AOPA Recommends 10-Year Phase-In

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AOPA is a big supporter of ADS-B as long as it includes free weather and traffic information and the cost of the electronics is reasonable, AOPA's government affairs expert Andy Cebula told an "Industry Day" on ADS-B hosted by the FAA last week. "AOPA has worked on ADS-B for more than a decade, and we're convinced it will improve safety and utility for GA pilots and reduce costs for the FAA, if it is developed and implemented correctly," said Cebula. He said it's understood that ADS-B will eventually become the minimum equipment standard for flying in controlled airspace but, before that happens, AOPA wants a nationwide system to have been in place for 10 years before it becomes mandatory. AOPA is also calling on the FAA to guarantee that the wealth of information that a pilot can obtain through the system, like weather and traffic data, doesn't come at a price. The ADS-B system will be deployed and operated by a private contractor, and Cebula told the gathering, which undoubtedly included those hoping to build the system, that widespread acceptance will depend on the information flowing for free. "...the benefit is free weather and other data in the cockpit," he said. "We'll happily replace our transponders with ADS-B boxes -- if they're affordable." In-cockpit equipment is out of the price range of average GA owners and Cebula challenged the avionics manufacturers in attendance to get the costs down.