GAMA: Fixed-wing on Pace, Rotorcraft Lag on ADS-B

 - February 21, 2019, 11:53 AM

As the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline approaches for ADS-B Out equipage in the U.S., rotorcraft remain an area of concern for the industry, with just 30 percent of this fleet now equipped. But General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce yesterday expressed more optimism about the ability of the fixed-wing side to meet the mandate.

As of February 1, more than 73,000 U.S.-registered aircraft were equipped out of a target of 100,000 that fly in the controlled airspace where ADS-B will be required, according to GAMA. More than half of the piston side is now equipped, Bunce reported yesterday during GAMA’s annual State of the Industry event, and are continuing to equip at a rate of about 1,000 aircraft a month. This was comparable to equipage rates when transponders were required. “We’re tracking very well,” he said.

Turboprops have remained on track, while business jets also have picked up the pace. He estimated that 63 percent of business jets that fly in the system are equipped and equipage is continuing at a rate of about 500 aircraft a month, he said, adding that come 2020, “we will be in good shape.”

The worry spot remains the rotorcraft segment, he said, noting that equipage is occurring at about 100 per month. GAMA, working with Helicopter Association International, is planning a big push next month at Heli-Expo to impress upon operators the need to equip.

While more optimistic about the fixed-wing side, Bunce also expressed the belief that operators will still be equipping after the deadline.

David Paddock, senior v-p for U.S. regional operations for Jet Aviation, who spoke on a panel during the State of the Industry event, said that installations have definitely picked up the pace, but reiterated warnings about shop availability as time draws closer to the deadline. As for Jet Aviation’s managed fleet, he said upwards of 80 percent to 90 percent is now equipped and it will be 100 percent by year-end.