Jim H: Air France 296 & ADS-B
I justed listened to #51 which I enjoyed, as usual.
I have two comments.
First you guys are confused about the crash of Air France 296. That accident was mainly the result of pilot error. In fact, the captain went to prison for manslaughter. In particular, there was no real problem with the airplane. Like all jets, it takes a little time for the motors to spin up. If you fly your low pass too low and at an excessively high AOA, and then don't go around promptly you too will fly into the trees. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19880626-0
With respect to ADS-B. There is tremendous potential for for ADS-B to really improve safety and reduce costs for GA operators, if implemented correctly. I gathered you understand that at some level, but I don't think you grok at all what the benefits of ADS-B will be.
I really doubt that any of you fly a GA airplane that 'already has everything that ADS-B offers" unless your airplane has the following:
1) free nextrad weather,notams, tfrs, airmets, sigmets etc.
2) highly accurate traffic information from all participating airplanes around you, independent of ground facilities. The accuracy is on the order of 1 to 300 meters, rather than .5 to 3 miles as is the case with radar.
3) The ability for atc to assign you a following distance behind another airplane, making it easier on you and the controller, and by the way, increasing airport capacity by reducing required separation between arrivals.
4) Datalink communications with ATC.
You are correct when you say that the transmit only flavor of ADS-B provides only indirect benefits to operators, but the two way version really opens the door to a great many low cost and highly useful services for participating airplanes.
The comparison with MLS is invalid. MLS was a great idea right up until GPS came around, then it stopped making sense for almost all operators except the space shuttle and a few operators who want to fly into mountain airports in low IMC.
One irony about ADS-B is that it ought to save a great deal of money by eliminating the need for TRACON primary and secondary radar. Sadly, I suspect that security issues will force the FAA to operate radars long after they are no longer needed for traffic separation.
ADS-B is coming. There is still time to ensure that GA gets all the potential benefit it offers, but we have to know enough to ask the right questions. Just saying 'I don't need it, I have a Narco SuperHomer and I can still fly an A-N range' isn't helpful.
Keep up the good work,