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ADS-B Out Exceptions for Nonequipped Aircraft

By Ian Brown, Editor

March 2020 - Interested in flying to the States? Worried about how you can do that without ADS-B Out? Here are some useful tips based on a review of an FAA policy document on how they will deal with aircraft not equipped with ADS-B Out after January 1, 2020.


ADSB system

FAA will allow non-ADS-B Out equipped traffic on an exceptional basis. Traffic routinely flying through Class B/C airspace in the U.S. is expected to be so equipped.

Canadians flying into the U.S. without ADS-B Out should be aware of the following guidelines:

  • ATC will grant exceptions on the basis of workload.
  • One hour's notice is required. ATC may not be able to grant the exception based on traffic flows and workload.
  • ADS-B Out is not mandated outside of Class B/C airspace and below 10,000 feet. ATC is unlikely to grant exemptions for operators that routinely operate in this airspace, like scheduled flights.
  • A "capacity-constrained airport" (i.e., an airport with traffic greater than 85 percent of its capacity, including most major airports) is unlikely to be able to accommodate requests for exemptions for non-ADS-B Out equipped traffic.
  • Filing a flight plan that includes transit through ADS-B Out airspace does not infer approval. The nonequipped operator is solely responsible for obtaining that preflight approval ahead of time, and violators may be subject to sanctions.

The simple rule of thumb for Canadians flying through U.S. airspace without ADS-B Out is to avoid major airports, stay below 10,000 feet, and get preapproved for your flight if it passes through ADS-B Out airspace. With judicious planning, you should still be able to make it to Oshkosh!

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