5,000 Business Aircraft To Miss ADS-B Deadline: Duncan Aviation


A major avionics shop says about 5,000 business aircraft will miss the Jan. 1 deadline to be equipped with ADS-B. Duncan Aviation, which has been closely monitoring equipage data, said in a report last week that with 16 weeks to go before the end of the year, 23 percent, or 3,384 business jets, don’t have the gear. “At this rate, we anticipate that at least 1,660 business jets will not be in compliance when the calendar flips to Jan. 1, 2020,” said Matt Nelson, manager of satellite operations for Duncan. The equipage issue for turboprops is more acute.

Duncan estimates 49 percent of the turboprop business aircraft fleet didn’t meet the mandate as of mid-September and there will be 3,800 barred from most controlled airspace when the ball drops. Shops will be busy in the final weeks before the deadline and Duncan says the turnaround is about 10 days for the average installation. Tic Toc.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. That’s on the low end with the ADS-B unit with its own WAAS source. One of the bizjets my company operates is so equipped. If you upgrade the FMS gps source to WAAS, price is double to triple that amount (or higher).

  2. The FMS source must be WAAS driven. Adding an external WAAS source that is not integrated with the FMS does not solve the problem. In many legacy aircraft, it is expensive to upgrade the FMS to a WAAS driven navigation source and then have the transponder, flight director, navigation source, and auto pilot communicating together. In many of those legacy systems, it is impossible to upgrade without making major changes in everything including the auto-pilot…adding up to high five figure/low six figure avionics upgrades in a 300-500K airframe to integrate all of these required changes.

    Since many of these airplane’s original type data certification requirements are based on certain FMS data coupled to specific navigators talking to specific autopilots now being changed to meet ADS-B compliance, you end up with an airplane that does not meet it’s original certification requirements. And to meet those original requirements, the ADS-B manufacturer will have to have an STC. And the costs and time to do that flow downhill to the aviation consumer. Combine that mess with the fact that most now workable ADS-B solutions did not exist, in many cases, until the last 12-18 months…there was not any ADS-B solutions even available for most of the 10 year period leading up to 2020 for these two class of airplanes. Airlines faced the same problem with solutions that did not exist until recently with many pre-wiring airplanes but no equipment because back-log of manufacturing.

    Just because a Garmin 345 works in many piston singles does not mean it will work in a turbine. Then to top it off, the avionics shops have an intense learning curve in trying to design, install, and integrate all of these various new combinations. And if they fail to pass the acceptance performance flight, they are being blamed for “jacking up prices” when you have to now figure out what is or not talking to each other during configuration of this older, old, and new avionics.

    Until recently, the vast majority of aircraft owners in the biz/jet/turbine class, many airlines, and even many avionics manufacturers thought they could either lobby the FAA or ignore the FAA forcing the FAA to extend the deadline by threatening lots of disruption to the flying public if the FAA does not extend the mandate ADS-B compliance date. But NexGen is based on ADS-B satellite driven data. With out ADS-B as the FAA envisioned, planned, and executed on…it would be another one big expensive government aerial AmTrak-like debacle. The FAA said the date was not negotiable. They stuck to that date…and everybody is scrambling because there is no other option.

    Either comply…or don’t fly. January 2nd should be a very interesting political day.

  3. “Adding an external WAAS source that is not integrated with the FMS does not solve the problem.” Actually, as I (poorly?) understand the rules, it does. ADS-B simply reports aircraft position. I know of no rule that says that the position as reported-to-ATC-and-other-aircraft has to be derived from the same GPS source as the one (or ten) sources that are delivering position information to the cockpit. A major conceptual flaw, IMWO. Perhaps the cognoscenti can enlighten me.

    “Just because a Garmin 345 works in many piston singles does not mean it will work in a turbine.” How does the little Garmin box know what kind of engine is pulling it around in the sky? In fact, why wouldn’t a little uAvionix tailBeacon be a legal solution? (See AvWeb.com/aviation-news/tailbeacon-gets-stc/)

    Larry: What do you know about this?

  4. I know it does because my company operates one Hawker 800 pro-line 21 so equipped. It has an ADS-B system that has its own WAAS source not connected to the FMS. It passed FAA pt135 conformity check. The FMS was not updated with a WAAS source. The previous owner had the install done before my company started operating it. The expense Jim H mentions is why this was done on this plane.

  5. None of these ADS-B installations are cookie cutter installations. First off, these airplanes fly regularly over 18,000 ft requiring 1090ES Mode S transponders…two of them. In both the pilot and co-pilot’s specifically designated view of the instrument panel, an annunciator light must be installed to alert of a potential transponder/ADS-B failure. So, the most basic ADS-B installation…with no changes to any part of the airplane/FMS/auto-pilot…is already a major panel upgrade to remove/replace the old transponders, add the new ones, and add the required warning lights. Most of, if not all, 1090ES installations with internal WAAS still needs a WAAS antenna installed for the internal WAAS to function. This means the shop has to now cut hole(s) in the pressure vessel for installation…meaning a portion of the interior plus pressurization checks to follow. The WAAS antenna cannot be located just any old,convenient place. There are specific structural areas to be located to be able to receive/transmit properly with structural support fabricated for the WAAS antenna while taking into consideration the proximity of existing avionics antennas old and new. Ever look at an average 20-40 year old King Air, Citation, Lear, or Hawker and note the number of antennas ( including WAAS antennas if equipped) on these airplanes. And even if there is already on board a WAAS GPS navigator source, there is no guarantee it’s antenna can be used for the ADS-B unit. None of this is the over-used but miss-understood phrase…plug-N-play.

    Surprisingly, many legacy turboprop and biz/jet airplanes do not have a WAAS navigator. So, ADS-B requires a WAAS source whether it is in the navigator or a stand alone ADS-B transponder with a self-contained unit. A WAAS upgrade for a 430/530 is $4000 alone. To get traffic and weather subscription free, one must have a dual band ADS-B IN installation that contains frequency 978 UAT and 1090ES ( required above 18,000ft) as traffic and weather is only broadcast on 978 UAT or received via an XM subscription if the airplane does not have dual band ADS-B IN capability. The folks in Europe are now realizing without 978 UAT, they are missing out on traffic and weather in the cockpit or pony up for XM.

    The most basic ADS-B package available for a turbine, with an available STC for installation, in a King Air is $17,000 plus installation. But not all of these “inexpensive” ADS-B offerings have an STC approved on all models of King Airs needing ADS-B compliance, for example. This places a lot of time and effort by an avionics shop to engineer an ADS-B installation, with an approved set of components for that model/serial number of the particular airplane with whatever existing avionics are in the airplane. Then you gotta figure out how you are going to re-do the panel to meet all the regulatory requirements for warning lights plus location of new trays for the transponders, or remote transponder installations in an old airplane. And in one’s shuffling of old equipment/avionics, it still has to function once again with the addition of the new, not interfere with flight controls, O2 systems, pass pressurization checks, invasion of static system checks, etc.

    The ADS-B manufactures also faced a problem of not only obtaining STC’s for the these turbines/bizjets, no one knew how many to build. No avionics shop would stock a bunch of ADS-B units when this class of airplanes were so reluctant to equip. Combined with the technology leap that happened in late 2017- present…no one knew what to build nor how many to build. While more cost effective solutions became available in the last 18 months, the shops now are booked full…and will be for another year minimum. While Duncan can install an ADS-B package in 10 days as an average…not every installation will be that fast meaning 20-30 day installation are not unusual. For many shops without their capability, manpower, and buying power, 4-6 weeks is normal. With 5,000 more airplanes to go, in addition to the large number of airliners not yet in compliance, January 2nd 2020 will be an interesting traveling day for business, charter, and airline passengers.