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Canadian In-Flight Information Broadcasting — Compatible With ADS-B

By: Information providers: Steven McDowell, Jeff Seaborn, and Jeff Page; Written by Ian Brown

December 2021 – Canadian in-flight information broadcasting brings free in-cockpit weather and traffic services to pilots operating in Canadian airspace by deploying UAT 978 MHz compatible ground stations at locations throughout Canada. For those flying near the U.S. border, this approach is 100 percent compatible with the U.S. tower-based ADS-B In system of distributing weather and traffic information. This is a grassroots effort to duplicate the immensely successful ADS-B In network of weather, TAFs, METARS, traffic and in the future, PIREP information currently freely available in U.S. airspace.

Example output to your navigation device
Example output to your navigation device.

This is an all-volunteer effort; even the lawyers are volunteers! Please consider donating to this significant step in improving pilot safety in Canada. Steven McDowell has a GoFundMe page at Fundraiser by Steven McDowell : CIFIB General Fund (gofundme.com). You can also learn a lot by going to the website of the CIFIB. The five-minuteYouTube video here is tremendously helpful.

Active sites already operating are Stratford, Ontario, and Burlington, Ontario.

Sites presently signed up and coming in are Springbank, Alberta; High River, Alberta; Oshawa, Ontario; Hanover, Ontario; Parry Sound, Ontario; and Ottawa, Ontario. The hope is to expand to 100 ground stations, all across Canada, in the next couple of years. More sites are under discussion in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. To stay up to date, check out www.CIFIB.ca/sites for the latest information.

You will see traffic equipped with ADS-B Out, FLARM, Nemo Scout, and Open Glider Network, but not presently aircraft without a transponder or with only a Mode C/S transponder. See and avoid is always the pilot's primary responsibility but any extra information provides an extra level of safety.

A lot of effort is required behind the scenes to implement this, including not only the broadcasting towers but also Nav Canada Land Use forms for towered airports, developing site installation plans, setting up the antenna configurations, applying for radio licenses, and much more.

The volunteers have already designed the hardware and software. What they need more than anything are local volunteers to help with the implementation and above all, DONATIONS! Sadly this hardware doesn't grow like trees. If you have any of COVID-related savings sitting around, now is the time to spend it on this excellent project.

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