In this post we're going to take a look at a few different types of traffic avoidance systems. How they work, where they work, and what costs may be involved. While the best traffic systems out there are TCAS, TCAS 2 and the good 'ol mark 1 eyeball, the ones we'll look at today are more geared towards GA.
The first traffic system we'll take a look at is a portable system. PCAS, which stands for Portable Collision Avoidance System is a small box made by Zaon that sits on your glare shield and is able to "see" other aircraft transponders. Zaon's original PCAS technology was developed in 1999. Now, their current MRX/XRX line of collision avoidance systems incorporates the fourth generation of PCAS technology. Through this technology, transponder-equipped aircraft are detected and ranged, and the altitude is decoded. Above is an image depicting how the PCAS picks up traffic targets from an enroute radar and a TCAS interrogation signal.
priced at $1299.99 from FlightPrep for just the XRX or $1499.99 from FlightPrep with Bluetooth capability) gives more information on traffic targets and also can be connected to a wide variety of other systems to display traffic. Unlike TIS, PCAS does not need a Mode S terminal radar to work. The PCAS basically gives you a 6 - 12 mile lateral by 5000 foot vertical bubble that should spot transponders from other aircraft almost anywhere you fly. Above is an image of what Zaon calls Average Interrogation "Coverage" Area: Military, Terminal, Enroute RADAR and TCAS Interrogation. See Zaon's website for a more in depth look at what areas are covered.
see AOPA's discussion page.
Next time we'll take a look at ADS-B. What it means, who can get it, and when it may be available. Until then we wish you frequent, happy, and safe flying!