Significant numbers of business aircraft operators have made little or no progress in complying with key avionics mandates, according to new research commissioned by Honeywell Aerospace with data gathered from AIN readers. The survey identified the mandates for ADS-B out, 9FANS/PM-CPDLC datalink capability and FANS-1/A (North Atlantic region) as the most pressing concerns. It also asked operators to indicate the level of readiness for eight different mandates, which also included TCAS 7.1, cockpit voice recorder/datalink recording, underwater locating device, flight data recorder and Single European Sky datalink service/Link 2000.
In the case of FANS-1/A+, 38.4 percent said that they “haven’t given it much thought.” For 9FANS/PM-CPDLC, this percentage was 31.3 percent and for ADS-B it was 10.6 percent. Between 19 and 27 percent said they are “thinking about preparing” for these mandates, with an even spread of the rest either indicating that “compliance is planned or budgeted,” “compliance is a work in progress” or “compliance is complete.”
The next FANS 1/A deadline is for phase 2A in the first quarter of 2015. Under proposed mandates, phase 2B, which will cover the entire North Atlantic region between FL350 and FL 390 takes effect Dec. 7, 2017, followed by phase 2C covering the entire region above FL290 as of Jan. 30, 2020.
For Eurocontrol’s PM-CPDLC mandate, retrofitted equipment is required by Feb. 5, 2015. Under the a proposed mandate, only compliant and exempt aircraft will be able to fly above FL 285 as of early 2017.
The European Aviation Safety Agency’s deadline for forward fitting of ADS-B out capability in new aircraft falls in early 2015, while the retrofit deadline is at the end of 2017. FAA requires the equipment to be fitted on existing and new aircraft by Jan. 1, 2020.
Of the 365 responses received, 52.1 percent came from corporate flight department staff and 30.4 percent of respondents were flight department managers. Of the rest, 17.5 percent were aircraft owner/operators, 15.9 percent were with management/charter companies and the remainder coming from service centers, airlines and other groups. Individually, 22.5 percent of respondents were owner/operators.
“We were hoping to find out the level of understanding in the industry among operators [about the various mandates],” said Honeywell senior technical sales manager Dan Stockfisch. “Our understanding was that interest in the mandates has been gaining momentum but it’s clear that some operators are still not getting it [the need to comply].”
The survey results indicated to Honeywell that not as many operators as it had hoped are seeking to meet the mandated requirements ahead of the final deadlines. “The problem with waiting is that we then see a mad rush at the end to get equipped,” Stockfisch told AIN. “But the other issue is that operators aren’t gaining the advantage of using the new equipment. With ADS-B they get preferential treatment [in terms of air traffic management], saving fuel and time. The same is true of FANS.”
Honeywell sales teams are actively engaging with operators on mandate preparedness, offering assistance with factors such as provisional budget figures for installing equipment. The company is preparing a dedicated new website to summarize information about mandates, including the timeline for implementation.