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EAA Advocacy Working to Ease the Pain of Meeting ADS-B Mandate

By EAA Staff

July 22, 2015 - With the January 1, 2020, deadline clearly visible on the horizon, many aircraft owners are faced with the need to install ADS-B “out” equipment over the next four years.

The FAA has such a keen interest in ensuring that the GA community meets the deadline that Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker and Assistant Administrator for NextGen Ed Bolden are coming to AirVenture on Friday to review progress and look at the latest ADS-B solutions available to the market.

Last year at Oshkosh, the pilots strongly voiced their concern that the cost of complying with the ADS-B mandate stood squarely in the way of meeting the deadline. EAA heard often from members that the high cost of compliance was forcing decisions about whether to continue owning an aircraft or even flying at all.

EAA responded by taking these concerns to senior FAA leadership, and ultimately the FAA established the Equip 2020 committee to identify barriers to industrywide adoption of ADS-B and seek solutions to ensure compliance by the 2020 deadline.

Initially there was considerable disagreement over whether the price point of rule-compliant avionics was really an impediment, but EAA and other representatives of pilots and aircraft owners prevailed in convincing industry and FAA that lower cost solutions needed to be developed.

The result has been some very innovative approaches by manufacturers to minimize technology, leverage mass production, and other means of significantly lowering the price of ADS-B equipment. Over the past year we have seen an almost 50 percent reduction in the base cost of rule-compliant ADS-B “out” solutions.

In addition to breaking down barriers to lower cost options that satisfy the mandate, EAA worked to ensure that the historic basis for avionics approval in experimental aircraft continued to be applied to ADS-B equipment.

EAA fought for the premise that avionics installed on amateur-built aircraft do not have to be approved under a technical standard order (TSO) and ultimately prevailed. Today, the FAA acknowledges that ADS-B equipment in experimental aircraft must meet the performance requirement set forth in the rules (FARs 91.225 and 91.227), but that the equipment itself need not be certified.

This is the same premise used for non-certified IFR equipment, instruments, and transponders found throughout the E-AB fleet today. The key issue is ensuring adequate performance of the equipment within the air traffic system, not meeting a design specification or production requirement. This guarantees that lower cost solutions will be available to the experimental aircraft fleet.

Our community’s freedom to innovate is paramount to EAA’s mission, which we believe is ultimately good for our industry as a whole since many technologies first developed for the experimental world often eventually find their way into the type-certificated aircraft fleet.

EAA will continue to work with the FAA to ensure that all ADS-B requirements follow this logic and philosophy. Challenges lie ahead with regard to the requirements for software validation and certification as it relates to approval of ADS-B and related equipment such as GPS WAAS receivers. EAA will continue to work to ensure that any additional certification requirements that are not performance-based do not become mandatory for experimental aircraft.

It is our sincere hope that our leadership in this area will spill over into new opportunities in the type-certificated aspects of personal and recreational aviation. 

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