Oct. 9, 2014

On Oct. 28, the FAA plans to hold a “Call to Action” summit to engage the aviation industry in how to meet the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline to equip aircraft with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) – technology that will be key in the ongoing transformation of the nation’s aviation system into a Next Generation (NextGen) system.

“We are encouraged that the FAA has invited the industry to discuss concerns related to ADS-B aircraft equipage,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs. “We look forward to presenting our Members’ concerns to the FAA and working with agency representatives to overcome barriers to meeting the 2020 deadline.”

For many years, NBAA has been deeply involved in helping to ensure that NextGen planning 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. Steve Brown, NBAA’s chief operating officer, serves on the National Research Council, which provides guidance on FAA’s NextGen research programs. 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 NextGen equipage, including ADS-B.

The FAA’s goal for the summit is to address challenges related to meeting aircraft equipage requirements. The agency has deployed 634 radio stations as the baseline ADS-B ground infrastructure. ADS-B Out aircraft equipage requires a compliant GPS receiver, a 1090 MHz extended squitter or a 978 MHz universal access transceiver, and an antenna. For some aircraft requiring retrofit, particularly small or older aircraft, ADS-B Out is not a simple installation and may be costly. Also, many aircraft owners and operators are uncertain of the benefits of the technology.

Only a fraction of the more than 250,000 active aircraft on the U.S. registry currently meet the ADS-B requirement, either through retrofit or original equipment. The FAA says properly equipped aircraft in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexican are already seeing benefits from ADS-B, including a decreased likelihood of mid-air collisions, more efficient routing during severe weather and fuel savings.

The agency claims improved situational awareness from ADS-B systems has resulted in a 47 percent drop in the fatal accident rate for equipped aircraft operating in southwest Alaska.

“Some of our Members are questioning the cost of an ADS-B installation in order to keep doing what they’re doing today, with little additional benefit,” said Carr. “We are optimistic this summit will be a positive dialogue, but the bottom line is operators need to be prepared.”