Clock Is Ticking on 2020 NextGen Compliance

 - June 26, 2014, 3:21 PM

Testifying yesterday before the Senate subcommittee on aviation on the status of NextGen ATC implementation, FAA deputy administrator Michael Whitaker told lawmakers that “both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed.”

He asserted that the agency is on track for completing the foundational technology for ADS-B well before the 2020 deadline by which the industry has to equip with ADS-B out. He warned against procrastination: “Let me be very clear–the 2020 deadline is not going to change.”

At last week’s NATA Air Charter Summit, Richard Peri, vice president for government and industry affairs with the Aircraft Electronics Association, told attendees that now is the time for operators of the more than 140,000 transponder-equipped N-registered aircraft to be scheduling installation with their avionics shop. With approximately 1,400 work days left until Dec. 31, 2019, he said 130 aircraft a day need to be upgraded to ADS-B if the transition to the new equipage requirement is to be seamless. The pace now is approximately 100 aircraft a month.


The situation that is creating much of the delay is the cost of the equipment required to meet the ADS-B out cost.  Many of the 140,000 aircraft not yet equiped are facing a cost for the equipment that often exceeds 10 to 15% of the value of the aircraft.  This is a pretty big bite four many of our owners.  While there are portable ADS-B out options, we have been told that this equipment cannot be used in certified aircraft after 2020.  I am not convinced that this equipment would not work as well as the certified equipment if certified antennas are used.  One of the major components that keeps the price so high is the cost of a certified GPS receiver.  I find this cost to be unjustified but seems to be the result of little competition because of the certification costs for the two or 3 companies that have a certified and ADS-B compatible receiver.  The cost of certification for avionics equipment is much of the reason many of us cannot afford to upgrade our aircraft to better and safer equipment.  Hopefully, the Part 23 revisions will address this problem but wonder if this revision will result in lower avionics cost.  Many of us have to weigh the additional cost of equipment against the increased safety that this equipment provides.  Except for ADS-B in equipment, we do not see the cost of ADS-B out to tip the scale sufficienty toward  increased safety for the cost that is incurred.

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