FAA Sets Policy for Operating Without ADS-B

 - April 2, 2019, 2:02 PM

The FAA issued a policy statement establishing the requirement for operators to obtain ATC authorizations to fly aircraft that are not equipped for ADS–B Out through ADS–B-mandated airspace beginning in January 2020. However, the policy makes it clear that obtaining authorizations is not guaranteed and could be difficult. 

Under the policy, the operator must make the request to ATC for an authorized deviation at least one hour before the proposed flight in ADS-B airspace. Requests are addressed on a “case-by- case basis” and ATC might not be able to grant authorizations for a variety of reasons, including workload, runway configurations, air traffic flows, and weather conditions.

What’s more, the FAA said it does not intend to divert ATC facility resources from other critical functions that directly support controllers performing their duties in order to prioritize and manage authorizations for operators of non-equipped aircraft. “As plans to divest radar begin to take effect, the authorization policy will necessarily evolve as accommodation of non-equipped aircraft in ADS–B Out airspace becomes more complicated.” Additionally, the FAA anticipates that the need to obtain authorizations “will quickly diminish over time as universal equipage grows.”

Consistent with that policy, the FAA also notes that it “will be difficult” for unscheduled operators conducting flights at capacity constrained airports (the major facilities in class B airspace) to obtain authorizations. “Unscheduled operators with a need to access this airspace on more than an occasional basis should equip with ADS–B Out to ensure no disruption to operations.”


Our online and real-time compliance database at https://adsb24.com shows that US fleets are on a good path to match the mandate, maybe with a few exceptions. However, foreign commerical carriers are far behind and will arrive in US airspace with non-compliant ADS-B versions (0 or 1). Foreign buisness jets are a tad more advanced when it comes to full compliance. It will be interesting to see how FAA will deal with it. A comprehensive status report will be out in a few weeks.