ADS-B Juicy Gossip

U.S. aircraft operators are required to have digital position reporting (ADS-B Out) installed, working and certified before Jan. 1, 2020 and European operators June 7, 2020.

uAvionix sells the very innovative tailBeacon-TSO for small airplanes in the USA at only $1,999.00 (certifications pending.) It uses the aircraft electrical system to transcode the transponder data for transmission to the tailBeacon, just like some home wiring-based networks.

There are over 150,000 airplanes in the USA …

But with only a year to go, there’s some very interesting wrinkles per AVweb reader comments:

  1. aircraft owners are electing to do panel upgrades rather than ADS-B alone, which take weeks to months, not days. There are not nearly enough aircraft shops for that by the FAA deadline. An airplane on the ground is less than worthless, so I suspect a lot of owners will be walking away from their aircraft.
  2. ATC may not see any difference since FAA computers would require upgrades which take decades
  3. the low-cost vendors like uAvionix are being sued for patent infringement by Garmin. How can an FAA equipment requirement get tangled in patents?
  4. just like WAAS, what provides the GPS signal matters more than you’d expect. WAAS and ADS-B Out are supposed to be independent, but you get better resolution with a WAAS-compliant GPS source.
  5. the US military is ambivalent about ADS-B because they are designing M-code. They are also doing panel upgrades.
  6. If you think US aircraft owners will have a hard time meeting the mandate, apparently Airbus owners have even fewer options. Also, most airliners are leased, so upgrading would usually fall on the lessor.
  7. In some countries, 1090ES is required.

I think the lessons are:

  1. If you plan to upgrade your airplane, decide what you need (ADS-B Out only, a panel upgrade, or 1090ES for international flights or above 18,000′)
  2. If you’re buying a used airplane, let somebody else upgrade the panel for you

The ADS-B NPRM has a fascinating economic analysis of the roll-out cost for operators. The FAA was well-aware of the significant costs involved to re-equip aircraft. If you like horror movies, check it out. 🙂

See SmartSky Air WiFi Promo ADS-B Apocalypse What’s the difference between 1090 and 978? FAA To Mandate ADS-B Equipage by 2020 (2007) NPRM for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Out performance requirements to support Air Traffic Control (ATC) service Europe ADS-B Mandate Coming June 2020 DJI Installing ADS-B in Consumer Drones
FAA: GPS Outage Won’t Count As ADS-B Violations
AOPA: FAA issues TSO for uAvionix tailBeacon, STC is in the works, company says uAvionix tailBeacon Gets TSO Approval

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