Unique transponder code for glider operations in Canada
Transport Canada confirms support for a unique transponder code for glider operations in Canada. This would not mean that transponders would be mandatory for gliders, it would only mean that, in the case where a glider has a transponder, they should use a code of 1202. This would make it easier for air traffic controllers to differentiate between gliders and powered aircraft which would help facilitate safe separation.
Gliders operate with unique flight and maneuvering limitations. They may go from essentially stationary ATS surveillance contacts while thermaling to moving targets very quickly. They can also be expected to make sudden changes in flight direction to find lift and cannot hold altitude in a response to an ATC request. Gliders also tend to be very difficult to see visually and have been involved in near-miss incidents and mid-air collisions with powered aircraft.
For these reasons it is important for air traffic controllers to differentiate between gliders and powered aircraft in order to facilitate safe separation. This unique code is in response to individual requests from glider operators and pilots and is fully supported by the Soaring Association of Canada and COPA. It also matches the guidance promulgated by the FAA in 2012. Although not currently mandated, glider owners and pilots are encouraged to operate with a transponder on board so they may fully benefit from the safety advantages that having a discreet transponder code will offer.
You can anticipate this will take effect with an AIC in the February time-frame, and it will be included in the next edition of the AIM, March 30th.
7701 Las Colinas Blvd., Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063