With the deadline for the FAA’s ADS-B equipage mandate now less than a year away, HAI president and CEO Matt Zuccaro is concerned about the rotorcraft industry’s adoption rate for the technology. He noted a recent report issued by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association that analyzed the equipage rates among the aviation segments and found the rotorcraft segment trailing. According to GAMA, just 30 percent of the U.S. helicopter fleet was equipped with ADS-B as of last month.
“I don’t see the rate of equipage that we would have liked,” Zuccaro told AIN this week at Heli-Expo. "There’s a couple of things that I think people have misconceptions on.” He explained that the FAA has made it clear that there will be no extension to its mandate deadline of Jan. 1, 2020. “So for all those out there, hoping they will extend it, you had better go to Plan B.”
A key issue for those who have delayed their installations is whether there will be enough equipment ready and technicians to install it in time to meet the deadline. “It’s like everybody is piling up against the wall that they are facing, and somebody is going to find out, ‘No, you can’t get it by the deadline, we don’t have that many people, and we don’t have the equipment in the shop to put it in,'” the HAI leader said.
Zuccaro noted that in most cases, advances in products have dramatically reduced the cost of equipage since the mandate was announced, making the installation much more affordable on both the general aviation and commercial sides. “So if I was still operating, I would think long and hard about that decision to delay,” he said. “You are going to need it whether you like it or not, so I would say equip.”