The FAA’s January 1, 2020, deadline for upgrading their aircraft to Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is this week. Duncan Aviation Satellite Avionics shops say they have been asked a number of questions in the last couple of weeks.
One question comes from owner/operators whose aircraft are not ADS-B-compliant. They are wondering if they’re going to be able to fly once the mandate goes into effect next week. Mike Mertens, manager of Regulation Compliance says the FAA released a policy statement in April of this year clarifying how Air Traffic Control (ATC) will handle non-compliant aircraft. He says the agency made clear that it will not issue in-flight authorizations to non-compliant aircraft. Permission must be requested and obtained before takeoff. “At least 60 minutes before a flight, preferably considerably earlier, pilots flying aircraft that are not equipped with ADS-B Out must file their flight plan with the FAA and wait for permission from ATC in the airspace through which they intend to fly,” says Mertens. “If ATC is busy, airspace is congested or there’s inclement weather, permission to fly may be denied.” Mertens stressed that these exceptions will not be granted more than one or two times. Aircraft that are not compliant with the FAA’s ADS-B-Out mandate will likely face inconvenient restrictions and downtime in the coming weeks.
After the first of the New Year, some of the Duncan Aviation Satellite Avionics Shops have space available for upgrading aircraft to ADS-B Out. Duncan Aviation holds or has access to Supplemental Type Certificates for dozens of aircraft, and the techs have a great deal of experience with all makes and models. Throughout 2019, Duncan Aviation techs at Satellite Avionics Shops have upgraded more than 400 aircraft for ADS-B, and the three main facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska, Battle Creek, Michigan, and Provo, Utah, have upgraded an additional 125 aircraft.
“We’ve also received questions about how soon we can update aircraft from owner/operators who had intended to sell their aircraft rather than upgrade, but they’ve found there’s no market for aircraft that are not ADS-B-compliant,” says manager of Satellite Operations Matt Nelson. “We’re encouraging owner/operators in this position to call the Duncan Aviation Satellite Avionics Shop nearest them to schedule time in January for the upgrade.” Nelson says the flight restrictions on non-compliant aircraft may pose some problems, but the FAA will likely grant permission for aircraft to fly to Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) centers like Duncan Aviation in order to obtain the upgrade to ADS-B.
Duncan says upgrading to ADS-B requires about 10 days to two weeks if downtime. For more details on the ADS-B mandate, check out our feature story in Aerospace Tech Review here.