The FAA has issued an interim final rule that exempts certain government operations from the requirement that all aircraft equipped with ADS–B Out must transmit at all times. This rulemaking permits removing the continuous transmission requirement for “sensitive operations conducted by federal, state, and local government entities in matters of national defense, homeland security, intelligence, and law enforcement.”
According to the FAA, these entities need the ability to terminate the transmission signal when conducting sensitive missions that could be compromised by transmitting real-time identification and positional flight information over ADS–B. Additionally, the FAA is aware of some instances where operating a transponder or transmitting ADS–B Out would jeopardize the safe execution of ATC functions.
“For example, when aircraft are conducting formation flights, the close proximity of the aircraft to each other causes distracting audio and visual alerts on a controller’s display,” the agency said. “Controllers are able to silence these alerts, but are still subject to multiple, overlapping information elements on the controller’s display that make it difficult to discern information.”
This rule will give the FAA the necessary flexibility to adjust ATC procedures to accommodate sensitive government missions and otherwise ensure the safe execution of air traffic control functions without a negative effect on users. Comments on this interim final rule must be received on or before September 16.