While the FAA mandate to install ADS-B out equipment for aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by Jan. 1, 2020 is more than six years away, aircraft operating in some countries’ airspace must be compliant starting this December. Avionics manufacturers are ready with equipment to meet the mandates and avionics shops and aircraft manufacturers are working on supplemental type certificates (STCs) to smooth the path for upgrades in many business jet types.
According to Universal Weather & Aviation, beginning December 12 Australia is requiring ADS-B out for all aircraft at and above FL290 within 12 nm of Australia’s landmass. Hong Kong begins requiring ADS-B on the same date for airways L642 and M771 at and above FL290 and from Dec. 31, 2014, in all Hong Kong airspace at and above FL290. In Singapore and Vietnam certain airways at and above FL290 require ADS-B beginning December 12. Other Asian airspace subject to ADS-B requirements includes Indonesia (effective December 12 at or above FL290), according to Pat Dunn, NBAA IOC regional lead for Asia, who gave a presentation on this subject at the International Operators Conference in March. Europe will require ADS-B by Jan. 8, 2015, for new aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds or with a max cruise speed of more than 250 ktas and for older aircraft by Dec. 7, 2017.
U.S. operators that plan to fly in this airspace should also be aware that some countries will require operators to carry approval for ADS-B operations outside U.S. airspace. Depending on the type of operation, this could be either per FAA Operations Specification (OpSpec), Management Specification (MSpec) or Letter of Authorization (LOA) paragraph A353. The FAA lists the A353 requirements of various countries in InFO 13009, which can be found by searching the FAA’s inFO website. Hong Kong and Singapore are among the territories requiring A353 approval. Canada will require such approval, too, but only for ADS-B-equipped operators that wish to take advantage of special capabilities offered in certain airspace, including the Gander Oceanic Control Area.
The above, currently, represent the benefits of installing ADS-B out equipment without too much delay. “If you’re an international guy and traveling all over the world, you’re going to be hit with ADS-B out mandates in other areas far sooner than you will [in the U.S.],” said Paul Damschen, manager of airworthiness and flight operations at Universal Avionics. When the U.S. Jan. 1, 2020 mandate takes effect, all aircraft flying in Class A, B and C airspace will require ADS-B out capability. This displays accurate identification, position, altitude, velocity and other information on ground-based surveillance equipment and provides traffic information for aircraft equipped for ADS-B in. All this is done automatically and without radar, making possible surveillance of aircraft in many areas not covered by radar.
STC’ing ADS-B Equipment
ADS-B out equipment installed in the aircraft includes an extended-squitter mode-S transponder (for aircraft flying in Class A airspace), failure annunciation and a TSO-C146c-compliant FMS, according to a white paper about ADS-B published by Universal Avionics. The transponder must meet DO-260B minimum performance standards.
A key factor for any ADS-B out installation is position information, which must be provided by a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) sensor that meets TSO-146c, according to Damschen. For most business jets, this means that the FMS must be relatively up-to-date, with satellite-based augmentation system capability. Universal’s “W” or Waas-capable FMSs with the latest 1000.7/1100.7 software meet this requirement and also allow operators to shoot LPV approaches, which now exceed the number of ILS approaches.
There is more to the ADS-B out mandate than upgrading the FMS, however. “You have to look at it from a systemic perspective,” Damschen explained, “because [the FMS] is an important piece of the pie, but you’re going to have to get a new extended-squitter transponder, and more than likely there’s an STC effort involved.”
Note well: the FAA has decided that field approvals will not be allowed for installation of ADS-B out equipment.
In many cases, especially with later-model aircraft, manufacturers are developing STCs and will issue service bulletins for ADS-B out upgrades. “There are many other airframes out there that will just have to go it alone,” he said, and avionics shops will need to step up with their own STCs. “Part of the problem is that you have to stipulate all the equipment that’s feeding data into the transponder, so you have to stipulate what transponder you’ve got, the navigation sensor, and you’ve got to look at what type of air-data device is feeding data to the transponder. All these things that feed into the transponder have to be covered under the STC. There’s enough variation out there that I don’t think OEMs are going to be able to cover the majority of configurations.”
Damschen sees some good news in that the FAA has released a new advisory circular that paves the way for approved model list (AML) STCs for aircraft certified under any FAR part, not just Part 23. “[This situation] is a good argument for AML STCs covering multiple types and configurations,” he said.
ADS-B out is already available on Honeywell Primus Epic-equipped aircraft, and many with Primus 1000/2000 systems are due for completion by year-end. Other aircraft (some Citations and Hawkers among them) will depend on the aircraft manufacturer, so operators will have to ask their manufacturer for more information.
Pro Line II-, 4- and 21-equipped aircraft will be capable of ADS-B out if the Rockwell Collins TDR-94D transponder is installed. Rockwell Collins is working on DO-260B technical standard order (TSO) qualification for the TDR-94D and expects to receive it “in the coming months.” Rockwell Collins is also pursuing DO-260B approval for the TSS-4100 ADS-B/Tcas traffic surveillance system installed on Pro Line Fusion-equipped aircraft.
ACSS, the joint venture between Thales and L-3 Avionics, also manufactures DO-260B-compliant transponders, and these are available now. ACSS has delivered more than 100 XS-950 transponders and introduced the new NXT-600 and NXT-800 DO-260B transponders in June.
For smaller non-FMS-equipped aircraft that fly in Class A airspace, ADS-B out solutions will include a Waas GPS system combined with an extended-squitter mode-S transponder. FreeFlight Systems and Garmin offer one such system, which includes FreeFlight’s 1201 Waas/GPS and Garmin’s GTX 330 1090ES transponder. According to FreeFlight, the “TSO-certified 1201 Waas/GPS sensor meets ADS-B and RNP accuracy, integrity and availability requirements worldwide” and “it also supports oceanic and domestic, en route, terminal, non-precision approach and departure operations.”
Now that there are other ADS-B mandates outside the U.S., operators might not want to put off installing ADS-B out equipment. There is concern in the industry and at the FAA that operators will wait until the last minute, causing a traffic jam at avionics shops.
“One of the reasons we put a company position together through the white paper was to clarify what’s out there and to tell people here’s your best potential solution,” Damschen explained. “The tendency for most people is the same as with RVSM, which is, ‘I’m not going to worry about it until I have to do something.’ By that time it’s going to be too late.”