The Aviation Industry is undergoing a thorough modernization phase — creating new interconnected systems that improves the National Airspace Systems, allowing users to see, navigate and communicate. Implementation of “NextGen”, short for Next Generation Air Transportation System, improves the overall capacity, performance and efficiency of the procedures currently in place. Technology update must be complied by December 31, 2019.
In an effort to initiate the adoption of this technology, the FAA has mandated that all aircraft operators(both commercial and private) equip their aircraft with an Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B). This system provides air traffic control towers precise location tracking of all aircraft in their vicinity, as well as a clear indication of surrounding weather conditions.
Advantages of the new ADB-S Out Mandate
Not only will ATC controllers have the capability to see the surrounding aircraft, but for the first time pilots will also see other aircraft in the sky, as well as a cockpit display weather hazards system, terrain and other important information, such temporary flight restrictions if aircraft is equipped with ADS-B IN & OUT. This technology reduces the risk of runway incursions, showing the locations of approaching aircraft and any equipped ground vehicles on the airport surfaces, providing alerts of potential collisions.
Using satellites provides greater coverage and accuracy in remote areas without radar coverage. Additionally, operators can expect an increase in fuel efficiency thanks to the greater accuracy of air traffic mapping, allowing for more direct – and safer – routes from point A to B regardless of congestion situations. This will, as a result also increase the capacity and efficiency of all airspace.
Upgrade Options for Aircraft Operators
Some business aircraft operators have already opted to upgrade their aircraft to the latest version of Fans 1/A+ mandates, which surpasses compliance with the new ADS-B Out regulation; whereas other operators have taken advantage of existing ADS-B IN systems using inexpensive receivers that connect wirelessly to mobile devices such as iPads. Avionics Manufacturers such as Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, Garmin, ACSS and Thales/L-3 Communication offers permanently installed ADS-B In receivers which connect to cockpit displays, click here to see current systems available.
New aircraft rolling off the production line now come equipped with ADS-B Out systems installed; and in addition to avionics manufacturers, aircraft manufacturers have upgrade programs to simplify the mandate, recommended options such as STC’s and Service Bulletins.
When to Upgrade to ADS-B Out Compliance
United States is a large region to ensure compliance with mandates, and as avionics repair stations continuously filter through upgrade options for each particular aircraft, they’ll likely become overloaded with customers requesting compliance upgrades. Time is running out for those aircraft still waiting for the last minute to take action. How many aircraft could be grounded as of January 1, 2020 ?– an estimated 50,000 aircraft might be in jeopardy. The FAA has issue an informational bulletin to ATC providing an allowance for a one-time exception for aircraft missing the ADS-B Out equipment to fly — on the way to install it. The upgrade steps are to be considered case by case, meaning such a request must be submitted several days in advance and bears the risk of been declined.
Whether through the grapevine or rumors, some operators believe that perhaps the FAA will drop the new mandate or that it might disappear, however their approach to enforcing it this far tells us otherwise. NextGen technologies are coming and will be here to stay. As of today, the comprehensive technology upgrades are expected to be completed by 2030, in several stages. The first stage requires all aircraft to comply by December 31st 2019. Keep a look out for the Data Communications updates coming up soon…