Where is General Aviation on ADS-B Compliance?

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ADS-B: Who Will Make the FAA Deadline?

Lots of questions about business and general aviation

Considerable data on equipage

A look at the GA fixed wing piston and turbine equipage

The deadline is coming. The numbers as to air carrier equipage are good. Where is General Aviation? Not as clear; so, here are some opinions drawn from a number of different experts!!!


March, 2019


Ground infrastructure to support ADS-B detection was installed beginning in 2009 and the first ADS-B-enabled flights were allowed by the FAA in 2011. Wide-ranging solutions have been on the market and ground infrastructure to support them since around 2014.

Five years later, large swathes of the aviation industry have yet to upgrade their aircraft to be ADS-B-compliant, and time is running out. It has become clear that some aircraft simply won’t be upgraded in time – and some believe the partial government shutdown that lasted from December to January exacerbated this problem.

[Hans] Hennig said that as far as GAMA can tell, the FAA is ready.

“If you look at what the FAA had to do, most of the work was finished by spring of 2015,” he said. “Ground infrastructure was operational. The interface, run by Harris, has been integrated into vast majority of FAA facilities…I checked with program office – ‘Did you guys encounter anything, did this shutdown cause any problems?’ – and they said no.”

FAA Forecast


In total, the most recent FAA data shows that there are about 166,000 registered fixed-wing GA aircraft, excluding gliders and experimental and light-sport aircraft. As of Feb. 1, about 52,000, or 31.4 percent, were ADS-B compliant, with a rate of good installs just under 93 percent. Installs take place at a rate just above 1,000 per month.

As of now, the business jet fleet is about 63-64 percent equipped, with 20 percent of the fleet having equipped in the past year, Hennig of GAMA said.

Current Equipage Levels


As of July 1, 2019










“I’m feeling good about that one,” he said, because business jet flight requires passage into the airspace covered by the mandate, and the majority of them will continue to fly.

The piston fleet looks less promising at first blush, but Hennig said a breakdown of the data is better.

“The aircraft that have flown more than 5 days or so in ADS-B airspace are on a very good trajectory, while those who have flown fewer are not equipping,” he said.

A lot of piston aircraft are used for local operations that fall below 10,000-feet, where the mandate isn’t in effect, and a significant portion of the fleet is comprised of older aircraft whose owners don’t intend to upgrade them, bringing down the overall numbers.

Nelson from Duncan Aviation echoed that sentiment, saying that there are a lot of older aircraft flying decades past when manufacturers expected, and the value proposition for upgrading them simply isn’t there. He also said that operators flying “on the margins” with those aircraft who would choose not to upgrade but couldn’t afford to replace their planes might be driven out of business by the mandate.

The biggest concern is over the smallest fleet: rotorcraft. Only about 3,100 of the fleet of more than 10,500 helicopters registered to operate in the U.S. have equipped.




ADS-B Compliance Accelerates, but Will It Be Enough?

After years of expressing concern about lagging equipage rates for the 2020 ADS-B mandate in the U.S., General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO Pete Bunce recently gave a reason for optimism. Equipage rates had jumped significantly on the fixed-wing front, he reported and said, “We’re tracking very well.”

But at the same time, Bunce highlighted continued concerns about rotorcraft equipage, which, at just 30 percent equipped in February, has been well behind fixed-wing. And industry leaders point to pockets of fixed-wing fleets—particularly older, legacy aircraft—that have much slower equipage rates. This reinforces the concern that come Jan. 1, 2020, aircraft may be sidelined.

FAA, NBAA Issue Joint Reminder on ADS-B Equipage Mandate

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, March 25, 2019 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen joined today with Dan Elwell, acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to issue a reminder to the business aviation community to install Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out (ADS-B) equipment on their aircraft before the FAA’s Jan. 1, 2020, deadline.

“Without ADS-B, your operation will not be able to continue flights into any of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas,” reads the letter to business aircraft operators. “Additionally, you will be required to fly at lower, less efficient altitudes. If you have not yet installed rule-compliant ADS-B Out equipment, or scheduled an appointment, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.”









No Kidding: ADS-B Deadline of Jan. 1, 2020, is Firm

We have a sense of humor, too, but an April Fool’s joke that the Federal Aviation Administration is extending the ADS-B deadline is just that.

As stated in the final rule published with industry input in May 2010, all aircraft flying in designated controlled airspace – generally the same busy airspace where transponders are currently required – must be equipped with ADS-B Out avionics by Jan. 1, 2020. Only aircraft that fly in uncontrolled airspace, and aircraft without electrical systems, such as balloons and gliders, are exempt from the mandate.

Those who have already equipped understand that ADS-B is transforming the nation’s airspace by providing more precision and reliability than the current radar system, enhancing safety and increasing situational awareness.

Time is running out. There are only 21 months left until the deadline. If you have any questions about equipage – whether you need to or not, what equipment to get, etc. – please see the FAA’s Equip ADS-B website. For information about the transformational technology, visit the ADS-B website.


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