uAvionix has announced that its tailBeacon ADS-B Out solution has been accepted by the FAA for installation on rotorcraft. The company says it originally intended for tailBeacon installations on rotorcraft to be permitted when the product was certified, but held off due to questions regarding the need for ADS-B systems to provide a means to determine the air-ground status of rotorcraft. uAvionix reports that its Beacon products “employ unique algorithms for airplanes to determine this air/ground state, but doing so accurately for rotorcraft is more difficult.”
According to uAvionix, its questions arose in part from a potential conflict between Advisory Circular 20-165B (PDF), which interprets 14 CFR § 91.227 as requiring that ADS-B systems determine if aircraft—including rotorcraft—are on the ground or in the air and the TSO requirements, which say that ADS-B systems in rotorcraft should be set to airborne and that the ground state is typically unnecessary. uAvionix cited a 2016 FAA memorandum (PDF) on installation approval for ADS-B Out systems as a further source of confusion. Under the memo, ADS-B equipment like skyBeacon and tailBeacon can be installed on aircraft not included in the STC AML even across aircraft categories.
“What we are reporting today is that this is no longer a gray area,” said uAvionix COO Ryan Braun. “The FAA has determined that the proper behavior for a rotorcraft installation is as exhibited by tailBeacon.”