FAA Seeks Data On ADS-B Failures

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The FAA has requested information from pilots and maintenance personnel in connection with reported failures of the FreeFlight Systems FDL-987-XVR ADS-B transceiver. The FAA is seeking user feedback and is not proposing ameliorative action yet.

According to the FAA, “We have received reports of latent failures of FreeFlight model FDL-978-XVR ADS-B units. Troubleshooting determined that some units failed completely, while other units failed intermittently. Attempts to update the software and change any unit settings failed, as most parameters were ‘greyed out’ and unable to be changed. Additionally, the failed units gave no indication of failure to the pilot. This failure will result in loss of ability to see airspace traffic on the ADS-B display, or be seen by other aircraft on their ADS-B display, which may reduce the capability of the airplane or the ability of the crew to cope with adverse operating conditions to the extent that there may be a significant reduction in safety margins or functional capabilities.”

Tim Taylor, president and CEO of FreeFlight Systems, in a statement said, “We are not aware of any technical issues with these systems. FreeFlight Systems is working with the FAA to understand the basis of their expressed concern.”

Users with information to share are being asked to contact FAA Aerospace Engineer Jacob Fitch with the model, serial number and nature of malfunction.

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