Citing concerns that only a “small fraction” of U.S. aircraft operators are prepared for the FAA's Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B Out mandate, the U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General (OIG) will be conducting a review of equipage rates and plans for meeting that deadline. The House aviation subcommittee requested the audit that is now expected to get under way next month. It will have three primary objectives: determining equipage rates for ADS-B and other NextGen technologies, ascertaining reasons behind equipage decisions, and assessing the FAA’s and operators’ plans to meet the ADS-B Out deadline.
Implementation of NextGen is a complex undertaking that requires investments from both the FAA and airspace users for the full benefits to be realized, the DOT OIG acknowledged. The FAA has put the ADS-B ground infrastructure in place but, with the ADS-B deadline fast approaching, only 48,000 of the estimated 241,000 affected aircraft are equipped.
The joint investment is true not only for ADS-B, but also for systems such as Data Communications (DataComm) digitally linking controllers and pilots, the DOT OIG added. Besides putting the ADS-B ground infrastructure in place, the FAA has implemented the datalink technology at towers and is planning to implement DataComm at high-altitude facilities starting next year.