Traffic Information Service

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The Traffic Information Service (TIS-A) provides traffic advisory information to non-TAS/TCAS-equipped aircraft. TIS-A is a ground-based service providing the relative locations of all ATCRBS (Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System) Mode-A and Mode-C transponder equipped aircraft within a specified service volume. The TIS-A ground sensor uses real-time track reports to generate traffic notification.


TIS-A relies on surveillance of the Mode-S radar system, which is a “secondary surveillance” radar system similar to that used by ATCRBS. Many limitations are inherent in secondary radar surveillance. Information provided by TIS-A is neither better nor more accurate than the information used by ATC. TIS-A is intended only to assist in visual acquisition of other aircraft in visual meteorological conditions (VMC). While TIS-A is a useful aid for visual traffic avoidance, system limitations must be considered to ensure proper use. No recommended avoidance maneuvers are given, nor authorized, as a direct result of a TIS-A intruder display or TIS-A advisory.

• TIS-A operation may be intermittent during turns or other maneuvering.

• TIS-A is dependent on two-way, line-of-sight communications between the aircraft and the Mode-S radar antenna. Whenever the structure of the aircraft comes between the ransponder antenna and the ground-based radar antenna, the signal may be temporarily interrupted.

NOTE: Refer to the TIS-A Limitations section of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) for a more comprehensive explanation of limitations and anomalies associated with TIS-A.

NOTE: TIS-A is unavailable at low altitudes in many area of the United States. This is often the case in mountainous regions.

NOTE: Garmin is not responsible for Mode S geographical coverage. Operation of the ground stations is the responsibility of the FAA. Refer to the AIM for a Terminal Mode S radar site map.

TIS-A information is collected during a single radar sweep. Collected information is then sent through the Mode S uplink on the next radar sweep. Because of this, the surveillance information is approximately five seconds old. TIS-A ground station tracking software uses prediction algorithms to compensate for this delay. These algorithms use track history data to calculate expected intruder positions consistent with the time of display. Occasionally, aircraft maneuvering may cause variations in this calculation and create slight errors on the Map Page which affect relative bearing information and Garmin GPSMAP 695/696 Owner’s Manual 190-00919-00 Rev. G Appendix E 223 Overview GPS Navigation Flight Planning Hazard Avoidance Additional Features Appendices Index the target track vector and may delay display of the intruder information. However, intruder distance and altitude typically remain relatively accurate and may be used to assist in spotting traffic. The following errors are common examples:

• When the client or intruder aircraft maneuvers excessively or abruptly, the tracking algorithm may report incorrect horizontal position until the maneuvering aircraftstabilizes.

• When a rapidly closing intruder is on a course that intercepts the client aircraft course at a shallow angle (either overtaking or head-on) and either aircraft abruptly changes course within 0.25 nm, TIS-A may display the intruder aircraft on the incorrect side of the client aircraft.

These are rare occurrences and are typically resolved within a few radar sweeps once the client/intruder aircraft course stabilizes. Pilots using TIS-A can provide valuable assistance in the correction of malfunctions by reporting observations of undesirable performance. Reports should identify the time of observation, location, type and identity of the aircraft, and describe the condition observed. Reports should also include the type of transponder and transponder software version. Since TIS-A performance is monitored by maintenance personnel, not ATC, malfunctions should be reported in the following ways:

• By telephone to the nearest Flight Service Station (FSS) facility

• By FAA Form 8000-7, Safety Improvement Report (postage-paid card can be obtained at FAA FSSs, General Aviation District Offices, Flight Standards District Offices, and General Aviation Fixed Base Operators)


The main difference between the Traffic Information System (TIS-A) and Traffic Advisory (TAS) or Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) is the source of surveillance data. TAS/TCAS uses an airborne interrogator with a half-second update rate, while TIS-A utilizes the terminal Mode-S ground interrogator and accompanying data link to provide a five-second update rate. TIS-A and TAS/TCAS have similar ranges.