Has anyone used the TPAS by SureCheck? I understand it is passive, but lately my transponder light is on almost all the time anyway which I believe indicates it is responding to queries and thus would be picked up by this passive device?

See some of the posts on TPAS by surecheck posted last week. I doubt if your transponder situation is caused by TPAS since (I believe) it’s a fairly new device.

I called surecheck since there were as many pros as cons voiced on the forum. I was told that if I purchased the device and was not 100% happy with it, I could return it within 30 days for a full refund. What I don’t know about the device is whether or not it requires radar interrogation of transponders in order for the TPAS to work. If this is true then it won’t work for me where I need it the most, Prescott AZ. Gazillions of training flights and no radar.

Walt N224AZ

I havn’t used this device, but most of the time when ATC tells me about traffic they give me distance, direction and altitude and I still can’t find it. Have a box that says something is somewhere sounds more distracting than useful. When I am near GAI I already know planes will be all over the place, I would rather have a device that will only point out the ones that may be a problem.

I have used the Surecheck TPAS unit for a few months now, and it performs as advertised. There were some very informative posts and a great PIREP on this forum a few days ago, and I donÂ’t wish to repeat that information, but I wanted to respond to these questions/opinions.

The Surecheck TPAS does not replace your scan, does not replace VFR flight following, does not replace any of the standard see and avoid techniques, plain and simple. What it does is to provide you with information to suggest you change from a “scan” for traffic to a focused “search” for a target that you know is out there – that’s it. And while that is all it really does, I find that to be very useful. It’s a bit like preparing for departure at an uncontrolled field, and doing the usual 270 degree spin to scan for traffic, vs. the search for the target you just heard call downwind for your runway. You will then search until you spot it, judge the distance, and make your decision (The TPAS works here to, telling you there is someone close by and possibly in the pattern who may not be giving position calls). TPAS tells you there is a target, gives a distance and an indication of a closure rate, so you can switch from scanning to searching.

If you always use flight following, or always file IFR, then no, it is not worth the money. If you more often fly into unfamiliar uncontrolled fields, go VFR without ATC, or are just out doing steep turns in the practice area, then it can be helpful and sometimes enlightening – you may not see anyone, but you are not alone out there.

It does not work all the time, and not everywhere. If your transponder is being interrogated either by SSR or by active TCAS, then it is likely that the traffic within 5 miles is also being interrogated, and should be picked up by the TPAS. Even if you are below coverage of SSR, there seems to be enough TCAS to often fill in the holes. So for the price, it is nice bit of technology that gives you a bit more information to work with.

That’s precisely the point. It is a passive device that needs the transponder of the “threat” aircraft to transmit. Then, and only then, can you pick up the target. Since transponders do not transmit unless they are interrogated by ground radar or ACTIVE TCAS this type of device (and all passive detection devices that work on the same principle) are useless in areas without radar coverage or lots of active TCAS aircraft.
Jerry Seckler N1970

If you think flight following or flying IFR is going to save your butt, you are sadly mistaken. Numerous times ATC has failed to call NEAR traffic, whether do to workload, inattention or whatever.
Even a 25K TCAS doesn’t eliminate the need for the outside scan - not even in the crowded Northeast. There was a no transponder a/c in an extended pattern at Danbury CT that even the tower controller with his BRITE radar didn’t know about.

On the other hand, if there are normally a gazillion aircraft at an airport like Prescott, you don’t need a TPAS to tell you there are a gazillion aircraft around. “See and avoid”.

Walt N224AZ

This TPAS discussion is starting to sound a lot like the early parachute discussions on this board. I think the bottom line for both is the same: neither is perfect; either is better than nothing.

Joe Mazza