Deadline? What deadline? And what’s ADS-B?

By May 31, 2017Uncategorized

In May 2010 the FAA issued a mandate which if you own or operate turbine business aircraft, or operate general aviation single-engine piston aircraft in most airspaces, your aircraft will be required to be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast (ADS-B) by no later than January 1, 2020.

ADS-B Out capability will be required to transmit aircraft identification and GPS-derived position information to air traffic control.

But why ADS-B? And what specifically is it? A search of the subject on the FAA’s website brings a wealth of information! The following FAQ from the FAA website will bring you “current” on this important pending requirement:

Why is the FAA transitioning away from radar and towards ADS-B technology?

ADS-B is an environmentally friendly technology that enhances safety and efficiency, and directly benefits pilots, controllers, airports, airlines, and the public. It forms the foundation for NextGen by moving from ground radar and navigational aids to precise tracking using satellite signals.

With ADS-B, pilots for the first time see what controllers see: displays showing other aircraft in the sky. Cockpit displays also pinpoint hazardous weather and terrain, and give pilots important flight information, such as temporary flight restrictions.

ADS-B reduces the risk of runway incursions with cockpit and controller displays that show the location of aircraft and equipped ground vehicles on airport surfaces – even at night or during heavy rainfall. ADS-B applications being developed now will give pilots indications or alerts of potential collisions.

ADS-B also provides greater coverage since ground stations are so much easier to place than radar. Remote areas without radar coverage, like the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska, now have surveillance with ADS-B.

Relying on satellites instead of ground navigational aids also means aircraft will be able to fly more directly from Point A to B, saving time and money, and reducing fuel burn and emissions.

The improved accuracy, integrity and reliability of satellite signals over radar means controllers eventually will be able to safely reduce the minimum separation distance between aircraft and increase capacity in the nation’s skies.

The mandate covers the vast majority of turbine business aircraft as well as single- engine piston aircraft. In most cases we are told by avionics professionals an upgrade or replacement of existing transponders will be needed to bring aircraft into ADS-B compliance.

Currently, the ADS-B mandate is only for transmitting out. However, it may be useful for some operators to consider installing ADS-B In as well. The “In” capability would bring traffic and other information to the pilots, greatly enhancing situational awareness as just mentioned.

So if you’re thinking there’s plenty of time to get the ADS-B equipment installed, you may be in for a surprise. Three years ago the General Aviation Manufacturers Association estimated that only about 9,100 aircraft, mostly GA, had become compliant. A recent NBAA Advisory noted there are about 950 avionics repair stations in the US, of which 750 are installation shops. With the total number of general aviation fixed-wing aircraft registered in the US, approximately 170,000, it is not hard to imagine that as the deadline gets nearer, those shops will be booked further and further out.

No one will be exempt from the equipment requirement. It’s possible some operational aspects won’t be ready by 2020 however, but that will not give you a pass.

The impact of the rule means aircraft owners and operators will need to determine what ADS-B solutions are available for their aircraft, and to plan accordingly while also considering other upgrade options.

Preliminary data from a recent study carried out by NBAA indicated that about 92% of all aircraft in the business aviation fleet have identified an ADS-B solution.

The last step in validating your installation is to request a Public ADS-B Performance Report (PAPR) from the FAA. It is a free report and there are no penalties or violations if any concerns are identified. “The future health of your ADS-B system will be judged by what (data) the FAA is receiving. That’s it. There’s no required maintenance check or continuing airworthiness process,” said Mr. Peri. However, he does recommend adding ADS-B system checks to your maintenance program and conducting them concurrent with transponder checks.

The recommendation is more than clear! Now is not the time to procrastinate! Determine a solution and schedule the installation as soon as practicable. If you wait too long you may not be able to get scheduled installation before the deadline. And the result will be – you’ll be grounded until your aircraft is compliant!

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