ADS-B Rule: Big Bucks, Paltry Benefit

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The subhead on page 110 of 149 says it all: "General Aviation: High Equipage Costs With Little Benefit." The FAA has made the rule on ADS-B out official. I don't know what I was hoping for, but somehow I'm still disappointed.

I'm not against the equipage to ADS-B. I'll even agree with the FAA who said, "The FAA fully acknowledges that the general aviation community will incur significant costs from this rule. However, this must be balanced against the foundation this capability provides in moving toward the NextGen infrastructure and benefits from its overall usage." Fine. We rarely fly into the major airports and airspace where the ADS-B benefit will be greatest, but we fly near enough that we have to be in the picture.

But what little relief or gain we could have hoped for seems to have been dropped. Free weather and traffic information? Not so fast. First off, the FAA has only defined ADS-B out requirements. This is how ATC sees you. They have yet to officially define the ADS-in, so manufactures have little motivation to really invest in complete solutions just yet.

But the rule does have some sway on those solutions. There are two parallel ADS-B systems, the UAT solution and the 1090ES solution. Only the UAT provides traffic and weather; the 1090ES just does traffic. But the new rule requires everyone above 18,000 feet use the 1090ES system. That's not just jets. Got a turbo Cirrus SR22? You must use 1090ES. This makes developing cheaper UAT systems (weather + traffic) for GA even less likely. The FAA noted that aircraft could equip with both systems of course. For an extra $10K? I think not. Look for stand-alone systems for ADS-B weather that try and compete with satellite weather receivers but have no impact on your ADS-B compliance.

But ADS-B compliance could at least replace your transponder, right? No, you'll have to have both. The time-honored transponder is part of the backup strategy should the new system break down.

In fact, if you want a simple way to think about how this is going to look from the GA perspective, think about it as getting a second, really-expensive transponder. Because, from a GA perspective, that's what this is. Minimum compliance will be what this rule has defined: ADS-B out. That means ATC can see you (like a transponder) but with greater accuracy. Pay more and you can get ADS-B in with traffic data. Sort of like a transponder that gives you TIS-B traffic today, but (presumably) of greater accuracy and without false alarms from your own radar shadow.

How much will this cost? That's still not completely clear because there will be some cost dropping with competition, but it'll be slower to evolve with the ADS-B in rule still incomplete. It won't be less than several thousand dollars though, unless you already have some equipment that can be upgraded or used.

This makes me envision an understandable procrastination resulting in a last-minute rush to install systems starting in, say, late 2018, a year before the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline. I'll bet now that anyone trying to buy the hardware or find a shop to install it about then will be on a long waiting list.

There's another storm on the horizon. I'm no radio-frequency expert, but I've asked several folks who are about the issue of frequency congestion on the 1090 Mhz spectrum. It's used by ADS-B, transponders, active traffic systems, TCAS and FAA radar. The answers have ranged from "it won't be a problem" to descriptions including words like "meltdown" and "catastrophe."

The rulemaking says this about it: "The FAA conducted a study to assess 1090 MHz frequency congestion in the future air traffic environment. The FAA is analyzing alternatives and will enact the necessary mitigations to reduce the 1090 MHz frequency congestion risk for ADS–B, TCAS, and SSR, while enabling ranges appropriate for many ADS–B In applications through 2035."

Right. Somehow I don't find that reassuring, especially if there's a rush to comply at the eleventh hour and GA's frequency usage skyrockets. Maybe the FAA is just hoping not that many of us will still be flying by then.

As I said earlier, I don't know what I was hoping for, but I know I'm disappointed.

Comments (56)

So as I understand, if you fly below 18,000 feet (VFR of IFR), you won’t be required to be ADS-B “out” or “in” equipped? I was wondering, with the current mode C transponder, will GPS units that can interface with a Zaon PCAS be able to, or need to, use the ADS-B “in“system, or would that configuration also require an aircraft to be 1090ES (transponder) equipped? Or simply, isn’t a Zaon PCAS/GPS already a “poor man’s” ADS-B “IN”?

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | May 31, 2010 10:43 AM    Report this comment

I have a new name for ADS-B
Automatic "Disappointment" Surveillance - Broadcast

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | May 31, 2010 11:43 AM    Report this comment

Reading the Final Rule - I see one requirement that will make most of us comply - they are going to publish a list of airports, assumably all the ones with Class B airspaces - and will require us to equip within 30 miles of these aiports. The intent is clearly to duplicate the mode C veils already in place. So: all of the SF Bay Area, all of the LA basin etc etc. Damn.

I see no benefit whatsoever to me from this, so will be looking out to equip AS CHEAPLY AS POSSIBLE.

Since ADS-B is defined to use 1090MHz, the same transmitter can be used as the transponder. I predict that one of the usual suspects will come out with a single transponder that does both, and will capture this market. The only hard thing I see about that is that the ADS-B part of it needs a GPS. There are a couple of ways to attack this:
* There are GPS modules available now at low cost. They are EXTREMELY sensitive and would probably work just fine buried under a plastic glareshield. I have seen them get good lock inside a steel hangar! The problem with this concept would be getting them approved. They have their own CPUs and their own software, which would have to be validated.
* Another possibility would be a dual-use transponder with a feed from an external GPS. This would be ideal for Garmin, who has a large installed base of GNS430's and GNS530's. These already have validated software.

Posted by: JEROME KAIDOR | May 31, 2010 12:13 PM    Report this comment

In a nut shell, quoting the regulation:
1. Airspace
This final rule prescribes ADS-B Out performance requirements for
all aircraft operating in Class A, B, and C airspace within the NAS;
above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or
Class C airspace area up to 10,000 feet mean sea level (MSL); and Class
E airspace areas at or above 10,000 feet MSL over the 48 contiguous
United States and the District of Columbia, excluding the airspace at
and below 2,500 feet above the surface.
The rule also requires that aircraft meet these performance
requirements in the airspace within 30 nautical miles (NM) of certain
identified airports \8\ that are among the nation's busiest (based on
annual passenger enplanements, annual airport operations count, and
operational complexity) from the surface up to 10,000 feet MSL. In
addition, the rule requires that aircraft meet ADS-B Out performance
requirements to operate in Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico at
and above 3,000 feet MSL within 12 NM of the coastline of the United
So when ever in Class E Airspace above 10,000 ft you must have it.... ( 2,500 feet agl excluded)
So how are they going to see someone that desires to break altitude restrictions and fly with no transponder or the new ABS-D installed?

Posted by: Rich Cutter | May 31, 2010 12:21 PM    Report this comment

Adding to Greg Mortons comments: No! PCAS will not suffice! In fact, if an aircraft within Mode-C does not have GPS/WAAS with moving map, visual weather and and it must also be able to be interfaced with ADS-B out equipment, that aircraft must be equipped with those components. Not all handhelds are compliable. In fact, It's big bucks for the small aircraft owner that doesn't need it! PCAS is great as I have one and can see multiple aircraft up to 6 miles away (1 mile beyond its advertised capability) I use an external Commant antennae and it works great. Sooooo, they - the FAA want you and all within Mode-C to re-equip your plane for big bucks and wasted profits to those whom seem to want an extra summer vacation fishing in Alaska! So that way, somebody can say "I fixed it". Also, in time to the contrare of what all believe, the lobbyists to the FAA want NDB's shut down (no surprise), VOR's shut down, and only aircraft that are equipped with at least an ILS CAT II system. Loran was the cheapest most economical backup there WAS. This is no joke. The idea is to rid GA (non- instrument rated equiped aircraft completely away from all controlled airspaces including Delta. They just haven't figured out what to do with OshKosh yet! It's coming; bank on it! Hope to win the lotto! :-)
Going to the moon in Jules Verne books was far fetched also, get it?

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | May 31, 2010 12:29 PM    Report this comment

Jeff, you didn't read the rest of the paragraph for the heading you mentioned. Things actually got cheaper for GA when "antenna diversity" was dropped. Granted, it's not a benfit (it doesn't seem that way until you need it), but enhanced search-and-rescue may save someone's rump.

This rule sets the minimum ADS-B "out" requirements for what is, in effect, a new transponder. The FAA is giving us a choice: The cheapskates among the GA fleet can equip with the bare-bones minimum "out" requirements to minimize costs, e.g., upgrade the GTX330 to the 1090 ES ADS-B "out" for $1600 and they're good to go.

In 10 years I'm sure someone will figure out a way to get both "in" and "out" in a cheaper package. Everyone has their undies in a twist because the only units out there right now are the Garmin GDL90 and GTS800/GTX330ES. That's their only reference point. Comptition will get things cheaper.


Posted by: David Rosing | May 31, 2010 1:21 PM    Report this comment

I have had Garmin's GTX-330 for a few years now. Last year I upgraded it to 1090-ES. Zero benefit for me. But if you already have a GTX-330, it's not that expensive ($1200 plus labor). No need for any extra boxes. Just two extra wires going FROM the GNS-430 TO the GTX-330.

Posted by: Marc Clemente | May 31, 2010 1:24 PM    Report this comment

I did read earlier about the same as mode C aspect, but forgot. Could be the venom from the FAA to bring the end to aviation as we've known it! (You know they do want us GONE!) Yea, let's enact new regulations and requirements to “make it safer”, when really the safety will come from less of us affording to use the system and allowing the airlines to have to all to themselves. Just one problem, a lot of these airline pilots started in small (affordable) singles, a thing of the past? There must be a way to have some type of amendment regarding the 30 nm veil that affects so many (private) light aircraft. Don’t they, or maybe they do, understand ALL that will be impacted by ADS-B? This will include every existing, as well as new, flight school aircraft. Got one on leaseback? Good luck! It’s just another nail in the (aviation) coffin, for all of us. But it doesn’t have to be too late. Remember the outcry regarding “user Fees”, we need the same tenacious approach here. AOPA, EAA, please continue, along with all of us…SPEAK OUT and SPEAK LOUD!! This does not have to be over. As I remember…”rules were made to be changed”, or at least amended.

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | May 31, 2010 1:35 PM    Report this comment

OK Greg! Thats two of us so far out of 600,000+ pilots whom support our passion for flight. Mind now, there are those of some majority who fly for nessesity and could careless about GA aviation itself.

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | May 31, 2010 1:41 PM    Report this comment

Yes, that is true Joseph. And I’ll bet some of those flying out of necessity will also be financially affected by ADS-B too. Now, we only have 599,998 to go! “I Think I can…I think I can”... :)

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | May 31, 2010 2:02 PM    Report this comment

It seems to me that there is a huge focus on how ADS-B will cost a ton and provide no value. Sadly, this seems partially driven by the avionics industry. With UAT technology that should be about 3k installed you will get excellent traffic coverage (especially if most choose to have a UAT on board) as well as free weather. Of course, some large avionics manufacturers think that is a bad idea since they can no longer charge 10k+ for a TAS and 3k+ for sat weather (not to mention the nice monthly subscription they will miss). Is ADS-B perfect? No. Several flaws. And getting a final ADS-B in spec will be crucial. Is it horribly expensive? No. In fact, if you weigh the benefits ($13k at least, plus subscription) against the cost (~3k and no subscription required) it is a pretty good deal.

Posted by: NEAL A DILLMAN | May 31, 2010 2:08 PM    Report this comment

Ok, right now I have a mode C Xponder and if it matters, a portable GPS that is not PCAS friendly. Without current equipment that can be upgraded to ADS-B out or in, does someone have an idea what it will cost (on the cheap) for a light aircraft owner to comply with both ADS-B out and in? Would it be possible for Garmin 396/496/696 or other portables, to work with an uplink cable with the (Garmin?) 1090ES? The manufactures of 1090ES unit would need to have a connection plug along with needed mods for the Garmin uplink cable. I would think Garmin would want their portable units to work with 1090ES, just as they do with the Zaon PCAS XRX. Gee, do you think the ADS-B compliance will create more opportunities for Garmin and possibly Zaon???

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | May 31, 2010 3:05 PM    Report this comment

Here's the real deal. The $3k is just for the transmitter and maybe the antennae. No labor, no IFR certified GPS/WASS and I am most likely forgetting something due to? Myself, I am certified to install whatever the FAA requires on any aircrat, that's right, any aircraft! So the cost of labor which can exceed the ENTIRE system itself exceeeds the little benefit that it offers. What the issue is, is money for something. Even though it is early and not that early, most will see that extensive expenditures for what one receives and the safety factor is far out of touch of the aviation community as whole. This is profit and beuraucrats at its best and everybody is afraid to speak the real safety issue. OH God, don't tell us its the Hudson thing!
No Bravo aircraft could care less whats beneath them, only if they can get to altitude fast enough. If they deny that, they need to retire!

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | May 31, 2010 3:17 PM    Report this comment

First, let me clarify that I agree wholeheartedly that the EAA and AOPA are doing the right thing in calling foul on the implementation costs. For some (myself included) spending $3k for a 13k benefit seems OK. But for a large percentage of GA, the equipage will get them no benefits without some upgrades. I do expect the 3k will include the WAAS GPS and antenna (see navworx as an example) -- not the labor (as pointed out). But ADS-B is not inherently "evil". AOPA originally supported ADS-B because of the significant benefits, and I think they would do so again if reasonable concessions are made by the FAA.

Posted by: NEAL A DILLMAN | May 31, 2010 3:38 PM    Report this comment

I suspect to comply from scratch, with both out and in capabilities including a Garmin GTX330? + antenna and installation and a portable PCAS capable GPS (496), it will cost between $5,500 and $6,500, on the cheap, if it can be done with a portable 496. And what if a new encoder is required? Am I close? Prices may come down, but not before the mandatory compliance date.

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | May 31, 2010 4:01 PM    Report this comment

Everybody is missing the issue. Its expenditure for nothing! If there are pilots out there that are not flying "Eyes out the Window" they need to have their certs jerked unless its IFR. Bravo could care less about low level aircraft in VFR. The public could care less about a two or four seater going down including fatalites, again no kidding! They sure don't care about everybody killing each other driving drunk or even straight - they just accept it and allow it :-) No kidding! This is about big bucks in Mode-C for low level altitude flyers in which no one cares about. Sorry folks, the real deal has to be expressed. This topic will become extremely heated in 2015-16 unless common sense prevails. it's just getting started. Here's the best part - there's no stats. and what little stats there are, they are paltry.

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | May 31, 2010 4:15 PM    Report this comment

C'mon guys - who is kidding who ? Our current President sat in the Illinois State Legisature when Meigs Field was assisinated. Look it up - also look up who helped plan the attack on Meigs by the City Of Chicago ? Hint - Chicago City Planning Commission-a certain lady named M. Obama was on board with that.

But let's not waste our time blaming the current administration for wanting to terminate general aviation for the middle class - this has been going on for some time.

And dont just blame the Democrat Party. A certain Senator from my home state of Arizona has been advocating that we give up our free GPS, and adopt the EU standard (which provides for high user fees and greater cost for the equipment).

REALLY want to know what's coming ? Talk to someone who (wishes they could) fly light aircraft in the EU.

Posted by: Peter Hartmann | May 31, 2010 5:12 PM    Report this comment

I think somebody asked if it affected VFR aircraft. I don't believe I saw an answer, other than class B&C airspace. What about those that have aircraft with no electrical systems? Will they need to get ADS-B? If the FAA keeps radar at these locations they should allow IFR/VFR traffic without ADS (but with XPDR). If the radar is gone then the ADS-B requirement makes more sense. Sounds like they're not sure it will work.

Some mentioned the possible use of handhelds for ADS-B. Are you kidding? Since when has the FAA allowed handhelds for anything but situational awareness. They won't allow it unless it's certifed (read panel mount with expensive installation). Why are folks guessing $5500? What does an installed GNS-430, xpdr, installation cost now? I would think closer to $20K. Class C airspace and VFR should be excluded. C is not that busy; and for VFR you're supposed to look outside and watch where you're going. What a concept! GA's definitely getting squeezed on this one.

Posted by: JIM DUNN | May 31, 2010 6:51 PM    Report this comment

Peter Harmann...your goofy politics is showing. Neither Obama closed Meigs. That was done in the middle of the night by a crimial named Daley. When you spew out your goofy politics...all you do is muddy the water, slander folks who don't deserve it, and shift the blame away from the guy who really did it. He doesn't deserve that kind of relief from his crime.

Posted by: George Horn | May 31, 2010 7:00 PM    Report this comment

Ok! Talk city wide poliotics - you rtalking orginized favors. We'll leave it at that; end of story. The story, Mode-C veil. Class-C may have some restrictions, and that is may have as there are some that have considerable traffic with Bravo aircraft (135 & 121. The issue is that the FAA has resonded irresponsibly to those in the private sector. That's right - irresponsible! This current mandate proves that those within the Governmnet walls can be paid and bought. Folks, its not that difficult! A few persuasive threats, a few perties, a few weekend smiles! Yea, it goes on - get the pictur, most likely not as those within the aviation community would say hardly..........
Thera ya go, and were only ten years away without inflation!

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | May 31, 2010 7:12 PM    Report this comment

I still dont see the problem. Why call this a "boondoggle". This is a well-conceived effort to finish the job on general aviation.

Of COURSE it has little to do with aviation safety; if it did, they wouldn't exempt military/govt./ law enforcement aviation.

I am sorry some in here got the idea that I was picking on the President and his wife. One fellow is mis-informed about the attack on Meigs Field (a general aviation airport on an island within walking distance of down-town Chicago). Of COURSE they werent the only people engaged in a well-coordinated plan involving HUNDREDS of govt. employees and private contractors to close a general aviation airport. And, as I noted, key leaders from BOTH parties have been trying to gain more control over the public for some time now.

For those of you who do not yet know, and want a REAL "scare" about what BOTH parties like, google "eAPIS" and find out that effective last May, you now have to first obtain permission from the govt. to LEAVE our country. Fail to do that, and your first offense will cost you big time, 2nd offense and they jail you and impound your aircraft.

So let's not call this a non-workable boondoggle. It is what it is. And we in aviation know not to expect help from the general voting public and media.

Or have some of you forgotten, that for over a half hour after the first of the tragedies of 9-11-2001, media was still putting out "copy" that it was a "Piper Cub" or "Cessna 150"......

Posted by: Peter Hartmann | June 1, 2010 12:24 PM    Report this comment

FAA Feds Against Aviation

Only a government program could take something with so much promise and turn it into a very expensive Edsel. The FAA will totally eliminate GA if we let them. It will sure make traffic management easy, no more airplanes to manage.

Posted by: Roy Zesch | June 1, 2010 9:56 PM    Report this comment

I have a couple of questions.
This will eventually flow through into Canada. Transport Canada loves stuff like this e.g. the new mandatory 406 ELT regulations here in Canada for aircraft flying in Canadian airspace-regardless of country of origin-is a good example. ADS-B will no doubt knee-jerk a Transport Canada regulation because the the United States is doing it.
So my first question; if two ABS-D equipped GA aircraft are flying in uncontrolled airspace and there is a conflict between these two aircraft, will the two aircraft be advised of this conflict; or will it even show up as a conflict for the controller? I suspect not unless the aircraft are regulated to certain frequencies while en route. Secondly, if so will that not mean then that uncontrolled airspace will now become controlled?

Posted by: Don Ledger | June 2, 2010 11:07 AM    Report this comment

>>if so will that not mean then that uncontrolled airspace will now become controlled?

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | June 2, 2010 11:28 AM    Report this comment

Thats that! ALL Mode-C airspaces are now officially off limits to any aircarft that is not equipped with ADS-B. See FARs Part 91 Appendix D, Section 1. So, if you have a grass strip somewhere out there within the boundries of mode-C and cropdusting land and your aircarft has an electrical system - ANTI-UP DUDES! No worries, its 10 years from now. Most GA small aircraft will all be found UN-AIRWORTHY due to age :-) That's what whomever is after. BTW: New aircraft sales WILL NOT make up for it. Good luck to everybody within Mode-C :-(

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | June 2, 2010 1:57 PM    Report this comment

In that Cub; The FAA addresses those requests on a case-by-case basis. Yea, give them a call from home before you leave to go flying :). See, the FAA does give us the opportunity to go where we want in our basic Cub or Cessna. Good luck! Heck, so now I won’t need to upgrade with any of that ADS-B equipage, I just request entry each time I want to enter the ADS-B airspace, and that “case by case basis” shouldn’t be a problem. Thank you FAA for being accommodating and realistic.

Posted by: GREGORY MORTON | June 2, 2010 4:59 PM    Report this comment

I am again stunned at the way FAA simply cannot understand airspace usage and the totality of aircraft that use it. For those of us who fly non-commercial aircraft (LSA CTLS)it seems that we are not wanted.

Posted by: Kenneth Nolde | June 3, 2010 8:54 AM    Report this comment

Does anyone remember about 10 years ago when the aviation mags were saying the government was going to help pay the cost of equipping the fleet, like they did initially in the proof-of-concept in Alaska? I definitely do. Seems there's been a change of thought on that. When I restored my panel 3-4 years ago, I went for the 496. I needed weather and I figured the governement's plan to have UAT in would take much longer than they predicted. Gees, they have been talking about this for 10 years already.

In the end, I think this will end up being a good thing for many of us. Less delays, shorter routings and less re-routings. It will cost, but I suspect as we get closer to the deadline, economies of scale will make it cheaper as will competition. I suspect even for what Garmin is charging for the GDL-90 that they haven't made a cent due to the low number of adopters.

I don't plan to upgrade until the equipment options are multiple and the full range of pilot data input options (NEXRAD, traffic, other weather, text messaging between controllers and pilot of clearances, etc) are available.

However, I am satisfied with what I have now for $30/month with XM weather flying in the Midwest and southeast where traffic isn't too congested.

Posted by: Justin Graff | June 3, 2010 8:56 AM    Report this comment

If we end up paying any more money without the great benefits we thought we were going to get (ie trafficand weather for a much lower cost), then we will sell our pane and take up bowling. We have had it with all these huge costs for flying!!!

Posted by: RUTH PRESTON | June 3, 2010 8:56 AM    Report this comment

I agree that it is shortsighted to eliminate backup systems like Loran and radar that are already in place in light of the potential for GPS satellite problems to totally take out aircraft separation and navigation. All it would take is some major sunspot activity to take out the GPS satellites and we'd be back to position reports and VOR navigation for IFR ops if there was no radar and no GPS for ADS-B. They'd probably also consider stopping all GA flights to limit traffic to the airlines until a new system could cope.

Yes, I can understand that it seems like keeping something up and running that doesn't seem to be needed is expensive, but it is insurance. I don't like paying for healthcare insurance, life insurance, etc. But when you need it, you need it.

Posted by: Justin Graff | June 3, 2010 8:57 AM    Report this comment

Take a close look at the Trig TT21/22 (mode S) transponder, as an example of what a new transponder will look like. It's been TSO'd, incorporates an altitude encoder, and implements ADS-B out (1090-ES) if a GPS receiver is connected. It's also the lowest power transponder I know of and ideal for gliders. I expect, now that the rule is out, that more new/replacement transponders will soon come into existence that incorporate both 1090-ES and UAT, at prices comparable to current mode C units. transponders.

Posted by: Robert Luten | June 3, 2010 9:08 AM    Report this comment

Correct me I'm wrong, but even with the TRIG and others, a system will to date need a Certified IFR GPS MFD in order to have ADS-B. Even with todays cost of $2200-$2500 for the transmitter w/squitter without labor, the huge cost is the IFR GPS - Right?
Please check the current regs in detail before rebutting. Thankx.

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | June 3, 2010 9:31 AM    Report this comment

Although equipping with ADS-B Out may be inconvenient, I think people are forgetting all the 3rd party applications that will become available once this ADS-B data is in the airwaves.

I can envision a traffic display on an iPad, or a small 1090 MHz radio receiver that hooks via USB to my home computer and displays all the traffic in the area. 3rd party ADS-B "in" applications need not be TSO'd to be useful. Who knows -- an application may even be developed to pull in the free UAT weather data for display on stormchasers' laptops, for instance.

So, despite the initial cost, I think this will be a fertile ground for new exciting application development.

Posted by: Michael Lawson | June 3, 2010 9:53 AM    Report this comment

If you can get past all the acronyms, it sounds like an electronic geek's heaven to me.

Posted by: John Hanson | June 3, 2010 11:00 AM    Report this comment

I agree that it is shortsighted to eliminate backup systems like Loran and radar that are already in place in light of the potential for GPS satellite problems to totally take out aircraft separation and navigation. All it would take is some major sunspot activity to take out the GPS satellites and we'd be back to position reports and VOR navigation for IFR ops if there was no radar and no GPS for ADS-B. They'd probably also consider stopping all GA flights to limit traffic to the airlines until a new system could cope.

Yes, I can understand that it seems like keeping something up and running that doesn't seem to be needed is expensive, but it is insurance. I don't like paying for healthcare insurance, life insurance, etc. But when you need it, you need it.

Posted by: Justin Graff | June 3, 2010 12:44 PM    Report this comment

I recall in the early 70’s similar conversations when the switch form 90 channel navcoms to 360 channel was required for IFR. Then came radar with Stage I, II and III service. Of course the transponder requirement and then Mode C were added with time. Same arguments.
All of these things seemed like terrible ideas that few could use. It wasn’t long before we didn’t know how we operated without them.
Technology will change usually for the better. Microwave landing systems were not a bad idea. They were short lived because the FAA couldn’t decide on a format and therefore manufacturers would not commit to building the equipment.
Good or bad, now that the 1090ES standard for ADS-B out is established as the format we should get more than Garmin producing required units. This will bring the cost down.
The potential safety enhancement by aircraft broadcasting their position continuously as opposed to waiting for radar technology to interrogate a transponder or pilots making position reports is huge.
Remember those big hand held GPS units that were primarily for use on the ground or in autos? (Not today’s Tom-Tom) Pilots were some of the first people to rush out and buy them to use in their planes. Those units weren’t made for aviation but pilots bought them and loved them, even though they were expensive

Posted by: Rick Carlson | June 3, 2010 2:19 PM    Report this comment

A number of the comments already posted mention "ADS-B only requires a couple new wires from the 430 to the 330". What if most of us flying DON'T have Garmin 430's? This is a ridiculous rule from the FAA. The only time I get inside a "Mode C" veil it is to fly under the shelf to a local airport. What is the point of adding this requirement to a fleet of GA aircraft? The original announcement also called for ADS-B to be required for Class C airports. Is that still true? Where does it stop? Lots of people think anyone with an airplane is independently wealthy. It's just not true. We really enjoy our flying and work hard for every gallon of AvGas and the necessary parts and services. For those of us who only occasionally use the space underlying Class B, why is it necessary to waste the money on useless equipment... and more weight.

Posted by: Richard Gaynor | June 3, 2010 2:39 PM    Report this comment

I agree with Rick Carlson, it kind of stinks, but all in all I don't think the ADS-B will be that bad. I do like the idea of traffic info, but since the UAT is US airspace only, it will be 1090 ES for me. Looks like about 5k now for a 330 xponder with ES. I've already got a 430WAAS (reason I bought it is that I knew ADS-B was coming and wanted to be ahead of the game when it did), but I'm willing to bet that prices will drop and someone will come out with a slick GPS-in for those without IFR GPS. I'd say don't panic yet - let's see how this develops. That said, don't look for me to buy until a year or so from the mandatory date.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | June 3, 2010 2:58 PM    Report this comment

I just replaced my transponder with a new Narco a couple of years ago. The idea of spending $5000 for a $1500 benefit, when I already spent that for the same benefit, galls me, especially since to use the new $5000 box, I have to buy a $10,000 box (430 WAAS) to make it work. And just because I fly a rather basic 47 year old 172 doesn't mean I don't want to use Class B & C airspace--DEN is only spitting distance south of me, and just the annual trip to OSH takes me through several wedding cakes.

Just noticed the "Keep it civil" exhortation in "the Rules"--good thing, I had some other comments in mind.


Posted by: Cary Alburn | June 3, 2010 3:38 PM    Report this comment

OK! Mode-C is the issue, PERIOD. VFR pilots fly around Bravo daily and don't at all. Richard Gaynor has a HUGE POINT. Within the Mode-C veil, why does a VFR pilot need a Certified IFR GPS MFD? They don't
:-) and somebody really thinks your friendly FAA authoritives know what the hell they're doing. Facts folks! IFR, you bet! ADS-B would be super dooper the Gods creation for IFR. Reality!

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | June 3, 2010 6:24 PM    Report this comment

Oh, Cary, you in the Denver area? Myself to! FTG. In fact, if you look at most of the mode-C veils around the country, you'll see that the Denver Mode-C veil affects a majority as compared to elsewhere, except maybe the LA area overall. Lot a people gonna be hurtn unless the the Feds approve handhelds and something simple as the MITRE box as of today. Good luck to all.

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | June 3, 2010 6:28 PM    Report this comment

>>> The potential safety enhancement by aircraft broadcasting their position continuously as opposed to waiting for radar technology to interrogate a transponder or pilots making position reports is huge.

Posted by: Larry Dighera | June 4, 2010 11:26 AM    Report this comment

For surface operations, I can see a significant advantage over visual observation and radio position reporting to ADS-B position reporting, but not one great enough to justify the cost of equipping the aircraft fleet and the installation of ground based support equipment (which is funded by tax payers).

The way I see it, the entire NextGen implementation is a result of large corporations seeking to turn a significant profit by prodding our government into mandating the purchase of their products at tax payer expense; it's largely a marketing strategy that will only marginally meet its stated goals*: "... to improve the capacity, efficiency, safety, security, and environmental impact of aviation in the United States."

Let's look at those goals individually:

I believe the capital being invested in NextGen ATC would be many
times more effective in increasing airport capacity if it were
spent on construction of additional runways than it may through
the implementation of satellite based NextGen ATC.

Posted by: Larry Dighera | June 4, 2010 11:27 AM    Report this comment

To the extent that computerized automation is able to remove the
human element from ATC, it will eliminate those errors humans may
make. But given the fact, that electronic equipment is subject to
cosmic radiation and EMP, it introduces new weak points into the
system. And all computer equipment is programmed by humans after
all, so any forecast benefit of eliminating human error is
fundamentally compromised.

Because satellite based NextGen ATC relies on position report data
sent from aircraft to ATC, instead of bouncing radio waves off of
actual aircraft, there is no way to verify the received positional
data is not intentionally spoofed by rogue operators. I see that
as introducing an opening in security that might be exploited by
those with a nefarious desire to do so. In such a scenario, F-16
interceptors might be erroneously dispatched to the wrong
locations diverting them away from where they are actually needed.

Posted by: Larry Dighera | June 4, 2010 11:28 AM    Report this comment

In relation to an IFR GPS MFD being required: I don't think so. A TSO'd GPS receiver is, but the MFD is icing on the gingerbread house. Today that GPS receiver may be 1) external and 2) include a moving map of some sort, but that's just today.

I envision a GTX-330ES LIKE device which includes an internal GPS receiver. Installation will be to connect it to power, a GPS puck antenna on the top, and a transponder antenna on the bottom. Whole package could fit in a 3ATI hole in the panel.

It runs in my mind that the Garmin GDL-90 UAT incorporates a TSO-C145a WAAS GPS receiver. No reason not to include such in a "transponder," is there?

Let's not all miss the point: what it costs in June 2010 isn't the issue. The question should be: what are we doing to drive the costs down for 2018? 2016? I think that is the window to be concerned about.

Posted by: JAMES MCDUFFIE | June 7, 2010 2:50 PM    Report this comment

You guys are disappointing. When I was young, I used to think that maybe pilots are a bit smarter than the norm. These posts show most of you 'just dont get it".

The whole idea is to waste as much public money as possible, to try and reduce or limit general aviation. Anyone who thinks otherwise should stop sniffing that stuff.

You want PROOF ? Turn to Page 36 of the latest sales promo from West Marine (a major supplier of boating supplies ). There you can find your choice of LONG established technology, called AIS. It is what they use to handle ship traffic in crowded harbors, and provide rescue / location services at sea.

How about a nice A150 "Class B" transceiver. "unsurpased simplicity of operation.....covers the whole world....plots out ship positions as easy as reading a chart".....$1,600. If you dont want to spend that much money, they have the AIS 600 Class "B", has "Clear Track' to provide uninterrupted sharing of info., between vessels and controllers world wide...

So - the technology to go to a GPS / sat. based system is OLD NEWS, COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE.

Obvious problem with the established commercially avail. system - it dosnt "DO THE JOB ON GENERAL AVIATION".

Again, if this had ANYTHING to do with air traffic safety and management, the military and public-service aircraft wouldn't be exempted. WHO is KIDDING WHO. GROW UP, you guys.

Posted by: Peter Hartmann | June 7, 2010 3:27 PM    Report this comment

Ok! Here's grown up talk. If its an airplane, your a gazillionaire requiring space ship instrumentation panel equipment just to fly around BFE. Get it? Hmmm, I wonder... there are automobiles that cost in excess of $50K that murder people everyday. I suppose the government should impose autopilots that think for the driver to avoid death in their own automobiles and if you can't afford it; walk. That's what we call grown-up talk. The current issue with GA is small aircarft owners (more than you can handle) is flying in Mode-C VFR which with the current rule dissallows that if enforced today. Most are hoping that MITRE can come through- the pressure is on!

Posted by: Joeseph Gawlikowski: JoesPiper | June 7, 2010 7:21 PM    Report this comment

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Posted by: ashneema seebun | June 10, 2011 11:11 AM    Report this comment

The current issue with GA is small aircraft owners (more than you can handle) is flying in Mode-C VFR which with the current rule disallows that if enforced today.

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