A Wrap Up of ADS-B

Written by Luke Gomoll, SEA Aircraft Modifications Sales Rep.

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.

FAA Offers General Aviation ADS-B Rebate

Starting this Fall, the FAA is offering a monetary incentive to help owners of less-expensive general aviation aircraft equip with the required avionics that comply with the ADS-B Out rule that will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. The agency will offer a $500 rebate to eligible aircraft owners.

Are you eligible for a rebate?FAA-ADSB-Rebate-Qualify

Eligible aircraft: Defined as U.S.-registered, fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraft, first registered before Jan 1, 2016.

Eligible equipment: Avionics that are certified to FAA Technical Standard Orders and meet the program rules (software upgrades of existing equipment are not eligible). Rebates are not available for aircraft already equipped with rule compliant ADS-B or for aircraft the FAA has previously paid or committed to pay for upgrade(s) to meet the ADS-B mandate.

Read the full program rules.

Start the Rebate process now by doing the following:

  • Validate: Review and validate the aircraft owner information and aircraft-specific information contained within the Civil Aircraft Registry. The FAA will determine rebate program eligibility using the information in the Civil Aircraft Registry, and all rebates will be mailed to the aircraft owner as recorded in the registry. Visit the FAA Registry.
  • Research: Go to the Equip ADS-B website to research eligible equipment. This website includes additional information about ADS-B mandate airspace.
  • Plan: Locate a certified installation location (Southeast Aerospace is your installation expert!), if required, and determine the specific aircraft requirements to ensure the installation is performed in accordance with applicable FAA regulations and meets the requirements identified in the General Aviation ADS-B Rebate Program Rules. While you may purchase the equipment now, your installation must occur after the program website is opened to rebate reservations to qualify for the rebate. The anticipated timeframe is estimated as Fall 2016.

Preview the ADS-B Rebate Process with our infographic.

Have questions? Get answers from our ADS-B Rebate Frequently Asked Questions.

[article written & published by FAA.gov, source: http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/rebate/]

ADS-B Field Approvals and Equipment Compatibility

Fgallery2-1Some questions in reference to certifying ADS-B Out in an aircraft via field approval seem to arise every now and then.  While most equipment OEMs attempt to obtain Approved Model Lists (AML) for their STCs, some aircraft operators and maintenance providers may attempt to seek ADS-B approval by installing GPS receivers with transponders that have not been previously approved by the FAA. 

While this sort of alternate ADS-B approval method may be possible, it certainly would not be the ideal method.  That is, the FAA is very clear in that for an ADS-B Out installation to be approved the pairing of the GPS and transponder must be “previously-approved” under type certificate (TC) or supplemental type certificate (STC).  Click Here to reference subject matter “Installation Approval for ADS-B Out Systems” on FAA Memo dated Oct 10, 2012 . Despite this certification and approval detail, all GPS and transponder manufacturers are still not completely on the same page in relation to one OEMs equipment playing properly with another OEMs equipment.  Some improvements in relation to OEM compatibility continue to be made as the deadline approaches, however it is still not a 100% known whether all GPS and transponder OEMs will work together in relation to ADS-B Out interfaces.  tech-pub

In addition, most GPS manufacturers frequently make software changes in their units which might affect the ADS-B functionality to the transponder.  As of the date of this article, OEMs are not obligated to share proprietary information that would enable or otherwise affect the ADS-B Out interface between varieties of equipment.  For reference, click Here for a document that provides a list of “FAA-Approved” ADS-B Out Avionics as of April 3, 2014.  While this list will obviously continue to be updated and expanded, it is important to reference since it lists what transponders have been approved to be used with “approved position source(s)”. 

FAA-LOGOAs indicated above, the FAA will not approve any ADS-B Out field approval if the transponder and associated position source are not on this list.  Likewise, installers and integrators should be cautious when attempting to interface GPS and transponders that are from separate manufacturers unless both manufacturers have approved the interface.  Southeast Aerospace will continue to provide the most up-to-date, realistic information regarding the ADS-B Out mandate and how it affects all parts of the aviation industry.   Please be on the look out for future SEA white papers, commentaries, and other reference material as the 2020 mandate approaches.