top of page

South African ADS-B Enters Final Phase

By Clinton Carroll

We have all heard that ADS-B is coming. When is it happening? Is it really going to affect South African Airspace? Well, the answer now is a simple one. YES. Being very involved in the ADS-B process in South Africa, we have the final Draft of the AIC that is to be issued in the next few weeks from the SACAA. It reads:




The purpose of this AIC is to inform the South African ATM community of intended developments in terms of enhancing and improving Air Traffic Surveillance Services. It also serves as a means to open dialogue for the purposes of consultation with the Industry prior to the proposed implementation of the Surveillance Services.

In the Republic of South Africa, transponder equipage; and operation in CLASS A, and CLASS C airspace is mandated according to SA-AIP ENR 1.6.1 to ENR 1.6.5. Furthermore, CAR 91.05.1 read together with the SA-CATS 91.05.1; provide further clarity and support to this ENR mandate.


In order to continue with the provision of safe, orderly, expeditious and efficient Air Traffic Management solutions and associated services; it is necessary to continuously review the enabling technologies that allow for improved continuation of these services.

To this extent, the need to inform industry of safer, more efficient, and cost-beneficial Surveillance Technologies such as Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Mode Select (Mode S) transponder has been identified; with a view to replace legacy, less efficient, and far more expensive Primary Surveillance RADAR (PSR) and Monopulse Secondary Surveillance RADAR (MSSR) technologies.

The positive gains in Total Surveillance System Performance that ADS-B and Mode S provides has been proved by other ANSP’s; and as such, ADS-B been identified to be suitable for fitment on all relevant Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flights in the RSA in order to ensure that pertinent and essential information is fed to the Automated Air Traffic Management System.


If a new transponder is installed in an IFR or VFR aircraft, it is highly recommended that it be equipped with serviceable ADS-B and Mode S transponder in order to comply with the future effective dates for planned Mode S and ADS-B equipage.


The proposed fitment of approved ADS-B equipage is as follows:

2018 – IFR Forward fit: Any aircraft that is first registered on or after 1 January 2018 and is operated under IFR must carry a serviceable ADS-B transponder that complies with the requirements below.

2020 – All IFR aircraft: On and after 1 April 2020 operated under IFR must carry a serviceable ADS-B transponder that complies with the requirements below.

2020 – Mode S for New aircraft and Mode S for Newly installed transponders: Any aircraft that is first registered or modified by having its transponder replaced on or after 1 April 2020, and is operated in Class A, B, C or E airspace must carry a serviceable ADS-B and Mode-S transponder that complies with the requirements below.

Any aircraft that operates above 10,000 feet AMSL in all declared airspace types must carry a serviceable ADS-B transponder that complies with the requirements below.


In order to realise the full operational benefits of ADS-B, it is recommended that the equipment meets the current standard 1090ES ADS-B Link Version 2 (RTCA/DO-260B/EUROCAE ED-102A) for transponders fitted to aircraft operating in South African airspace.Aircraft that are required to carry ADS-B transponders for the purposes of using Space-Based ADS-B will be required to have their antennae fitted on to the top of the fuselage in order for the antenna to be within line-of-sight of the Space-Based ADS-B satellite constellation.

(RTCA/DO-260B/EUROCAE ED-102A) transponders feature both ADS-B “out”, as well as ADS-B “in” for the purposes of Traffic Information Service Broadcast (TIS-B), and Flight Information Service (FIS-B). TIS-B allows for ADS-B “in” equipped aircraft to be provided with an electronic presentation of surrounding traffic in a lateral, longitudinal, and vertical display on their Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI) equipment.

TIS-B is a Data Link-based Weather and Information system that uplinks pertinent data to the CDTI suite for improved Weather and other related information.

The availability of FIS, and TIS-B increases situational awareness and safety exponentially.

In South Africa, (RTCA/DO-260B/EUROCAE ED-102A) compliant transponders shall include only those operating on 1090 MHz. This standard will expressly exclude the use of Universal Access Transceivers (UAT) that operates on 978 MHz.

In addition to meeting the above requirements, the equipment shall also be certified in accordance with the FAA or EASA (E)TSO-C166() or a later approved version.

The mode S transponder equipment shall be certified in accordance with the FAA or EASA (E)TSO-C112 or a later approved version.

The aircrafts unique 24 bit address’ (otherwise known as the mode S code issued by the South African Civil Aviation Authority) shall be strapped to the transponders without error and ensuring that it corresponds exactly with the binary or hexadecimal address issued. Confirmation of the correct strapping must be conducted by using the correct ramp test equipment. Application for this code must be made to the SACAA using form CA 91-12 which can be found on the SACAA website and must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

The GNSS position source shall be certified in accordance with FAA or EASA (E)TSO-C145a, (E)TSO-C146a or (E)TSO-C196a or later approved versions. Some later versions of GNSS receivers certified to (E) TSO-C129 may also meet the requirements, i.e. those having FDE and HPL features incorporated.

The altitude source equipment supplying the pressure altitude to be transmitted by the ADS-B equipment shall be certified in accordance with the FAA or EASA (E)TSO-C88a or a later approved version.


Installations carried out on South African registered aircraft to meet the above requirements must be carried out strictly in accordance with Part 21 and Part 43 of the South African Civil Aviation Regulations and must be conducted by an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation holding the current and appropriate rating to do so.

For further information, please contact the ATNS ADS-B helpdesk at


What does this mean for you the aircraft owner? Well, I have summed it up as simply as possible. As of the 1st of April 2020, all aircraft will comply as below:

All Aircraft Flying IFR in South African Class A, B, C or E airspace must carry a serviceable ADS-B Transponder which includes Mode S.

All Aircraft flying above 10,000ft MSL must be ADS-B IN and OUT compliant.

ADS-B in South Africa is Satellite-based and not Ground-based.

South Africa will only be operating on the 1090ES ADS-B network.

How do you as an aircraft owner get yourself ready? There are a whole lot of different options available in the world at this time. Considering Garmin has been at the forefront of ADS-B development with EASA and the FAA they have the simplest and most comprehensive solutions. Their Transponders all operate on both ADS-B frequencies making it easier with an AML STC to have any aircraft comply to all regulations. This also makes it easier to sell and move aircraft between different Authorities and still have an aircraft that complies to each different requirement. What is this going to cost? Well, every aircraft is going to be slightly different. Some will require an IN only and some will require an IN and OUT solution. Some aircraft are already equipped with an acceptable IN display, some are not. Contact Clinton for a free no obligations quote at +27 11 659 1033 or

Here is an example of Garmin’s latest offering Worldwide to comply with only OUT requirements (Below 10,000ft MSL):



Garmin is pleased to announce a new GTX 335 w/GPS ADS-B transponder kit, available at a promotional list price of only $2,995.00, now through December 29th, 2017. The GTX 335 w/GPS comes in an attractive size and form factor, making it easy to replace the most popular transponders in the industry, like the Garmin GTX 320, GTX 327 and many others. The new promotional kit bundles the GTX 335 w/GPS with a GA 35 WAAS antenna, offering customers a completely standalone ADS-B “Out” solution. Additionally, the GTX 335 w/GPS will be removed from the Garmin Installation Policy, allowing non-Garmin dealers and installers to assist with the overwhelming demand for ADS-B installations.

Suitable for installation in the common 1.65-inch tall form factor, the GTX 335 w/GPS measures 10 inches in depth and the new kit includes a GA 35 external WAAS GPS antenna so the transponder can easily integrate into a wide range of aircraft.

Installation is further simplified as Garmin has created a new configuration wizard which streamlines the GTX 335 w/GPS configuration process, offering less experienced installers a simplified way to complete the setup of the unit. Using the included STC product registration card, an STC permission letter will be granted for each aircraft in which the GTX 335 w/GPS is installed, and installation documents will be included within the STC permission letter retrieval process. To retrieve these documents and the installation wizard, dealers and installers will need to redeem the single-use registration code via the website listed on the card.



bottom of page