It was in May of 2010, after years of input from the aviation industry, that the FAA published FAR 14 CFR 91.225 and 14 CFR 91.227. Mandating pilots that flew in controlled airspace to equip with either 1090ES transponder or 978 UAT and a compliant GPS by January 1, 2020.
Over the past 10 years, the product options for compliance has increased significantly. From low cost, quick installations like the uAvionix SkyBeacon to innovative integrated solutions such as L3Harris Lynx product offering. A transponder replacement, 1090ES ADS-B Out compliance, ADS-B In capability, optional active traffic and TAWS-B, and dual touchscreen displays. Garmin hit it out of the park with experimental to Part 25 solutions that had the ability to mix and match and provide enhanced safety. Who would have thought of the roads to ADS-B a decade ago!
As we reflect, it’s good to remember the hurdles we had to overcome.
The financial cost to comply with ADS-B was one significant hurdle. With upgrade prices ranging from $2K to $250K just to comply, understanding all of the available solutions for each aircraft was an ever changing and challenging environment.
Technical hurdles were aplenty as well! Where do you put another GPS antenna on an aircraft that has a giant rotating disk on top? Some other technical hurdles included: Matched pairing between GPS and Transponder, Dynamic Flight ID, Enhanced Surveillance, TCAS II Integration, first generation Integrated Cockpit pairing, Aircraft Service Bulletin Compliance Research, and Structural Modifications for equipment and antennas. Just to name a few!
We cannot forget about the human hurdle. Whether dealing with an industry wide technician shortage, educating the stubborn-to-accept pilot/operator/owner that ADS-B is a thing, or correctly communicating with US/Foreign governments, there were always people, or lack thereof, standing in the way of an aircraft getting the required upgrade.
Understanding and working through these hurdles we were able to offer and modify aircraft with a solution that best fits the aircraft for its mission, budget, and future. Through these hurdles we were fortunate enough to build new relationships and learned a thing or two along the way.
As we wrap up the ADS-B installations in early 2020, we know the demand will continue for a short while longer. We will slowly transition to ramping up for connectivity, NextGen solutions and other exciting opportunities. While change can be painful, the path to increasing flight safety will be important for the next generation of pilots.