FreeFlight Systems CEO Tim Taylor debunked the “myth” that aircraft operators delaying installation of ADS-B avionics would be able to purchase lower-cost units with more features later on. Testifying yesterday afternoon on behalf of GAMA at a U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee hearing about NextGen 2020 equipment mandates for general aviation, Taylor noted that the FAA set the ADS-B standards way in advance and that the functionality of an ADS-B unit bought today will be the same as that of an ADS-B unit bought on Jan. 1, 2020–the deadline for operators to equip with ADS-B out.
He also said that–to offer a certified system based on proven, robust technology–the $4,000 ADS-B in/out offered by FreeFlight uses a “2003 vintage” GPS Waas chip that will not change because certification costs of a replacement would be excessive, and that the unit’s price is already at “rock bottom,” meaning it can’t be further lowered.
Taylor also batted down operator complaints that ADS-B offers them no immediate benefits. In fact, after Bob Hepp, owner of Aviation Adventures flight schools who testified at the hearing on behalf of AOPA, complained of ADS-B’s cost and lack of benefits, Taylor rebutted that Hepp’s flight school would see immediate benefits from ADS-B in/out in the form of in-cockpit weather, ability to track the fleet assets via ADS-B and–as more aircraft equip–in-cockpit display of traffic.