Re: ADSB audio availability

Tom Staggs


You raise a good point about aural and visual warnings and how they can be a distraction.

At Boeing, the overarching philosophy is called “quiet dark”. When everything is good, the displays are showing just the essential information, and the alerting system is quiet.


When something happens, then the Warnings, Cautions and Alerts are given to the pilot according to some pretty complex logic, including everything from your speed and altitude, to how long it has been since you took off. The idea is to not overwhelm the pilot with unnecessary information in critical phases of flight. Warnings are defined as those items that require immediate crew action (TCAS, Terrain, Fire, etc.), Cautions are those that require crew action at some future time (CHT High, GPS fail, Alternator fail, etc.), while Advisories are more for crew awareness (RAIM at destination, etc.) .


Modern avionics such as Garmin, Dynon and GRT are able to implement some of the same features as those afforded by Boeing, but not all of them. Since I fly out of a busy airport, right as I lift off, my Garmin unit sets its state to “in air” and starts providing me with traffic alerts, usually including the Cessna at the hold short half a mile down the runway. I wish I could tell it to suppress the alert within 300’ of the runway vertically.


You might want to check the programming options of your unit. Many of the newer systems are enabling the establishment of more complex logical criteria for providing various alerts.


The situation you describe is one that needs to be addressed, but rather than losing all of the benefits these systems provide, perhaps you could install a switch that would allow you to turn off the alerts as you enter the pattern or turn base, thereby affording you the advantage of hearing the aural alerts in other phases of flight. You could also turn the switch back on to enable callouts say passing 500’ on climbout when you turn off your electric fuel boost pump.


We all believe that aurals aren’t needed and that a good pilot would pick up a visual clue as part of their scan right away. Trust me, there is plenty of evidence that even the best professional crews miss all different kinds of alerts, which is why in the Air Transport and military worlds, we use visuals, aurals and tactile alerting for the crews.


I am a big believer in the value of alerting, when done properly. Having that “Terrain, Terrain, Pull Up” call at the right time can save your life. Don’t throw away all the benefits because of the nuisance they create in the landing pattern.


Tom Staggs

Long-EZ N13YV “Invictus”

Based at Paine Field, WA (KPAE)

(425) 531-1776


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