AEA: ADS-B Via STC For GA Is DOA
FAA guidelines that require ADS-B equipment to be installed under the supplemental type certificate (STC) process will derail efforts to provide low-cost solutions for general aviation aircraft, the Aircraft Electronics Association said this week. The FAA policy, stated in a memo (PDF) sent out on Aug. 30, would "stall early equipage, delay early implementation, and, at the extreme, cause the failure of ADS-B implementation all together," AEA said in an Oct. 4 letter (PDF) to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. STC rules would at least double the cost of installing a single ADS-B system in a business or corporate aircraft, and for light GA aircraft, the costs would increase by as much as 700 percent, the AEA said. The FAA said the STC installation rules may relax over time, but the AEA says that will only discourage the adoption of ADS-B avionics by GA owners.
"How do we encourage an early [adopter] to commit to an installation with a 700 percent premium that would likely take months to complete, instead of choosing to delay equipage until some later date, knowing it will reduce the owner's initial investment from $35,000 for a required STC installation to more of an industry palatable and promised $4,500 for a follow-on installation?" asks the AEA in the letter to Babbitt. "We believe the consequences of the August 30, 2010, memorandum will have a fatal effect on the first phase of your FAA Flight Plan towards the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Your immediate intervention is needed to limit the damage caused by this policy," the AEA letter concludes. The FAA said recently that ADS-B will be fully operational in the U.S. by 2013. By 2020, aircraft operating in controlled airspace will be required to have ADS-B-out capability to announce their position and identification. Optional ADS-B-in will provide cockpit displays of traffic and weather.