Avionics Makers Pan ADS-B Proposal

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The Aircraft Electronics Association, which represents virtually all the companies that make and fix avionics, says the FAA’s proposed next-generation communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) system is more elaborate than it needs to be and wastes the money aircraft owners have already spent on their current gear. In a news release issued Tuesday, the day after the close of comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, AEA government affairs expert Ric Peri described the system envisioned as “ADS-B on steroids” and called for the agency to take a deep breath. “The FAA must develop a proposal utilizing an ‘evolutionary’ process that utilizes existing avionics to the maximum extent possible, rather than this stepped ‘revolutionary’ process of wholesale technology replacement of the entire CNS suite in general aviation aircraft,” Peri said. Among the AEA’s biggest beefs is that the rule doesn’t specify what the system will ultimately be. That, says Peri, means manufacturers don’t know what they should be building to have any assurance there will be a market for the products as the system is built out. And, of course, that leaves aircraft owners potentially paying big bucks for equipment that won’t work when the new system is fully engaged about 25 years from now, not to mention those who have already paid significantly for first-generation ADS-B gear. “The FAA’s proposal does not build upon the evolutionary investment made by thousands of aircraft owners and operators who purchased the first-generation ADS-B equipment,” he noted. “Rather, the FAA’s performance requirements have made the original ADS-B equipment obsolete with its revolutionary approach to NextGen.”