Is ADS-B Over?

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During the opening of the Aircraft Electronics Association show in New Orleans Monday, AEA chairman David Loso made a remark that caught my ear. He said it was time to think about life after ADS-B.

Welcome as that sounds, I’m not sure we’re quite there yet. The ADS-B 2020 mandate is but 33 months away and the general aviation fleet is a long way from being equipped to operate in the mandated airspace. Although installation volume is picking up, only about 20,000 aircraft are equipped out of a fleet variously estimated to number about 160,000, according to one manufacturer I spoke to Monday. I’ve heard that number many times. We’re not even a quarter of the way there yet. If you do the quick math and reduce the number of eligible aircraft to say, 130,000, the avionics industry will need to do about 3300 installs a month or more than 100 a day until the finish line. Is that even doable? AEA President Paula Derks says it is and that the association’s member shops will staff up and resource the problem with whatever it takes to meet the deadline.

Whether it’s doable or not doable, one thing is becoming clear to me: It’s quite possible that many owners simply aren’t interested in this technology because they either don’t see the value or don’t plan to fly in the mandated airspace, which roughly corresponds to where Mode-C transponders are required now.

Perversely, it’s almost as if you can’t pay some owners to install ADS-B. Recall that last fall, the FAA put into effect its $500 rebate program for would-be ADS-B buyers. The program runs for a year and we’re seven months into that, yet the uptake has been lukewarm at best. As of last month, only about 4000 owners had taken advantage of the rebate and fewer than 3000 had stepped through all the hoops necessary to get the check in the mail. The program has funding for 20,000 installations and hasn’t reached even a quarter of that. If you’re interested, better get busy. The program will likely time out before the money runs out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the FAA extend the rebate deadline. To be fair, it was a noble and honest effort at pump priming. It’s just that the market is cranky and resistant to getting on board.

One reason for the lackluster response is that in the overall scheme of aircraft ownership, $500 is—sorry, FAA—a mere bagatelle. It’s even more trifling when you consider the airplane has to be flown to and in airspace where the required FAA data collection can be done, collected and validated before the check is cut. One shop owner told me that owners don’t see overwhelming value in this process and I don’t think I do either. It’s a nice to have, maybe, but not a motivator.

I think some owners are still occupying the fence slats awaiting the clouds to part for a better deal. I doubt if it’s coming from the FAA, nor do I expect any price breakthroughs in the hardware. The manufacturers are already at rock-bottom margins and there’s not much wiggle room left to reduce prices. I see no reason to expect shops to suddenly devise assembly line practices that cut installation costs much below the $1500 to $2000 threshold we’re seeing now. In ADS-B, what you see now is pretty much what you’re going to get.

On Monday, NavWorx announced a low price on their ADS600-B UAT product of $1499. It assumes you have a WAAS GPS position source aboard, since it has none of its own. Typically, that should install all-in for $3000 to $4000 and is about as cheap as I think these things are going to get. As an upsell, it even has wireless capability, so if you still think the required ATC part of the deal is a loser, you can at least get FIS-B weather and TIS-B traffic on your tablet. If I needed to fly in the mandated airspace, I’d find that tradeoff worth the investment. I get that owners are becoming fed up with mandatory upgrades, equipment and rules, but there’s nothing particularly new about this. Bluntly, if you can’t afford these modest expenditures, think about a cheap legacy LSA or an older airplane in which you don’t need to navigate the mandated airspace.

Unpleasant as this reality may be, it is nonetheless reality. At least you can recover $500 if you get busy between now and next September. Maybe a small bagatelle is better than none at all.

Comments (47)


Posted by: ken dockery | March 14, 2017 1:50 PM    Report this comment

I feel for folks that have recently installed a new Mode A/C/S transponder that can't be upgraded to ES. However, in the case of my 38 year old plane, and 38 year old transponder, a KT4 Mode S/ES transponder paired with an existing WAAS source was a no-brainer upgrade and under 3k. There are a lot of folks making noise about the low cost/benefit of ADS-B, but having flown with it now for nearly three years, my opinion is that it is a valuable upgrade: near surface level surveillance almost anywhere I fly, flight following in mountainous areas that were previously no-radar spots and the benefits of full TIS-B service for being out equipped. The equipment has greatly increased the utility of my aircraft. Pair it with a portable ADS-B receiver/tablet and you get it all.

Posted by: Isaac Silver | March 14, 2017 2:27 PM    Report this comment

Mandatory Gadget Fatigue. Some people just enjoy the joy of pure stick-and-rudder and aren't really excited about flying yet another computer.

Posted by: A Richie | March 14, 2017 2:58 PM    Report this comment

I'm a renter not an owner, so I don't have personal experience with maintenance and upgrades to airplanes. So when I read or hear that an ADS-B installation costs too much relative to the resale value of an airplane, I have to wonder what the owner of an old plane thinks/does when it comes time for an engine overhaul or other major maintenance. Apparently an overhaul of a run-out engine costs close to $20,000. Do they bite the bullet and spend $20,000 on a $30,000 plane, or do they say that it's not worth the expense? What's the difference with putting several thousand into ADS-B? Is it the government mandate?

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 14, 2017 3:11 PM    Report this comment

" What's the difference with putting several thousand into ADS-B......"

The difference is that I have flown for over 45 years without ADS-B with no ill effect. The few inflight engine/airframe problems I have had convinced me that spending money on the engine and airframe is money well spent.

Posted by: Richard Montague | March 14, 2017 3:33 PM    Report this comment

I strongly suspect we're going to see a flood of unequipped airplanes hit the used market on Jan 1, 2020. ADS-B will be the straw that breaks the camels back with the continually increasing costs of airplane operation and ownership.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | March 14, 2017 4:40 PM    Report this comment

Between now and January 2020 cell phones and computer capabilities and price will be improved in the favor of the consumer. Why should I believe that the ADS-B equipment won't be cheaper and more features over the next two years?

I just want a one piece installed. Tired of being told that I need a WAAS GPS, UAT, three or four antennas and a transponder. By-The-Way, the transponder may not give you the features you're looking for. What features do I need?

Just went down to the cell phone outfit and within 15 minutes I walked out with a cell phone that can do absolutely anything even 3D aviation apps. I should've asked about ADS-B out, the 19 year old kid probably could have set me up...

Posted by: Klaus Marx | March 14, 2017 6:52 PM    Report this comment

At Airventure 2016, I talked with a manufacturer's rep for a new all-in-one transponders box and tried to convince them that A&P's with avionics experience (me) could and should be allowed tp purchase and install their boxes. A couple of weeks ago, I met the same engineer at a local avionics show & tell and he told me that his Company has now agreed and WILL sell their boxes to A&P's as long as they work with a shop and final certification is done by that shop. He even told me that if rocks were thrown in my path ... let them know. This was good news to me; that Company will now get my money. I'm like Isaac ... my Mode C box is trash and I want to totally rehab my avionics suite ... MYSELF ... while I do other ancillary tasks.

If the FAA 'really' wants to have all aircraft owners find a reason to spend the dough and equip their airplanes, they need to grease the skids with far more than a $500 bill. To their credit, in many ways they have (did I just compliment the Independence Ave bunch ... OH NO ... Mr Bill). Still, the task is onerous for most. They need to sweeten the pot and get real with the spec requirements.

Here's an example. If I own an E-AB or an LSA, I can install (or retrofit) with a Dynon SV-GPS-2020 combo antenna/GPS receiver. This is the complete position source. Four wires (power and RS-232 but no coax) hookup to their remote transponder and for $590 and $2200, I'm done. But if I want to put that same equipment in my C172 ... I can't because it is a certificated airplane. Are we flying in different airspace? NO! So the FAA needs to get real with this TSO poopus-maximus (I took latin, too). I could give multiple other examples of perfectly usable equipment that I can't use in a certificated airplane. So much for NORSEE. Geezus!

Now sprinkle in that most manufacturers of equipment won't even talk with me about self-installation of their equipment. All they want is for me to bring my wallet or checkbook in so they can raid it. Ain't gonna happen. And I am VERY fortunate to be able to do all this work myself. Regular airplane owners are at the mercy of all this nonsense.

It's no darn wonder that such a low number of people have equipped. Even the military and airlines are behind the power curve except that they're capitalized enough to make it happen at some point.

Meanwhile, back at MY aerodrome, all 'we' really want to do is chase cows around once in a while. The "in" part has more interest to us than the "out" part. But ... it's all about that hockey puck piece of airspace around me, ain't it.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 14, 2017 8:02 PM    Report this comment

Does nobody care that ADS-B compliance = your n-number is broadcast whenever you fly and logged into the government databases. How did it happen that a gross reduction of privacy was legislated without consultation with the victims?

Posted by: Colyn Case | March 14, 2017 8:12 PM    Report this comment

Colyn ... you bring up a very salient point. As I have often said, once the mythical "they" get as many of us to equip -- or else -- by their arbitrary date, they'll spring on us that ADS-B is required everywhere ... in the interest of safety. I don't see any way around keeping hoards of drones and people movers and whatever else aviates apart ... once they start backing off from ground based ATC. It'll be just like back in the 70's when they sprang 121.5 Mhz ELT's on everyone.

Think about how Paul describes the process to get your $500 ADS-B incentive. Once equipped, you have to fly into airspace for 30 minutes where the FAA computers can assimilate your transmitted data and store it. Once you put a demand for your bucks on them, they'll examine your transmitted data to determine it's all working OK. Now let's extrapolate. Let's say you commit an airspace violation or you're transmitting invalid data. Their system will auto-detect that and COULD issue you an automated violation. Wonderful.

I'll go further. I predict that at some point, additional bandwidth will be used to put in your pilot ID as a user ID and a password issued by 'them' after filing a mandatory flight plan so that they not only know what airplane is flying but also who is operating it. If they detect a non-complying airplane via skin paint ... whoa be you. Won't THAT be great? OH ... and maybe there'll be a surcharge for using our airspace ... like they have over in Europe?

SOME UAT systems will transition from transmitting your 'N' number to anonymous ... aka 1200 ... after 10 minutes. Problem is, it'd be easy to back track and know who that same airplane was if you were subsequently 'bad.' There's no escaping what's coming.

1984 ... indeed .... just a few years late ... aka ADS-B 2020.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 14, 2017 10:21 PM    Report this comment

" in the interest of safety. I don't see any way around keeping hoards of drones and people movers and whatever else aviates apart ..."

That's the nail on the head.

Can the less-than-1% of the flying public compete against the millions that want their amazon packages delivered by drones in 30 minutes or less?


Please note, that Amazon tells us that they "can not do proper drone test in the US" and has moved their drone testing to Canada. That's the pretext of telling amazon customers "you could have your package in 30 min, but the FAA won't let us; call your congress person"

Take a look at the hundreds of "UAS operations ares" in the US, many well above the "400ft" maxima". Those hundreds of UAS op areas become thousands and the VFR pilot will be regulated to VFR flight plans and "VFR airways".

Posted by: Robert Ore | March 15, 2017 4:55 AM    Report this comment

Freedom continues to diminish. Privacy essentially does not exist anymore as it once did. It's a good thing us old farts don't live forever. The younger generation and upcoming don't have a clue what they are giving up and for what in return.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | March 15, 2017 6:47 AM    Report this comment

Drones will need this too as the become more capable. Will drone ADS-B cost $2k.


There is plenty of room for less expensive ADS-B.

Posted by: Peter Kuhns | March 15, 2017 7:38 AM    Report this comment

"The younger generation and upcoming don't have a clue what they are giving up and for what in return."

Many of us "younger generation" people feel differently about the situation. But this isn't the right place for that debate, so I'll just leave it at that.

"SOME UAT systems will transition from transmitting your 'N' number to anonymous ... aka 1200 ... after 10 minutes. Problem is, it'd be easy to back track and know who that same airplane was if you were subsequently 'bad.' "

The Garmin GDL88 (UAT) allows you to put the device into "anonymous" mode before you even leave the ground. However, this anonymous mode isn't available with 1090ES transponders (at least, not for any of the ones I'm familiar with), and UAT isn't helpful if you're flying into Canada for example.

" What's the difference with putting several thousand into ADS-B......"
"The difference is that I have flown for over 45 years without ADS-B with no ill effect."

I've had a few close-call (near-miss) midairs that could have been avoided had I had ADS-B In traffic. In fact, I have prevented several near-misses since flying with ADS-B traffic. I've also flown with TIS traffic (the predecessor to TIS-B), and the ADS-B traffic is much more accurate and useful. Overall, I have found the cost of equipping worth every penny. That's not to say there aren't flaws with the system, and that privacy/anonymity couldn't be improved, but it's not the doom-and-gloom some people treat it as.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | March 15, 2017 9:03 AM    Report this comment

What Klaus Marx 6:52pm, Larry Stencel 8:02pm and Colyn Case 8:12pm said.

Posted by: Thomas Boyle | March 15, 2017 9:03 AM    Report this comment

Thomas Cooke - sadly this is so true. It's not easy to sit back and watch people relinquish their freedom, not understanding the consequences of what they are doing, is it? It seems the days in our nation when a person felt the freedom to make their own decisions (and rightly agree to live with the consequences) are over forever.

Transmit my N-number everywhere I go? Is that seriously what is expected here? That has to be some kind of a joke.

Posted by: Ken Keen | March 15, 2017 9:10 AM    Report this comment

The concept of "flight over congested areas" has always been vague; maybe intentionally, or maybe not. I predict however there will eventually be FAA databases established that precisely define these areas in tens/hundreds of thousands of locations, and despite the pilot's best intentions if you nick the corner or one of these at 999 AGL expect an automated notification of violation. This is but one by-product of full-time identified tracking & recording technology.

What this means is that flight on anything less than an IFR flight plan will be seen as "risky" by insurers and others. Exceptions may be confined flight boxes in rural areas. The real-time tracking ability of ADS-B and other systems makes all this possible (and probable).

Posted by: A Richie | March 15, 2017 10:45 AM    Report this comment

"Transmit my N-number everywhere I go? Is that seriously what is expected here? That has to be some kind of a joke."

If you're flying IFR or using flight-following they've already got the goods on you. Even under plain VFR, it's standard practice to transmit your N-number (or abbreviation) and location when you talk on the radio. With today's voice-recognition technology, it's easy to interpret and store that information. Your best alternative is to fly NORDO where you can get away with it.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 15, 2017 11:23 AM    Report this comment

Please recognize that those of us who've been flying planes with Mode S transponders have already lost our privacy. Mode S transponders respond to interrogation with your plane's N-number (go look up your plane in the FAA's online N-number registry, and you'll see your "mode S code" displayed in octal.)

For those with G1000-equipped planes and 1090ES transponders, it *IS* possible to configure the G1000 software to display a softkey on the PFD that lets the pilot turn ADS-B Out functionality on or off. That can keep the plane from broadcasting it's N-number via Extended Squitter. But because G1000 transponders are all Mode S, transponder interrogation will still cause the plane to return its N-number even if ADS-B Out is turned "off."

Posted by: DAVE PASSMORE | March 15, 2017 11:45 AM    Report this comment

Rollin, I meant electronically through ADS-B, but you knew that. As to VFR voice transmissions, I'm not that paranoid. If I do ever reach that point, it will obviously be time to hang up up for good.

Posted by: Ken Keen | March 15, 2017 2:46 PM    Report this comment

OK, that's it!! AEA: ADS-B For Drones? Way to go Bertorelli, reel us in.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | March 15, 2017 3:30 PM    Report this comment

Maybe we can buy a $350 drone with mandated ADS-B, collect $500 from the FAA and come out ahead for once :-)

Posted by: John Wilson | March 15, 2017 3:42 PM    Report this comment

If I am ever so fortunate enough to own an airplane, it will be a Cub, Champ, or something with no electrical system. All so I can avoid these expensive installed boxes.

Posted by: Joshua Waters | March 15, 2017 4:39 PM    Report this comment

I'll guess we'll run a poll on the privacy issue. Personally, I don't care. Since about 2000, the concept of privacy is an illusion. If you want it, better thing about air gaps.

I can see why some business operators deem it important.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 15, 2017 7:02 PM    Report this comment

There is no logical reason why certified aircraft could not use the same cheap, lightweight (and user installed) ADS-B out solutions that unmanned aircraft are using. None. The idea that we need expensive hardware and expensive installation is absolutely ludicrous. $4000 for ADS-B out is as insane as an $4,000 android phone is. If "safety" through numbers is the real concern then let owners have the option to install NOW using off-the-shelf solutions. The technology is actually cheap and easy (as we see with unmanned solutions that are in the air now). Do that and you'll have near 100% participation this year.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 15, 2017 8:29 PM    Report this comment

... and then in this morning's Avweb 'flash' I see a video by one Paul B with a uAvionics engineer at AEA talking about ADS-B for drones. I already said -- in the previous blog -- that I had held one of the darned things in my hand last week. It was the size of an Alka Seltzer tablet ... and was mucho cheaper than "our" ADS-B boxes. And I already predicted that ADS-B for drones was coming ... FAST.

Me thinks there's a conspiracy goin' on here. AKA killing GA.

As for Mode S transponders (without ES and GPS) transmitting your "N" number. Correct. I was not aware of the GDL88 being able to be commanded into 'anonymous' mode because I'm mad at the 800 pound gorilla in the avionics room. For reasons associated with my first comment above, I wish them all the luck in the world ... but they're gonna do it without MY money.

If I was a gazillionaire flying around in my G550, I wouldn't want the bad boys knowing where I was! I'll be interested in seeing the results of your upcoming poll, Paul.

Life sure was a helluva lot simpler in the 50's thru early 70's.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 15, 2017 9:10 PM    Report this comment

When I'm putzing around in the Pacer I will give any cares who sees the N number on my hour long sightseeing sorties. We have an anonymous switch, but I probably won't fiddle with it.

Flying with flight following or in Mode S equipped airplanes has conditioned me to think broadcasting my N number is normal I guess.

Posted by: Joshua Waters | March 15, 2017 11:13 PM    Report this comment

Aviation has always been expensive. Engines are expensive. Fuel is expensive. Parts are expensive. Instead of whining about it just sell your airplane to people who have the stomach for the reality of what it is.

Posted by: Bob Vadroska | March 16, 2017 10:22 AM    Report this comment

I'm getting tired of this debate. I fly under class b so the adsb is required if I want to keep flying and not drive an hour to get to my plane. I installed an in/out system 2 years ago. Trust me folks--- its worth it. I cant tell you how many times Ive seen traffic on my Ipad that I couldnt see visually until 20 to 30 seconds before a conflict. The inflight weather really is a benefit if you go beyond the local traffic area. Did I like spending 4.5k to equip? Of course not, but I saved up over 4 years to pay cash. Im not wealthy, I drive used cars but I spend money on what I love. Sometimes I feel like pilots are the cheapest folks on the planet:=)

Posted by: Jay Potter | March 16, 2017 11:32 AM    Report this comment

"Sometimes I feel like pilots are the cheapest folks on the planet:=)"


Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 16, 2017 1:00 PM    Report this comment

Whole Foods has a very loyal following of shoppers who apparently see a benefit in spending three times as much for food as they would at a typical supermarket. Wal*Mart (the world's #1 grocer) has a very loyal following of customers who apparently disagree. Right now, the FAA is COMPELLING all of us to shop at Whole Foods.

Are pilots cheap, or are they something else?

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | March 16, 2017 3:03 PM    Report this comment

"Are pilots cheap, or are they something else?"

They are unreservedly, unabashedly, consistently, persistently, predictably and maddeningly cheap. No, let me modify that. They mostly like to complain about the burning First World problem of being put upon over having to buy expensive stuff for the expensive hobby they have unreservedly, unabashedly, consistently, persistently, predictably and maddeningly and voluntarily decided to engage in.

Jay's comment above hit a nerve with me. Sorry.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | March 16, 2017 4:17 PM    Report this comment

Paul: Apologies unnecessary. In some sense, you and I are in violent agreement. But when the FAA says that a Wal*Mart solution is perfectly acceptable for an experimental, but a Whole Foods solution is required for certificated aircraft - and when both aircraft share the same airspace and thus represent the same "threat" to one another - it's fair to rail at the nudity of the emperor. Even at the risk of being characterized as "cheap."

The FAA's position is way beyond cognitive dissonance. It is indefensible.

But never fear. The participation of several million ADS-B -equipped UAVs will overwhelm the ADS-B system. BTW, the emerging gen-5 cell phone standard will support vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Coming soon to a cell phone and a new car near you. For about $2. It also will warn motorists about trains that are approaching an at-grade road crossing. Clearly my suggestion to use cell phone technology to implement an aircraft "surveilance" paradigm was just another stupid Yarsley idea. That's what the FAA said about my equally stupid idea to use "a TV screen" in lieu of electro-mechanical flight instruments.

Every now and then, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn. Yum.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | March 16, 2017 5:22 PM    Report this comment

I talked about the total tracking 2 years ago and even talked to mt Senator about it. He talked to the FAA and they said there is no provision for anonymity in the USA airspace system. No ore blocking N numbers either.
ADSB for drones? A company at OSH last year had one the size of a half dollar for $75 .
Amazon said 2 or 3 years ago they were looking at a $75 ADSB for their drones!
The only reason we have WAAS ADSB is for the close tracking of vehicles on the ground at big airports. Look it up, its in there. The entire system was designed from the top down and we little guys have to conform.'
Sport pilot flying- can they go IFR? That's probably why certified A/C will cost more for ADSB.
There are only 1 or 2 certified WAAS motor makers out there. Does that affect their pricing?
A 1 box solution that can be installed by an A&P is also needed. I too talked to the same company as mentioned above at OSH last year and got them thinking about A&P installation with a certified radio shop to test a certify.
With the military, airlines and most small a/c not complying by 2020 you will see changes by the FAA. Scare tactics aside. They need a bunch just to make the system work.
You will see the "newness" of traffic go away after time as it did in TCAS.
Look up the GAO report on ADSB and you will see that even they said that ADSB doesn't make sense for the cost of implementation. The cost isn't justified by the benefits. In fact the only reason we have the "IN" side of the equation was so they had something they could "sell" to us to make the cost somewhat balance out.

Posted by: Cliff Biggs | March 16, 2017 9:17 PM    Report this comment

We're not "cheap" ... we're FRUGAL! Most of us are technically savvy enough to know we're being forced to implement a technical standard that isn't necessary to achieve 90%+ of the objective of going to an in flight based ATC system.

Nowhere in the discussion did I see ANY comment that ADS-B position reporting technology and it's attendant "in" function wasn't a good thing. What IS heard is that the manner in which it is being implemented and FORCED upon us is at costs which aren't really needed. Yars' and Cliff's comments are spot on and reflect my own consternation.

Above, I mentioned the all-in-one WAAS GPS position source that IS authorized for E-AB and LSA airplanes that costs $590 retail. Another Company over in Scotland has a WAAS position source box which will work with their two models of transponders for even less ... but neither are authorized for certificated airplanes. This is INSANE! That same Scottish Company will sell you a TSO'ed position source for ... are ya ready ... FIVE TIMES AS MUCH.

This is the first time I've heard that ground tracking at major airports is the driver (pun intended) in the insane accuracy standards for position source. IF it's true -- and I have no reason to doubt it -- the problem gets even worse. ALPA, et al, screwed up BasicMed ... maybe they're in bed with the FAA on this issue, too?

The FAA is using our taxpayer monies to cajole up to 20,000 aircraft owners into equipping. They could SAVE that money and achieve most of the same objective by allowing the cheaper position sources to be used. I don't know if you guys know it but when you install the ADS-B GPS antenna on your airplane, you have to TELL the system where it is relative to the nose and LATERALLY, as well. Does someone think that I'm gonna get THAT close to another airplane in flight and so I need that accuracy?

We are 'railing' because we don't need no stinkin' high accuracy GPS to achieve the objective.

Now you've made ME mad ... too. And I'm trying to get my BP down in advance of a medical :-(

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 17, 2017 4:57 AM    Report this comment

Here's a parallel issue to my above comment. A Company recently became the third to offer a TSO'ed USB charging port for certificated airplanes. The cost ... $350. Are they for real? I can go to the local electronics store and buy a cigar lighter product that does the same task for well under $20 and plug it into my lighter socket. ... and I have. I don't blame that Company ... I blame ... you know who. It's been said that if the Government was in charge of the desert, they'd run out of sand in five years. It's no darn wonder a new C172 costs $400K and they count annual production on the fingers of a couple of hands.

Personally, I normally try to be apolitical here but ... I hope ATC does get yanked from their mission statement AND their budget get's halved by the President. We can figure out how not to hit each other by ourselves using EYES technology and staying away from Class B and C.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 17, 2017 5:45 AM    Report this comment

We equipped our club planes with ADS-B In and Out a year ago because a big request from our members was for in-cockpit weather. Prior to ADS-B, the only solution would have been to get Sirius/XM WX, which of course is subscription-based in addition to the equipment installation. We also would have had to install expensive traffic devices (TIS was fine, but had too many coverage gaps to be truly useful) to get in-cockpit traffic reporting. Compared to all of the above, ADS-B In and Out was a cheap upgrade, plus no recurring subscription costs. It's worth taking a step back to see what ADS-B actually does offer us.

"I hope ATC does get yanked from their mission statement AND their budget get's halved by the President. We can figure out how not to hit each other by ourselves using EYES technology and staying away from Class B and C."

I don't. Some of us actually use GA for personal transportation and go in to airports under Class B or C airspace, and/or fly IFR in real weather. I used to make regular trips to the Washington DC area by GA, and it was the same or cheaper than taking the train for the route I flew (and you couldn't pay me to drive there). The easiest way to do that was to file and fly IFR. ATC privatization will almost certainly cause such a trip to become more expensive. No thank you.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | March 17, 2017 9:54 AM    Report this comment

I don't see what all the bitching is about. If you fly IFR then ADS-B gives you free traffic and weather. Personally I wouldn't fly IFR without datalink weather and SXM is $660/year for the mid level package. That pays for the install in about 5 years plus you get traffic too.

Posted by: Scott Dickey | March 17, 2017 9:56 AM    Report this comment

I bet the FAA requires the super-accurate TSO'ed approach-quality GPS because it was an existing spec they could conveniently reuse, and it was one that they assumed the majority of affected aircraft would already have on board for IFR use.

Remember, the government's typical view of a "small aircraft" is along the lines of a King Air or a Cirrus Jet.

Posted by: Robert Gatlin-Martin | March 17, 2017 10:17 AM    Report this comment

Ten days ago I sent an email to the ADS-B program office 9-AWA-AVS-ADS-Programs-AFS at stating in part:

"I am concerned about the issue of ADS-B/out broadcasting the aircraft registration/call-sign and the right to privacy in personal movements.

"I have stopped filing VFR flight plans or accepting Flight Following due to the number of people who then have immediate access to my movements, as a result. The likelihood of needing emergency services is vanishingly small compared to the guaranteed loss of privacy. ...

"There is no federal agency that monitors my travel in a boat or land vehicle. I have no problem with ADS-B/out in congested airspace, but my movements should not be available to anyone without a legitimate need-to-know.

"If equipping my aircraft (fixed-wing and helicopter) with ADS-B/out will make my tail number immediately and readily available to anyone other than ATC, you can count on my non-compliance.

"What, if anything, is being done to ensure the privacy while flying with ADS-B/out?"

A week later I received this reply:

"The FAA is working for a solution that balances our statutory responsibility for the safety and efficiency of the air traffic system against the individual's concern for privacy. That effort is ongoing between FAA and various avionics manufacturers and aviation associations."

(I'm sure we all recognize the bureaucratic version of "Trust me, I'll just put the head of it in.")

Perhaps if the authors of some of the excellent commentary above were to forward their thoughts to the ADS-B office, it may raise the importance of this issue. BTW, the FAA ASDI tail number blocking program has no effect on ADS-B/out.

The simplest solution would be to encrypt the ADS-B/out datastream, and hope for the best.

Posted by: Chip Davis | March 17, 2017 1:40 PM    Report this comment

At our old field, the running joke was "retired airline pilots" were the cheapest folks on earth :-) , God bless'em! One used to carry around 5 gal jugs of autofuel in a late model Mooney to save a buck...but then that's why he was rich and I wasn't!

Posted by: A Richie | March 17, 2017 1:43 PM    Report this comment

Chip ... you bring up still another important issue ... that of unencrypted signals possibly subject to spoofing or data mining in addition to our privacy issues. I'll write 'em a note ... getting "head" from the Govment is always fun :-) . If they allowed the Mode S transponder to transmit N9999 or something, I think the ICAO hexdecimal code is still being transmitted, however ?? OR ... I wonder if even THAT database is in the public domanin? When you consider that even a spouse has to have authority to view their mates medical records, putting all that aviation info out for whoever to see it is crazy! Even without ADS-B/extended squitter, a Mode S transponder is transmitting your ICAO code.

Scott D, you can get weather without ADS-B out ... but not the traffic unless someone activated the airspace you happen to be in. Even there, ADS-B 'out' emitters can be seen with a Stratus 2, e.g.

Gary ... I agree. Early this AM I was pretty (self) spooled up. I'm spring loaded to the I hate 'em position so ... it's easy to "spew" without engaging one's noodle. Looks like it may happen anyways?

Richie ... one of my airplanes has an autogas STC and I've NEVER used it. Avgas is SO much more stable and trouble free. I even leave it in my airport toys during winter. But ... I DO know a 7 figure man who carts Mogas into the airport. :>)

The bottom line, however, is that this whole ADS-B thing is being poorly managed. The lack of participation speaks volumes.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 17, 2017 6:27 PM    Report this comment

I once asked the FAA why the airman and aircraft registration databases were completely public, whereas nobody would think of doing the same with driver's licenses and car registration. The response, misspelling and all, was "Are databases are public for safety".

Posted by: Robert Gatlin-Martin | March 17, 2017 7:23 PM    Report this comment

Joshua wrote: "Flying with flight following or in Mode S equipped airplanes has conditioned me to think broadcasting my N number is normal I guess."

You need serious and/or specialized equipment to receive transponder info on the ground .
With ADS-B, every yahoo who complains about noise can have your N Number with the simplest receiver. Heck, cheap receivers will be at all airports and auto send you a bill every time you fly in. ADS-B was made so anyone on the planet can track you anytime you fly for what ever reason. Think of the possibilities that some state and local authorities can now assess "fees" when you enter "their" airspace.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 17, 2017 8:26 PM    Report this comment

George Orwell lives. We all know that the Feds want to charge us for the privilege of using our sky. With ADS-B the mechanism is there. Now that the technology is available for cars and trucks, we will see more tolls, user fees and access fees.

In the Northeast, more airports are using ATC recordings to send a bill for using the airport. Most are very slimy in that they don't tell you that you will be billed. So, go do a few landings at Tax City International and get whacked for each landing. In our area, KBED and KBDR come to mind. I believe that KFRG and KISP also do the same.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | March 17, 2017 9:52 PM    Report this comment

It's not cheap to be upset about being fleeced. If spending $5000 on a whiz-box to get traffic and weather was the only way to do it, sure, it's probably worth the money. But if you know full well that a $50 box can do the same (and will, for drones), it's perfectly understandable to complain about.

That doesn't make you cheap. It makes you realistic.

Telling people who don't want to just blindly write checks for whatever the government demands that they don't deserve to fly is the kind of attitude that will get you an aviation system that caters to nothing smaller than King Airs. If that's what you want, you can have it.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | March 18, 2017 12:26 AM    Report this comment

Joshua, your last paragraph is EXACTLY the problem. Many of us here are rapidly reaching the point where ... enough is enough. We've been good pilots, followed the rules but the rules and -- worse -- strict enforcement of same for little gain is getting too onerous to put up with. In much the same way as people are not equipping for ADS-B, they're likewise walking away from aviation. That explains why the number of pilots is falling so precipitously. Geez ... one razorblade cut at a time ...

In another online GA aviation publication this week, they were writing and opining about an article in 'Air & Space' magazine titled, "Should there be a Mandatory Retirement Age for GA Pilots?" OMG! That unleashed a fury of comments. You'd be surprised how many pilots think there should be. They're like guppies ... eating their own. Who needs the FAA if your fellow pilots are thinking that way? Not everyone here flies a King Air or TBM. Google it ... you'll be amazed and saddened.

Mark ... you may have answered a question I've had about why an ADS-B transponder has a front panel "N" number to dial in when -- in fact -- the Mode S transponder is already set to squawk the hexadecimal code for the airplane. FAA computers automatically convert that to the 'N' number when you check in with Mode S only. Maybe THAT is a way the FAA could allow owners to become anonymous ... by dialing in N0000? That's what the UAT does when it goes anonymous. I'm gonna ask 'em. If the FAA radars use the hex code and NOT the dialed in "N" number, there's our way to become anonymous. I think I smell a pilot's class action suit against the FAA brewing?

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 18, 2017 8:36 AM    Report this comment

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