Tired of hearing about ADS-B yet? Time marches on as the January 2020 deadline draws closer. It is safe to say that the FAA will not extend this deadline. FAA Acting Deputy Administrator Victoria Wassmer assures everyone of that fact, “I’m going to say this as plainly as I can: the ADS-B equipage deadline is not changing. If you plan to fly your plane in most controlled airspace after December 31, 2019, you’re going to need to install ADS-B.”
The FAA has estimated that there is between 100,000-160,000 GA aircraft that will need to be ADS-B equipped to fly after the deadline. So how many of those aircraft are equipped with 31 months left before time runs out? As of June 1, 2017 the FAA reports that 26,414 GA aircraft have been equipped with ADS-B. That is a scary number. With approximately 1,100 certified repair stations ready to install ADS-B, now is the time to get serious about a solution for your aircraft. Getting an appointment in an install shop will be harder to obtain as the deadline approaches, not to mention the possibility of higher install prices. There are certain factors in an ADS-B installation that an average A&P mechanic cannot and should not handle. Equipping sooner rather than later helps in case there is an issue with the installation. This will allow you time to fix the problem affecting the performance and compliance of your system and then take your test flight to validate that your system is working properly.
So why are so many aircraft owners and operators still not ready to equip? Why does it seem like so many are waiting until the last minute?
- Some say they are waiting for the prices on ADS-B units to drop. It does seem like prices have gotten about as low as they are going to get. Also lets not forget about the FAA’s $500 rebate, which runs for one year or until all 20,000 rebates are gone. Here’s the good news about the ADS-B rebate, it’s not too late to get yours. As of June 5 there are still 13,828 waiting to be reserved before the cut off date of September 18, 2017.
- I’m selling my aircraft anyways, so why should I spend the money for the upgrade? Well that’s fine but go ahead and deduct the price of an ADS-B system from your asking price, because one of the first things most buyers are going to ask is if the plane is compliant with ADS-B. The value of your aircraft will depend on whether or not you have at least a validated ADS-B Out system installed. If you still don’t want to upgrade, just find a nice parking spot for your plane because it will probably be there for a long time.
- I just don’t see the value in getting ADS-B. Really…how is that possible? The value in ADS-B and NextGen should be very easy to see by now. It is the most advanced and most accurate way to track and position aircraft in our skies. It improves the communication between air traffic controllers and pilots, given them both an accurate and exact location of every plane in the surrounding airspace. Pilots have never had this much situational awareness in the cockpit. Not to mention if you are flying with ADS-B In, having the free weather and traffic information right in front of you is very beneficial.
Despite recent comments made by the President about ATC, the ground based radar system we have had in place for 80 years has served our airspace well. But like all things it must come to an end. The state-of-the-art ADS-B system will provide safer skies by giving the ATC and pilots more information, less impact on the environment by reducing the amount of fuel you will use because of more direct routes, and by providing coverage where radar does not exist, such as the Gulf of Mexico and mountainous terrain. This will help with search and rescue operations in the event an aircraft does go down. So however the new President changes our ATC system, there is no realistic way around the foundation of ADS-B Out (i.e. GPS position data of aircraft). While there may be plenty of other ideas and theories out there still being discussed, ADS-B is what we got and unless someone can offer any other economical, reasonable, and implantable solutions, that’s what we are going with by 2020. If you’ve got something better, then I’ll wait to hear from you.