add up to the latency period between individual image
updates.
ADS-B In versus SiriusXM Aviation
The debate remains unsettled among many pilots:
Which weather service is best for flight planning and
weather avoidance en route?
For some, the debate takes on economic traits:
Is a free service as good as a subscriber-supported
alternative?
A few pilots solve the debate by embracing both
options. They equip themselves to receive FIS-B and
outfit the cockpit to receive SiriusXM. For some, the goal
is redundancy; for others, it's a matter of having as much
information as possible.
Admittedly, for many, the debate is largely economic.
Free needs no further rationalization or justification -
particularly among pilots who don't typically log 50 hours
of flying annually: $30, $60, $100 a month can be hard to
justify when the pilot goes months without flying.
For the want-the-best pilot, the SiriusXM option often
feels best under the get-what-you-pay-for philosophy
of equipment decisions. And SiriusXM offers something
FIS-B doesn't match - music and talk radio via an addon SiriusXM radio subscription - about $15 a month on
top of the weather subscription.
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AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021

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AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - Intro
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AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - Cover3
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