Skip to page content


ADS-B In Pilot Applications

In a world of connectivity, ADS-B in the cockpit offers a new world of safety and efficiency.

Free traffic, weather, and flight information are available on ADS-B In receivers that can receive UAT broadcasts. These services are available across the nation to aircraft owners who equip with ADS-B In, with further advances coming from airborne and runway traffic awareness. Even search-and-rescue operations benefit from accurate ADS-B tracking.

For commercial operators, fuel and time savings come from more complete surveillance, such as the system in place over the Gulf of Mexico. It also comes from direct aircraft-to-aircraft applications — a major difference between ADS-B and radar. The first of these, In-Trail Procedures is deployed now.

As more aircraft equip with ADS-B avionics, more applications will further improve safety, increase capacity, and reduce harmful aircraft emissions.

Traffic Information Services – Broadcast (TIS-B)

What it does

This free, ADS-B service broadcasts relevant traffic position reports to appropriately equipped aircraft. TIS-B information is available to aircraft that utilize 978 MHz (UAT), 1090MHz (1090ES) or both. The aircraft must be within coverage of an ADS-B ground station and an FAA radar or multilateration system to receive the target information.

TIS-B diagram shows how ADS-B signal is transmitted between aircraft and ground stations.


TIS-B significantly enhances pilot situation awareness for additional safety benefits. With traffic displayed in the cockpit, pilots and air traffic controllers are able to communicate with shared awareness of conflicting aircraft traffic. With TIS-B, a pilot will not only see air-to-air traffic, but also the radar targets sent from ground stations, resulting in more complete picture of traffic around the aircraft.


TIS-B is available to equipped aircraft flying within ADS-B coverage and within FAA radar and multilateration system coverage. TIS-B is available to aircraft flying at or below 24,000 feet (FL240).

How it works

The ADS-B system transmits TIS-B data on both links to equipped aircraft flying within coverage. TIS-B uses data from ADS-B, radar, Wide Area Multilateration (WAM), and surface multilateration systems like ASDE-X to create the accurate, near-real-time position reports.

Hockey puck-shaped area around an aircraft that meets the <abbr>TIS-B</abbr>/<abbr>ADS-R</abbr> client criteria: 30 nm in diameter within a 3,500 foot section of airspace.

Aircraft equipped with avionics meeting or exceeding TSO-C199 performance requirements are "TIS-B client aircraft." Non-ADS-B aircraft or aircraft broadcasting ADS-B but not meeting TSO-C199 requirements are "TIS-B targets." Client aircraft receive TIS-B targets that are within a 15 NM radius and +/- 3500 ft altitude of the client aircraft.

NOTE: Installing ADS-B In avionics without ADS-B Out avionics that meet or exceed the performance requirements of TSO-C199 only allows aircraft to receive TIS-B data intended for nearby Client aircraft that have qualified ADS-B Out avionics. This type of "piggybacking" will result in an incomplete representation of traffic around the aircraft. See "TIS-B Service Changes" below to understand the details of what ADS-B Out performance requirements must be met to receive full TIS-B services.

Back to Top

Flight Information Services – Broadcast (FIS-B)

What it does

Like TIS-B, FIS-B is a free service; however, FIS-B is only available to aircraft who can receive data over 978 MHz (UAT). FIS-B automatically transmits a wide range of weather products with national and regional focus to all equipped aircraft.

FIS-B diagram shows how ADS-B signal is transmitted between aircraft and ground stations.


Having current weather and aeronautical information in the cockpit helps pilots plan more safe and efficient flight paths, as well as make strategic decisions during flight to avoid potentially hazardous developing weather.


FIS-B is fully operational and available to UAT equipped aircraft flying within ADS-B coverage.

How it works

FIS-B broadcasts a range of aeronautical information products from the FAA and weather products from the National Weather Service, as listed in the table below.

Product Description
AIRMET Airmen's Meteorological Information: A weather advisory issued by a meteorological watch office for aircraft that is potentially hazardous to low-level aircraft /aircraft with limited capability. AIRMETs cover less severe weather than SIGMETs: moderate turbulence & icing, surface winds of 30 knots, or widespread restricted visibility.
Convective SIGMET Convective Significant Meteorological Information: Issued for an area of thunderstorms affecting an area of 3,000 square miles or greater, a line of thunderstorms at least 60 nm long, and/or severe or embedded thunderstorms affecting any area that are expected to last 30 minutes or longer.
SIGMET Significant Meteorological Information: A weather advisory that contains meteorological information concerning the safety of all aircraft: severe or greater turbulence over a 3,000-square-mile area, severe or greater icing over a 3,000-square-mile area, IMC conditions over a 3,000-square-mile area due to dust, sand, or volcanic ash.
METAR Aviation routine weather report: Contains data for the temperature, dew point, wind speed & direction, precipitation, cloud cover & heights, visibility, and barometric pressure. Reports are typically generated once an hour.
SPECI A Special METAR generated if conditions change significantly within the hour.
National NEXRAD Continental United States Next Generation Radar. NEXRAD detects precipitation & atmospheric movement or wind. It returns data which when processed can be displayed in a mosaic map which shows patterns of precipitation & its movement.
Regional NEXRAD Regional Next Generation Radar.
D-NOTAM Distant Notice To Airmen: Information requires wide dissemination: en route navigational aids, civil public use landing areas & aeronautical data.
FDC-NOTAM Flight Data Center Notice To Airmen: Information that is regulatory: changes to charts, procedures, and airspace usage.
PIREP Pilot Reports: A report of actual weather conditions encountered by an aircraft in flight.
SUA Status Special Use Airspace status.
TAF Terminal Aeronautical Forecast: Issued 4 times per day.
AMEND Amended TAF is issued when the current TAF no longer adequately describes the ongoing weather or the forecaster feels the TAF is not representative of the current or expected weather.
Winds & Temperature Aloft Computer-prepared forecasts of winds & temperatures aloft.
TIS-B Service Status Provides periodic status of TIS-B service via FIS-B UAT uplink.

The FAA added six new weather products to the FIS-B service:

  • Lightning
  • Turbulence
  • Icing
  • Cloud Tops
  • Graphical AIRMET
  • Center Weather Advisory

Pilots will have access to the new FIS-B products when their individual avionics are updated. The capability and availability will vary based on individual ADS-B avionics, so please refer to your avionics manufacturer for details.

NOTE: FIS-B information, including weather information, NOTAMs, and TFR areas, are intended only for advisory use for the sole purpose of assisting in long- and near-term planning and decision making. The system lacks sufficient resolution and updating capability necessary for tactical aerial maneuvering around localized weather phenomena. In particular, in extreme scenarios, the oldest weather radar data on the display can be up to 15 to 20 minutes older than the display's age indication for that weather radar data. Also, FIS-B information must not be used in lieu of a standard preflight briefing.

NOTE: Aircraft owners should make sure safety assessments are conducted on TIS-B and FIS-B avionics. The equipment should meet the performance requirements of the FAA technical standard order (TSO) to ensure it is compatible with existing FAA FIS-B services and meets minimum performance and quality control standards.

NOTE: The ceiling for FIS-B is 24,000 feet (FL240), however it is expected that users can receive the FIS-B service above that altitude. Some FIS-B products will only include data up to or near FL240, however Winds and Temps Aloft will extend up to FL390.

Back to Top

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: