It has been almost two-and-a-half years since the FAA issued “Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS–B) Out Performance Requirements to Support Air Traffic Control (ATC) Service.” The final rule sets forth the requirements for use of ADS-B in the National Airspace System and mandates compliance by Jan. 1, 2020. Throughout the industry there have been complaints of lack of equipment and high costs. When coupled with a deadline that was 10 years away the reaction of operators might best be characterized as wait-and-see, and that worries Tim Taylor, CEO of FreeFlight Systems.
“Equipping aircraft with ADS-B is no longer an equipment availability issue or a cost issue,” Taylor told AIN, saying the equipment is readily available and the cost, at least for light aircraft, is in the $7,500 range (installed).
“The issue is now capacity. We estimate that approximately 225,000 aircraft need to be equipped with ADS-B. If we break that down to 1,820 working days, the industry would need to start equipping 124 aircraft per day starting January 1 next year. We have 150 FreeFlight dealers trained to install our Rangr ADS-B line of systems and we’re prepared to meet the challenge, but all this assumes operators take [the deadline] seriously and get the work done.”
If operators don’t step up and get the work done early, Taylor emphasizes, there will be a massive backlog demand and not only will they be unable to get the installation done in time but the FAA will not have sufficient inspectors to handle the workload. “In my conversations with the FAA, the agency has been adamant about not extending the deadline. Its position so far has been that it gave the industry a 10-year envelope and that’s plenty of time.”