FAA’s ADS-B NPRM Not Exactly a Slam Dunk

 - March 6, 2008, 11:59 AM

The FAA received more than 250 user comments about its ADS-B proposal before the comment period ended Tuesday, and the consensus is a fairly solid “Yes, but…” While ADS-B won virtually unanimous approval as the way ahead, there was little unanimity in the qualifying “buts.” These escalated from dropping the second antenna for the required back-up transponder; to dropping that transponder completely; to eliminating the need for WAAS; to changing the technical specifications; to providing early user benefits (both financial or via airspace priorities); to changing the mandatory equipage dates (both forward and backward); to withdrawing and rewriting the whole NPRM. And these are just sample arguments from respected user groups. Even traditional adversaries seemed to agree. According to AOPA, “The proposed rule is not acceptable in its current form,” largely echoing the opinion of the Air Transport Association, which commented, “The NPRM is materially deficient.” Bridging that gap more positively, NBAA’s 12 recommendations were described by one FAA insider as “refreshingly sensible.” But for the agency, devising widely acceptable solutions appears challenging, to say the least.