Experimenter

FEB 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: https://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/457474

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ADS-B and EAA BY JACK J. PELTON 2 Vol.4 No.2 / Februar y 2015 TOWER FREQUENCY WITH THE YEAR 2020 mandate looming ADS-B has moved front and center for every airplane owner, and also here at EAA. First, it's important to understand that the 2020 deadline applies only to ADS-B "out" equipment. ADS-B "in" equipment that receives subscription-free weather, traf c, and other in- fl ight information is not required for any airplane in any airspace. Secondly, the 2020 mandate applies only to fl ying in air- space where a Mode C transponder is now required. If you are fl ying where you want now without a Mode C transponder, you can continue to fl y in that same airspace without ADS-B "out" after the deadline. However, the number of airplanes equipped with Mode C transponders is large. According to the most recent FAA activ- ity survey more than 80 percent of the active piston airplane fl eet was equipped with Mode C, and another 10 percent had the more advanced Mode S transponder. And 77 percent of homebuilts have Mode C. That adds up to more than 144,000 airplane owners who are now fl ying with Mode C or better and will need to install ADS-B "out" by 2020 to continue to fl y in all of the same airspace they are now eligible to use. At EAA we understand the superior precision and potential traf c fl ow improvements and safety of ADS-B in the NextGen air traf c control system. The present radar-based tracking system is stuck in the vacuum tube age and can't go on forever. But at EAA we are concerned that the ADS-B equipment certifi cation standards and installation approval process that is essential for high-performance airplanes fl ying in the system in all kinds of weather, and to and from the world's busiest airports, are not entirely necessary for pilots fl ying personal airplanes outside the IFR system. For example, we at EAA discovered that experimental airplanes have just been totally left out of the FAA-approved procedures to certify an ADS-B installation. The massive and complex document that describes how airframe manufactur- ers, or avionics equipment makers, can earn FAA approval for installation of ADS-B "out" equipment simply doesn't mention experimental airplanes. The entire ADS-B approval pathway revolves around obtain- ing an amended type certifi cate or supplemental type certifi cate (STC) to install the equipment. Experimental airplanes—includ- ing amateur-built—by defi nition don't have a type certifi cate. At this time experimental airplanes have no clear route to gain the necessary approvals to install ADS-B equipment even though the avionics boxes themselves meet the required standards. ADS-B is a global standard, and other parts of the world—par- ticularly in Europe—mandate its installation earlier than 2020. Perhaps in the years of complex negotiations that went on to cre- ate the international standards the FAA simply forgot about the thousands of homebuilts that fl y in regulated airspace. No matter the reason E-ABs and other experimentals were left out, EAA's advocacy group is working closely with the FAA to resolve the issue. And the FAA is looking to EAA for help in fi nding a solution. The other fallout of the complex regulations is what we be- lieve is the unnecessarily high cost for certifi ed ADS-B equip- ment. Much of the cost is in the two-step process of certifying the equipment, and then gaining approval to install the equip- ment. At EAA we are convinced the FAA can streamline the approval process for piston airplanes that fl y below the Class A airspace that starts at 18,000 feet and cut the cost of ADS-B compliance dramatically. How important is that to EAA members? I recently heard from a member who took his Cessna 152 to the avionics shop to get an estimate for ADS-B "out" installation. The all-up esti- mated price was $7,000. The value of the 152 is about $25,000. If that member wants to fl y near a busy airport surrounded by the Class B "veil" he must equip. If he wants to land at one of the only modestly busy Class C airports such as Mid Continent in my hometown of Wichita, the general aviation capital of the world, he must equip. And if he wants to fl y a trip along either coast, or passing major inland hub airports, he must equip or will be forced to fl y many, many miles out of his way to avoid regulated airspace. At EAA our mission is not to repeal ADS-B "out" require- ments, but it is our absolute objective to make them more logi- cal and af ordable for the personal airplane owner. Right now the cost versus benefi t of ADS-B just doesn't work for many owners of personal airplanes. Photography by Jason Toney

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