2020 faa adsb-b mandates – the clock is ticking

May 15, 2018

Unless you have been hiding under a stone for the last two years you can’t fail to have noticed that we have upcoming FAA and European mandates on the use of ADS-B. But it seems that not everyone has got the message. Steve Nichols reports


The worry is that if operators don’t start to get to grips with ADS-B now, they could miss out. The FAA says that by January 1, 2020, you must be equipped with ADS-B Out to fly in most controlled airspace in the US. The European mandate for ADS-B says all IFR aircraft with a MTOW of 5700 kg (12,655 lbs.) or greater and/or maximum cruising TAS greater than 250 kts must have ADS-B out from June 6, 2020.

But Bill Stone, Garmin’s senior business development manager, said that people are dragging their heels about getting their aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out.
“I would say that the figures are rather underwhelming,” Stone said.

“From a bizjet and rotorcraft perspective I would say it looks like only about 15-20% of fleets have either upgraded their aircraft or have booked them into a shop for the work to be done. I guess it is just human nature – people leave everything to the last minute. The problem is that we hear some avionics shops and MROs are now fully booked up for the next six months and some are fully booked up until the end of the year. If people leave it too much longer they won’t be able to get the work done in time – and they’ll be excluded from some airspace as a result,” Stone said. He added that the take up for ADS-B Out is actually higher for general aviation/piston-engine aircraft.

“I would say that was running at about 35-40%. Around 70-80% of the orders we are seeing include ADS-B In,” Stone said. “Pilots appreciate the extra traffic and meteorological information that they can get onto the aircraft, whether they have compatible integrated cockpit avionics or not. Being able to get ADS-B In information wirelessly onto an iPad app in the cockpit is a big bonus. When customers are having their aircraft in the shop for other work they want to capitalize on the extra capabilities that ADS-B In can give them.”

He said new production aircraft are in good shape, but it is really the ADS-B retrofit market that is dragging its heels. Stone added that ADS-B is a much harder sell in Europe as there is no ADS-B In functionality and it is harder to justify the expenditure.

In terms of other avionics, Stone said that interest in performance-based navigation is becoming larger in aerospace around the world. “Although there are no specific mandates in place around the world for performance-based navigation, tools like Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS) in the US, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) in Europe and similar systems around the world will become more and more prevalent and will offer more and benefit,” Stone said.

Director of Sales at Universal Avionics Robert Clare said that the company had been incredibly busy supplying ADS-B equipment and broke its targets for 2017.
“With the number of aircraft flying, I think everyone thought it would be impossible to get everyone ADS-B compliant,” he said.

“Panic may be too strong a word, but this year we have seen a lot of operators put in last-minute orders for ADS-B out equipment. We have struggled to meet demand to supply products, but we have really stepped up our manufacturing. “That’s really great from a sales perspective, but it was challenge last year to keep up. A lot of operators are now looking and the time-line and saying, heck, we need to do something!” Clare said. “I think a lot of operators will miss out – a lot think the FAA will push the mandate back or give us more time, but so far they are not doing that.”

He said ADS-B In is little more complex as there are two elements – Traffic Information System-Broadcast (TIS-B) and Flight Information System-Broadcast (FIS-B).
“Below 10,000 feet you can get the TIS-B information, which is free but advisory only,” Clare said. “That is fairly easy to install on smaller aircraft, but on larger platforms you need a display, plus the receivers and a lot of avionics manufacturers, including us, are working on getting that capability in future, but we don’t have it right now. Go up to the Part 25 world and the ADS-B In capability is less common – more like 10 per cent of the market.”

Clare also said that operators should be looking further ahead when it comes to purchasing avionics.

“The avionics world is changing really quickly and while the focus has been on the upcoming mandate there is so much more that they could be taking advantage of,” he said. “One feature that has been around for a while that many operators have not upgraded to take advantage of is LPV – Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance.”

These are the highest precision GPS (WAAS-enabled) aviation instrument approach procedures currently available without specialized aircrew training requirements, such as required navigation performance (RNP). “To me there are more and more places you can’t fly into unless you have LPV capability – the next big push for Europe is also going to be LPV. You need a TSO-C146 compliant Flight Management System (FMS) to get ADS-B out anyway. In our opinion you can spend a little more money up front to get LPV. “And the on top of that you will also be equipped to be prepared for the Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) requirements that are here today, with all these new advanced approaches that you can fly with certain types of aircraft,” Clare said.

Rob Myhlhousen, principal marketing manager, Rockwell Collins’ Commercial Systems Group, said there had been pretty good uptake with ADS-B over the last 12 months, but there is still a lot to be done. “Those who risk waiting are going to be on the losing side of the supply and demand curve with the potential for higher pricing as the demand continues to increase,” Myhlhousen said. “There is the potential for some operators to be non-compliant by the time the mandates kick in.”

In terms of whether people are opting for ADS-B In Myhlhousen said there had been interest from the turboprop and light jet markets. “We have a lot of aircraft fitted with TCAS so they already have a traffic picture. And when you look at our Proline 21 and Proline Fusion customers, many of them already have XM weather or global data-linked weather, so they are getting some of the services that could come via ADS-In in other ways,” he said. “It is something we continue to evaluate, but our focus is on getting people equipped with ADS-B Out.”

Myhlhousen said Rockwell Collins was also concentrating on Performance Based Navigation. “The FMS is becoming more of a critical piece of the flight deck with PBN. While not mandated today those customers who don’t have capabilities such as RNP and LPV might see some limitations in not getting the prime access to airspace they want. We have airspace modernization upgrade packages for Proline 21 on King Airs, Hawkers and Beechcraft Premiers that can bring these capabilities. We’re also bringing in synthetic vision to the primary flights display (PFD),” he said. “This ticks the box for the ADS-B Out mandate, but then positions them for PBN in the future. We’re moving to a ‘best equipped, best served’ philosophy, so those aircraft that are equipped will see better access to airspace.”

He said aircraft equipped with a FANS1/A capability are reporting they get faster departure clearance information via controller–pilot data link communications (CPDLC) from the 57 airports in the USA that are so equipped. “We just urge customers looking at their upgrade choices to look beyond meeting the 2020 ADS-B mandates. Look at how you can take advantage of future airspace modernization activities, including performance-based navigation, and keeping your aircraft relevant for the future. “We also encourage them to research the solutions available for their aircraft. Talk to your dealers, talk to your OEM service providers, understand what options are available and get your upgrade shop time booked in,” Myhlhousen concluded. Rockwell Collins has a webpage where you can check for upgrade options – see www.rockwellcollins.com/ads-b. Or you can email questions to ads-b@rockwellcollins.com.

What is ADS-B?

What exactly is ADS-B and what benefits does it bring? The acronym ADS-B stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast, which on its own is pretty meaningless. ADS-B is “automatic” because requires neither pilot nor other inputs. It is “dependent” because it depends on data from the aircraft’s navigation system.

Pioneered originally in the US, an ADS-B-equipped aircraft finds its own position using a global navigation satellite system (GNSS), typically GPS, and periodically broadcasts this position and other information to ground stations and other aircraft equipped with ADS-B.

ADS-B-equipped aircraft broadcast their precise position in space via a digital datalink along with other data, including groundspeed, altitude, and whether the aircraft is climbing, or descending. This broadcast capability is sometimes known as a “squitter”.

ADS-B receivers that are integrated into the air traffic control system or installed aboard other aircraft provide users with an accurate depiction of real-time aviation traffic, both in the air and on the ground – although this does require additional equipment to be installed on the aircraft.

Unlike conventional radar, ADS-B works at low altitudes and on the ground so that it can be used to monitor traffic on the taxiways and runways of an airport. It’s also effective in remote areas or in mountainous terrain where there is no radar coverage, or where coverage is limited.

One of the greatest benefits of ADS-B is its ability to provide the same real-time information to both pilots in aircraft cockpits and ground controllers, so that, for the first time, ADS-B equipped aircraft can both “see” the same data, as long as all aircraft in the vicinity are similarly equipped.
To ensure that the system is as compatible as possible with both older and newer technologies ADS-B can be used over several different data link technologies, including Mode-S and 1090MHz data link (in Europe).

The great thing about ADS-B is its automatic nature – the pilot concentrates on flying the aircraft and the system merrily transmits his position without any mechanical intervention.

It also benefits from its relative low cost when compared to other surveillance systems, such as radar, its high accuracy, and the fact that it can also support other airborne surveillance applications, which will enable many future updates.

The FAA says ADS-B gives air traffic controllers a more accurate picture of all the aircraft in their airspace and works where radar often doesn’t, even in remote or mountainous areas. With a better view of the traffic they are managing, controllers can eliminate wasted space between aircraft, which increases airspace capacity and decreases the need for holding patterns.

With ADS-B, pilots and controllers see highly-accurate traffic images. These images update in real time and don’t degrade with distance or terrain. Pilots with access to this information can safely fly closer to other aircraft, and they’ll need less assistance from air traffic controllers.
The safety benefits of ADS-B are huge and include improved visual acquisition, especially for general aviation under visual flight rules (VFR) and reduced runway incursions.

In the US, ADS-B equipment can also support Traffic Information Services -Broadcast (TIS-B), whereby details of all traffic known to an ATC system can be transmitted back to suitably-equipped aircraft.

ADS-B Out transmits GPS-based position and other aircraft or vehicle information and implementation is now mandated in 2020. ADS-B In allows transmitted signals to be received by other aircraft as well as ground stations, but this is not part of the 2020 mandate.

There is no mandate for ADS-B “In.” However, this optional “In” capability – which receives the tracking data for display in the cockpit – should be a popular upgrade, since it can clearly enhance situational awareness by giving pilots a view of the same basic traffic data that ground controllers are monitoring on their scopes.

Additional in the US, FAA inducements for adding ADS-B “In” include free datalink weather and various other flight information services.