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Are You Sure You Won’t Need ADS-B?

If you’re based in a region that doesn’t require ADS-B Out, you may still need to equip, warns Dave Higdon. Here’s why…

Dave Higdon   |   2nd February 2018
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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If you’re based in a region that doesn’t require ADS-B Out, you may still need to equip, warns Dave Higdon. Here’s why…

Everybody should know by now that beginning at midnight, January 1, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) mandate requiring ADS-B Out for operating in US airspace goes into effect. The same date applies to many other nations of the world following International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) protocols for this new air-traffic surveillance tool.

So where does that leave the operators from the many nations which aren't adopting ADS-B? Essentially, those needing to visit the US (or other ADS-B-adopting nation) it means making a plan to comply with ADS-B rules.

In a recent article in FAA SatNavNews the agency reminded readers that the January 1, 2020 effective date for using ADS-B Out applies to foreign-registered aircraft as well as N-numbered aircraft operating in certain US airspace.

Further, the FAA stressed that the ADS-B Out avionics in non-US-registered aircraft must comply with the same performance requirements established for N-numbered aircraft in FAR 91.225 and FAR 91.227.

FAA SatNavNews also offered other ADS-B reminders and clarifications applicable to both domestic and foreign operators. Among them were the following reminders, some of which departed from current practices: 

  • Operators using ADS-B Out are required to have ADS-B transmitting at all times (including whenever on the surface of the airport). “By regularly broadcasting position, velocity and identification information to ATC and other aircraft, situational awareness is improved on the ground and in the air.”
  • GPS receivers used as an ADS-B position source must be compatible (i.e. they must have ‘approved pairing’) with the installed ADS-B transmitter.
  • Portable ADS-B Out units are not authorized for several reasons. The main reason is that they would not meet the applicable TSO C166b or C154c for installed equipment required on aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate.

Unique US Equipment Options

The United States boasts a General Aviation community far larger than the rest of the world, combined. Indeed, the FAA gave operators an option that is not available in any other country (at least, for aircraft that don't fly in the Flight Levels above 18,000msl) in the Universal Access Transceiver (UAT), broadcasting on 978 MHz.

These boxes generally work with existing Mode C and some Mode S transponders, and the FAA limits their use to the airspace below FL180.

Conversely, virtually all business turbine aircraft fly in Class A airspace above FL180. Here operators need a 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (ES) transmitter. US operators and others need a 1090ES ADS-B Out transmitter for operations outside US airspace where ADS-B is required. 

Forewarned is forearmed. Remember, the clock continues to run…

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Read more about: ADS-B | FAA | Airspace Regulations | FAA Regulations | Dave Higdon

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