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ADS-B Cost Starting to Drop

FreeFlight unit pushes price point under $2,000

FreeflightMarch 19, 2015—EAA has maintained that while bringing modern technology to the cockpit and the National Airspace System is a goal worth supporting, many GA pilots will balk at the cost of ADS-B “Out” units that with installation could cost as much as 20 percent of a typical GA recreational airplane’s total value.

This week’s good news is that FreeFlight has unveiled its new RANGR Lite ADS-B “out” system, which the company says is a rule-compliant complete hardware package for $1,995.The FDL-978-TXL package is complete “no fine print” including a built-in WAAS GPS position sensor, antennas, mounting hardware and a cockpit control to link the system to existing Mode A/C transponders. Installation could add approximately another $1,000 to the total cost for a typical aircraft owner, but that still leaves a total cost about 25 percent less than estimates for ADS-B technology prior to this point.

“This is good news as a starting point toward more affordable ADS-B solutions in front of the FAA’s year 2020 mandate,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety, who participated in the FAA’s Equip 2020 meeting this week in Washington, D.C. “EAA’s effort to push the industry toward lower-cost solutions is having an effect. At the same time, EAA continues to urge the FAA to accept flexibility in this technology for amateur-built aircraft, upholding the long tradition of innovation emerging from that area within the GA community.”

The FreeFlight TXL system is “out” only, meaning it meets the requirement for ADS-B in regulated airspace after the end of 2019 but does not receive the FIS-B subscription free weather and traffic. FreeFlight offers an “in” and “out” system, the XVRL, that does receive that information for $3,695. Both systems qualify for flight below 18,000 feet only because they operate on the UAT frequency.

FreeFlight is promising to build 10,000 of the lower cost system under a program it calls “Equip-It 2020.” The TXL system will be offered only through participating FreeFlight dealers. The list of participating dealers will be announced on the company website at in early April. Shipments of the lower cost TXL are expected to begin in the second quarter of this year.

Airplane owners who start with the lower cost TXL system can upgrade to the ADS-B “in” capability of the XVRL system at a later date. The FIS-B weather and other information can be displayed on tablets wirelessly via included Wi-Fi capability. For more information, visit the FreeFlight website.

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