Key Component to NextGen declared unairworthy & its manufacturer has chosen silence as its response

FAA Declares ADS-B Unairworthy
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FAA Declares ADS-B Unairworthy

NavWorx Resisting Cooperation with FAA

The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive which proposes to terminate the use and installation of ADS-B transceivers manufactured by a specific company. The product at issue was heavily advertised as an “affordable” solution to the FAA’s requirement for installation. This is a significant action in two dimensions—in the FAA’s achieving its full NextGen coverage and as a matter of airworthiness directive processing by a TSOA holder.

First, by pulling the NavWorx unit’s TSOA status, the FAA is announcing its intention to remove one of the low-cost options in its critical NextGen implementation schedule.

ADS-B may be the cornerstone to most of the NextGen operational benefits; so much so that the FAA describes it as:

“ADS-B is transforming all segments of aviation. Real-time precision, shared situational awareness, advanced applications for pilots and controllers alike – these are the hallmarks of ADS-B NextGen surveillance.”

It is such an essential aspect of this transformative ATC technology that the FAA has issued a mandate of 01/01/2020 for equipage of the ADS-Out units as a predicate for flying into airspace. The efficiencies and safety which justify the expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars on NextGen DEPEND on the installation of these instruments.

The GA aircraft owners, who are the customers for the NavWorx products, are concerned about the cost of purchasing these units. The FAA is so concerned about this segment’s compliance with the mandate that it has issued an exemption policy to reduce the burden on these aircrafts’ owners and established a REBATE offer in which the FAA would reimburse the purchasers with FAA’s budgeted funds.

Given these considerations, the issuance of the AD indicates that the FAA has very strong concerns about this company’s transponder. There are aircraft operating today using the NavWorx units, customers who have purchased this company’s product for near term installation and prospective purchasers who considered the price point as an attractive feature. All three of these categories of GA owners who have heretofore relied on this specific model now must seek other options.

FAA Declares ADS-B Unairworthy

The second significant aspect of this AD proceeding is the company’s baffling response to the airworthiness allegations. Refusal of entry to the inspectors and unwillingness to be proactive with the agency by NavWorx are not conducive to resolution with the FAA. The company seems to have ignored that the federal aviation safety organization holds the sole power to issue or withdraw a TSOA.

FAA Declares ADS-B Unairworthy

The FAA first issued an unapproved part warning as to NavWorx Inc. model ADS600-B remote-mounted universal access transceivers (UATs) and then to the more formal action of issuing Federal Register notice stating:

“NavWorx has implemented a design change by revising its software for ADS-B units, Model ADS600-B part number (P/N) 200-0012 and 200-0013 and Model ADS600-EXP P/N 200-8013…The design of the units includes an internal uncertified GPS source. ADS-B units with an uncertified GPS source are required to broadcast a SIL [Source Integrity Level] of 0. The software revision (version 4.0.6) resulted in the units broadcasting a SIL of 3. This design change was not approved by the FAA and rendered the units noncompliant with TSO-C154c. Because the ADS-B unit incorrectly broadcasts a SIL of 3 instead of 0, the unit could communicate unreliable position information to ATC and nearby aircraft, resulting in an aircraft collision.”

Those are very serious allegations which would ordinarily cause the company to which this AD was directed to seek a meeting with the FAA to resolve the technical criticisms expressed. A simple explanation of why the FAA’s stated problems are incorrect would result in the FAA’s withdrawal of the AD.

Instead NavWorx, according to the FAA, “declined on repeated occasions to allow FAA personnel to conduct the required inspections. The suspension is immediate and will remain in effect until NavWorx consents to the inspections and demonstrates compliance with FAA standards.” That posture basically escalated the matter to the formal AD process.

In response NavWorx posted a statement on its website in part which asserts:

“The FAA has never shared with us any instance of our units doing so, there is no support for this claim in the docket, and we are unaware of any unit doing so. In fact, for two and a half years the FAA had no problem with the ability of our units to correctly communicate the position of aircraft with the units.”

The FAA says that the Model ADS600-B part number (P/N) 200-0012 and 200-0013 and Model ADS600-EXP P/N 200-8013 are emitting the wrong signal. That is something which would appear to be easily resolvable in a demonstration of a production unit.

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FAA Declares ADS-B Unairworthy

The FAA specifically stated that “during the suspension, NavWorx may not mark or otherwise indicate that its ADS600-B units meet FAA standards.” The company continues to advertise the ADS600-B unit on its website as of 11/28/2016 with the heading that it is TSO “certified.” That action, or inaction, does not appear to demonstrate that the company sees compliance with FAA orders to be a priority.

It is unfortunate that NavWorx has decided the path of greatest resistance in establishing the airworthiness with a product of such great importance to NextGen.

Tune in to learn about the future transmissions.

 


Press Release – FAA Suspends Approval of Certain NavWorx ADS-B Units
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7 Comments on "Key Component to NextGen declared unairworthy & its manufacturer has chosen silence as its response"

  1. These companies need Lot Number/Component Traceability this is a core feature in Manufacturing. If they can’t say what chip is on a suspect board why would you buy it and depend your life on it? The FAA asked them what parts they used on a build, and they can’t respond, and that’s sad.

  2. I used to work in research medical electronics and when the FDA had a mere question about an item pertaining to safety, SQUADS of engineers would get to the bottom of the issue.

    That said, I am unsure why NavWorx is being, what appears to be, petulant on this. And it doesn’t appear this issue came out of left field.

  3. Latest from Navworx…

    NavWorx Customers & Dealers
    I first want to thank all of you for your patience during this unfortunate and unprecedented situation. Contrary to what you may surmise from emails and proposed actions, I want to ensure everyone that we are diligently working on the solution to resolve this situation in a timely matter. NavWorx values the commitment you have placed in us by purchasing our products and strives to honor that commitment that you have entrusted with us.

    Currently we are waiting on the resolution of the AD on or about December 20th. Based on the final AD, the AD may be rescinded, or the AD may be modified to allow for just previously approved GPS sources. If the FAA does not allow the use of the internal GPS, then we will offer the ability to modify the products from the 200-0012 & 200-0013 part numbers to part numbers 200-0112 & 200-0113. The 200-0112 & 200-0113 part numbers are approved under the FAA Rebate program and are not the subject to the AD.

    As I hope you understand, the past few weeks our phone system has been overwhelmed by volume and we can imagine the frustration this may cause. Be assured we are here and working tirelessly to take care of you, our customer.

    Please check our web page weekly for updates and for our announcements which will detail our program to remedy this situation.

    For those that need immediate service, feel free to contact our support email at support@Navworx.com or contact our Distributor, Dallas Avionics, Inc Product Specialist,
    Scott C Edwards at 214-668-7466 or 800-527-2581.

    Regards,

    Bill Moffitt
    President,
    NavWorx Incorporated

  4. I am based out of a Class B airport in the mountain west. We have been strongly encouraged to comply with the ADS-B system as soon as possible in the interest of aviation safety. I purchased the NavWorx ADS600B system and and received the PN 200-0012 system with several option, the WiFi, Transpondsp, and their GPS antenna. This was all purchased in good faith. The installation was almost completed when the first FAA notice came out in September. The installation was stopped. Between installation and acquisition costs I have paid is now close to $4000. While the installation was in process, I applied for the FAA rebate program, just days prior to the first FAA letter. It was mainly the FAA rebate program that encouraged me to purchase the system in the first place. In the meantime the annual inspection became due. Now after over three months of waiting for a resolution, my aircraft has been sequestered due to the unapproved parts notification by the FAA of the NavWorx system. So, December 20th 2016 has passed. No resolution, and to add insult to injury the dispute period on this credit card purchase has now past.

    I understand this seems like an easy fix and I had even sent NavWorx several emails stating I would pay a reasonable fee to have the unit ‘upgraded’ to the old approved models. No replies from NavWorx for that offer. I would love to hear or get an e-mail directly from NavWorx. I’m one of many who are ‘invested’ in their system and very much want to move on with the system to comply with the ADS-B program. I know of other who installed their system and passed their FAA inflight tests with the now ‘unapproved’ systems! Something is not right! I also think that the FAA is also very culpable! They knew of the problems many months before they sent out their first notice, long before Oshkosh and when NavWorx had a promotional deal. Many of us were ‘baited’ into jumping into and thinking we were complying with this FAA mandated program early and would be able to get a rebate! So, much for being a good citizen pilot. This ‘safety program’ is supposed to save the government money in the long run. If this fails, and we lose our money, the complaints will lead to a congressional investigation, and in someway we need to be compensated, because there still appears to be more to this story… I feel like we are ‘beta testers’ for a mandated flawed system, where the FAA makes changes midstream with results like this situation. I foresee there may be a movement to force the extension of this program, beyond the January 2020 deadline. Other agencies have received extensions for this mandated deadline. Why not GA!

  5. Wayne Leydsman | August 6, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Reply

    I am one of the many that have expressed increasing concerns with the NavWorx ADS-B situation! As I write this, it is August of 2017 and promised compliance deadlines have come and gone. In my case NavWorx received my box for updating in June. It is one of the many affected part number boxes with the unapproved internal GPS boards subject to Airworthiness Directive 2017-11-11. I was initially told it would have been upgraded and returned to me sometime in July. That deadline is now past. I spoke to Scott Edwards at Dallas Avionics in mid-July requesting an update and he said the upgrades were delayed. Then several days after AirVenture 2017, I called Dallas Avionics again for an update on the NavWorx situation and was told that NavWorx had received their FAA approval. I was glad for that news and now they could be back in business! I waited several days looking for a formal announcement in the various aviation news outlets, and no such announcement was made regarding any FAA/NavWorx approval. I thought this would have been BIG news! Then I had a strong feeling to confirm that information. I contacted the FAA office number as outlined in AD 2017-11-11. To my dismay, I was told NavWorx had not yet received an approval from the FAA! So, who is giving out the information and why was I told what I was told? (I will leave that question open for a possible future discussion pending on the developments over the next several weeks.)

    Even with all the trials that NavWorx has gone through, I am glad that NavWorx has received positive support from the Aircraft Electronics Association through Dallas Avionics. (We know that many of the installed affected NavWorx ADS-B flight tests had shown these systems had passed their FAA in-flight required tests, even with the ‘improper’ internal GPS, which NavWorx promised to change to ensure 2020 compliance.)

    NavWorx choice in not keeping their customers more updated with honest information regarding their progress toward compliance is certainly not a good business practice. We are invested in their product and company. Many of us have supported and also endured hardships, with now waining patience. NavWorx has set and advertised many of their own deadlines on their website. Many of these published deadlines have not been realized. Is the FAA STILL holding up the recertification process? I am sure customers are becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned with the continued assurances for a resolution ‘soon,’ and are feeling some growing skepticism.

    With the FAA’s ADS-B rebate program coming to a close in September, it would be appreciated that the many of the previously excluded NavWorx customers can have the opportunity to be able reapply for that program with their 2020 compliant units. This will go a long way in calming the concerns of many of the NavWorx customers.

  6. i am another proud owner of the recalled system by NavWorx. i have made many attempts to contact NavWorx in this regard. never have i ever gotten a go to hell or any other communication from them. I have contacted my dealer too and it appears that he may have been left hanging in the wind to.
    I ran a business for many years. when regulations changed during a project we stood behind our product 100%. Cities and Counties have a habit of stepping in and changing requirements on a project. it was never my customers job or responsibility to negotiate or pay for unforeseen demands from government. my contract was my word and we were in business for 48 years with many repeat customers.
    It is NavWorx’s responsibility to stand up and make the corrections necessary to comply with the regulations.

  7. Well, where are all the other posts? There should be many, many more customers writing in their comments regarding the closure of NavWorx and this unfortunate ADS-B situation and fiasco. It appears this is all being swept under the carpet! By now I have lost over $4500 and have nothing to show for this government mandate. Yes, I have seen that the FAA may impose a fine to NavWorx, but what has come of that? I called AOPA over a month ago for what they could do regarding this situation. I did receive a reply, because I requested that this gets investigated. I was told that basically this was a done deal. What recourse do customers of this mandate have who purchased an ‘approved’, NavWorx systems? Where is the general aviation media? Personally, I feel the FAA does have some cupability. As I said before, if the FAA knew there was a flaw long before even the first letter in September 2016, customers who purchased those systems would have not, if the FAA had done their job when they learned there was an issue with these products. So, affected good citizen aviators what do we do now? As a retired person I am damaged finacially. AOPA ESSENTIALLY TOLD ME THERE WAS NO NEED FOR A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION. WHY NOT!

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