As the ball gets ready to drop on the ADS-B mandate, five owners of a stock 1946 Luscombe are asking for an exemption that would allow them to turn off the ADS-B when they’re outside mandated airspace. The plane is based at busy El Paso Airport and must be able to operate in Class C airspace and it does so now with a battery-powered radio and transponder. To conserve battery power and make sure it’s available when they return to El Paso, the owners turn off the transmitters when they’re out of the zone. The new rules say ADS-B Out must operate continuously regardless of the airspace requirements and the Luscombe owners say that’s not practical for them.
“Right now we can’t equip, because it’s going to cause us to be noncompliant at some point—when the battery dies, or we turn off the [ADS-B] switch,” Jim Ivey, one of the owners, told AOPA. We have decades of experience with a Mode C transponder in the panel; it just comes down to that ‘always on.’” All of the owners have other aircraft but the Luscombe is their fun flyer and the one they use for Young Eagles flights and social events. “We feel like we’re being forced to move the airplane to another airport or sell it,” Ivey said.