Aerlex Law Group


A follow-up to Amanda Applegate’s report about ADS-B on April 26, 2017.
Read it on our website by clicking here.

One would hope that all aircraft owners and operators are by now well aware of the looming Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) deadline, January 1, 2020, which is now less than two years away. By that date, the majority of aircraft operating within the United States will be required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to have ADS-B Out capabilities. The penalty for ignoring this deadline? Aircraft lacking the ADS-B Out capabilities on New Year’s Day of 2020 will be grounded or severely limited in where and how they can fly, possibly for an extended period of time.

As a reminder, ADS–B is a satellite-based technology that enables an aircraft to determine its position relative to all other objects, including other aircraft, via continuous communications with a system of navigational satellites encircling the Earth; ADS-B “Out” is the avionics capability that broadcasts the aircraft’s relative position in the sky, allowing it to be tracked by both air traffic controllers and other aircraft. ADS-B is part of the next generation of digital navigational aids and enables controllers to locate aircraft with far greater precision than ground-based radar. Having ADS-B “In” capability is voluntary; however, ADS-B “Out” will be mandatory. In some countries, such as Australia, ADS-B Out is already a requirement and airplanes without it cannot legally fly in Australian airspace.

23 months might seem like plenty of time to complete the ADS-B Out upgrade for aircraft operating in the United States, but experts in the aviation industry point out the great disparity in the number of aircraft needing ADS-B installation and the availability of installation services to accommodate those aircraft. AIN reported on this issue in early December in an article headlined with a grim warning: “40% of U.S. Business Aircraft Fleet Won’t Meet ADS-B Out Deadline.” Quoting Duncan Aviation president Aaron Hilkeman’s presentation at the 2017 Corporate Jet Investor Miami conference, the article explained that the current rate of 1,758 installations per month for U.S.-based piston and turbine airplanes and helicopters would have to almost double to 3,390 per month in order to accommodate all the aircraft in need of the ADS-B Out upgrade.

So, if you have completed you ADS-B Out upgrade already, congratulations! If you have an upcoming appointment, well done! If not, we urge you not to wait any longer. Schedule your ADS-B Out upgrade immediately.

If you are contemplating the purchase of an aircraft, consider the status of your selected aircraft’s ADS-B Out upgrade. A completed installation is a bonus for the buyer. If the upgrade has not been completed, negotiate the ADS-B installation as part of your deal, or insist upon a reduction in the purchase price. If you plan to have some upgrades done to your new aircraft immediately following acquisition, include the ADS-B installation in those plans.

If you are an aircraft seller, a completed ADS-B upgrade adds a competitive and advantageous selling point to your plane’s specifications. And be warned: industry experts predict that pre-owned aircraft lacking the ADS-B Out capability will be difficult to sell after January 1, 2020.