As of last month, 11,455, or 68 percent, of the 17,031 in-service turbine aircraft registered in the U.S. were ADS-B Out-compliant, according to flight-tracking and planning service provider FlightAware's new monthly report on ADS-B Out compliance levels. That's up sharply from October 2016, when just 24 percent, or 3,707 of the 15,557 aircraft in the U.S. turbine fleet, were compliant. The U.S. ADS-B Out deadline is after Dec. 31, 2019 and applies to any aircraft that will fly in ADS-B airspace, basically where transponders currently are required.
Among the lowest compliance rates, as expected, are older business turbines, but even some relatively modern aircraft are seeing slow rates of ADS-B Out upgrades. For example, only 120, or 57 percent, Eclipse 500s are equipped. Meanwhile, the Falcon 20 rate is 47 percent (29 aircraft).
The lowest number in the FlightAware data is the Gulfstream III at 31 percent (14 airplanes). There were 38, and also coincidentally 38 percent, compliant Learjet 31s. Quest Kodiak turboprop singles were at 49 percent, or 43 aircraft, perhaps reflecting that many of these are U.S. registered but based outside the country where ADS-B Out mandates are not as prevalent. Hawker 800s and 4000s are seeing low ADS-B Out uptake rates—57 percent/304 aircraft and 41 percent/20, respectively.
Compliance rates for later-model aircraft are all trending high, and this leads to questions about what is going to happen to older business turbines after January 1. The cost to upgrade some older aircraft is considered prohibitive when compared to the aircrafts’ value, and there is plenty of speculation that the mandate could result in some aircraft being relegated to the scrapyard. Yet there are ADS-B Out solutions available for almost all aircraft types, and there might be a rush to equip as the deadline approaches and owners realize that their aircraft are far less valuable without ADS-B Out.
The report details compliance by aircraft model, with data beginning in October 2016 and as of the latest report, current through February 2019. Data comes from FlightAware’s own terrestrial ADS-B receiver network.