FAA ADS-B Policy Does Not Lift Mandate, Groups Warn

 - April 14, 2019, 9:09 AM

Aviation groups are warning that the FAA’s recent policy statement facilitating a path for non-equipped aircraft to fly in ADS-B Out airspace beginning next year should not be considered a substitute for equipage. The FAA on April 1 released the policy statement outlining the possibility for obtaining authorized deviations for certain non-equipped flights in ADS-B Out airspace after the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline for ADS-B Out installation.

“These per-operation authorizations are not intended to support routine operations of non-equipped aircraft in airspace covered by the rule,” the agency had said in releasing the policy. Under the policy operators of non-equipped aircraft must request authorization at least one hour before their proposed flight and warned such authorization might not be available, depending on the circumstances.

“The policy is very clear: these per-flight authorizations should absolutely not be viewed as a backup option to ADS-B or justification for not equipping,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “Such authorizations are primarily intended for operators awaiting their scheduled ADS-B installation past the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline, or for pilots who infrequently operate in the affected airspace.”

GAMA added that FAA has made it clear that that non-equipped aircraft operating in ADS-B Out airspace without obtaining a preflight authorization will be in violation of the regulations and that the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline stands firm.

ADS-B authorizations may particularly be difficult to obtain in Class B airspace surrounding major airports. The agency is expected to develop a website in upcoming months for operators to submit authorization requests, Williams added, saying such authorization will not be available by calling ATC facilities or the FAA directly.

“The majority of the FAA’s guidance speaks to scheduled operators, but it also applies to Part 135 and Part 91,” she added. “The FAA’s message remains the same as before: if you plan to routinely fly in this airspace, you’d better plan to have ADS-B.”