Nov. 24, 2014

NBAA Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown represented business aviation interests last week at the FAA/industry ADS-B working group “Equip 2020” meeting, which focused on three main areas: process improvements, cost issues and expanding or accelerating the benefits of ADS-B equipage.

The group discussed the possibility of improving processes by streamlining and minimizing installation-related paperwork, as well as potential delegation of some oversight responsibilities to repair stations and aircraft shops.

“The Equip 2020 working group examined possible methods to reduce the hassle factor of getting ADS-B installed,” said Brown. “A more customer-friendly approach to equipage could result in some time and expense savings for both aircraft owners and the FAA.”

The group also examined whether performance standards for avionics could be adjusted to reduce costs, and whether production schedules for avionics could be made more efficient based on better insight into overall product demand. Finally, the working group looked at the possibility of expanding the benefits of ADS-B service so aircraft owners that equip early can realize benefits in more airspace at an earlier date.

“We are looking at options to increase benefits and encourage aircraft owners and operators to equip early,” said Brown. “Some aircraft operators don’t fully understand the benefits of ADS-B, so the [Equip 2020] group discussed methods to increase overall awareness of the advantages to aircraft operators.”

The next full Equip 2020 working group meeting will be held on Dec. 17, but sub-groups specializing in different topic areas will meet regularly via web and teleconference meetings before the full group meeting.

“One critical point should be taken from these meetings: the FAA consistently says they have no intention of changing the 2020 deadline,” said Brown. “Although we are optimistic Equip 2020 will develop some reasonable paths to ADS-B equipage, operators need to consider their plan to equip sooner rather than later.”

Also last week, Brown participated in the National Research Council (NRC) meeting that reviewed FAA’s plans for implementing broader NextGen programs. The NRC has been asked by Congress to formulate recommendations that would enhance FAA’s research, certification and implementation initiatives so that critical programs are accomplished in a timely and cost effective manner. The NRC panel plans to deliver its report by May of 2015.

NBAA, for many years, has been deeply involved in helping to ensure that NextGen planning, including the role of ADS-B, addresses the needs of business aviation. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen was appointed by the FAA administrator to serve on the agency’s NextGen advisory committee. Bob Lamond, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure, along with several members of NBAA’s Air Traffic Services group, are on numerous working groups that deal with ADS-B equipage and other NextGen issues.