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GAMA Marks Over 40,000 Aircraft Equipped with ADS-B

On the day the ADS-B $500 rebate offer expired, GAMA’s Pete Bunce announced that over 40,000 aircraft flying in the United States are equipped with this critical link to the NextGen navigation and control systems.

“We’re now just over two years out from the FAA compliance deadline,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “As we move forward, knowing that date will not change, it is essential that those operators who haven’t yet, make a plan for equipage to avoid having their aircraft grounded and losing its residual value.”







WHY is the FAA mandating this equipment be installed by 2020? Here (for those who may not have heard of ADS-B; hopefully not aviators.) is the FAA’s explanation of the value of it:


“ADS-B is more accurate than radar, reporting aircraft movements once every second. ADS-B avionics use GPS and other onboard systems to determine the aircraft’s position, speed, and other data and broadcast this information directly to other ADS-B In-equipped aircraft and to the more than 600 ADS-B ground stations installed throughout the country. Ground stations relay the information to air traffic control (ATC) and aircraft equipped to receive the data.

ADS-B’s Out function enables data to be transmitted. The In function enables an aircraft to receive data from ground stations and nearby Out-equipped aircraft, as well as traffic advisory, flight information, and weather service products.

■ Basic avionics required: a GPS/WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) position source and transmitter

■ For ADS-B In-equipped aircraft: the addition of a multi-function display and receiver Being that ADS-B Out avionics transmit data approximately once every second, it enables more precise tracking of aircraft compared with the current radar sweep rates of 3-15 seconds. The smaller footprint of ground radios enables their placement in areas where a radar site would be unfeasible, such as mountainous terrain. The Highly precise GPS-based surveillance provided by ADS-B is also improving our ability to perform life-saving search and rescue operations. Air traffic controllers have better information about an airplane’s last position, thus helping to take the “search” out of search and rescue.

With an expanded coverage area and with all aircraft transmitting Out data, controllers will have a highly accurate traffic picture. ATC, in turn, can better manage traffic flow and provide improved surveillance in a period of expanding traffic demand. Pilots of ADS-B In-equipped aircraft, have the added advantage of seeing traffic and graphic weather on displays, which sharpens situational awareness and crucial see-and-avoid capability.”


While Mr. Bunce’s progress report is indeed good news, there are many aircraft which need to have this system installed in the remaining time. The above FAA chart shows that there are ~ 170,000 piston, fixed wing aircraft in inventory. Given the higher cost of the turbine fixed wing fleet, that segment is more likely equipped of in the queue.






Why is 2020 etched in regulatory stone?  Effective January 1, 2020, aircraft operating in airspace defined in FAR § 91.225 are required to have a compliant ADS-B system. That requirement is imposed because the FAA has invested billions in NextGen and many of the system benefits depend on all aircraft in the airspace include this equipment.

Mr. Bunce’s 40,000 number merits his proclamation, but clearly over the remaining months, many,many ADS-B’s must be installed.

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