Garmin Transponders ADS-B Ready

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Thursday, Garmin announced that it received FAA TSO authorization for the GTX 330 and GTX 33 transponders, and says it now provides an industry first for general aviation ADS-B Out capability. The specific TSO-C166a authorization applies minimum standards for 1090 MHz ADS-B and TIS-B equipment. In English, that means the transponders can provide precise aircraft location information to both air traffic control and other ADS-B equipped aircraft operating in the vicinity. So, these units introduce to general and business aviation a product designed to comply with the FAA's "NextGen" ATC system requirements. The faster update rate of 1090 MHz "extended squitter" (ES) capability allows the transponders to provide more accurate information for "surveillance" of the aircraft while in operation allowing for improved collision avoidance. "Garmin will offer the ES technology as a retrofit upgrade option for GTX 330 and GTX 33's already in the field" and as an option on newly purchased units. The company did not provide pricing information in its news release. The GTX 330 is a solid-state, Mode S transponder with TIS data link functionality capable of displaying traffic information on the Garmin GNS 430W/530W series. It currently sells for roughly $3,500.

The FAA has proposed a mandate that all aircraft be capable of providing ADS-B Out information by Jan. 1, 2020. AOPA has requested the FAA modify its proposal in the interests of realistic pricing, stating that "the cost of ADS-B equipment currently outweighs the proposed benefits to GA." With the improved services to general aviation and lowered cost of equipment, AOPA hopes general aviation pilots will opt in to participation in ADS-B when the benefits become compelling and affordable.

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Last year, AVweb rode along with then-FAA Administrator Marion Blakey for an early explanation of the benefits of ADS-B. Watch the video again to see how far ... or not ... we've come.