So You Blew Off ADS-B? Now What?


Beginning next week, pilots will need ADS-B if they want to fly in certain U.S. airspace. In case you didn’t get it done, Avweb’s Paul Bertorelli covers the options in this video. For many pilots, not having ADS-B won’t impact their flying much, if at all.

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  1. Your videography work leaves me weak at the knees, PB. I’m jealous. Well done.

    That said, your “IFR” pilot headed S east of the TAMPA Class B (at the 5:30 point) may want to file a NASA Report. He nicked the Mode C veil airspace violating either 91.225d(2) or 91.225d(4) depending upon his altitude. I’m not nitpicking you as much as trying to show how subtle all this mumbo-jumbo is. Also, that particular area E of TPA and W of MCO is gonna have one helluva lot of non-ADS-B airplanes transiting through it come next week. I’ve been warning people about this.

    Anyhow … for most … your video is must see viewing. Good job.

    OMG … I’ve complimented TWO people on Avweb today … I must have a fever ?? Only the ER is open today.

  2. Thinking about it some more, anyone who HAS equipped and is planning on transiting “Rule” airspace had better get into the habit of regularly requesting a PAPR (Public ADS-B Performance Report) IMHO. Especially if you have a box which doesn’t provide “fail” messages. Unless you’re talking to ATC, you’re assuming that your ‘out’ solution is working. Having a recent PAPR is kinda like a VOR check … you can show that it WAS working and that you’re proactive checking it. A PAPR is painless and quick and good insurance. Of course, if you’re using an app, you should be able to verify it but you can’t prove it after the fact. Anyhow, now we’ve all got something else to worry about under some circumstances.

  3. What I am waiting for now, that the jets I fly for my company are equipped, is whatever alleged benefits I am supposed to get out of all the money that was spent by my airplane’s owners. Have not seen anything yet that I already had with TCAS and onboard radar. Some of the aircraft now have WAAS for approaches that were previously unavailable but so far that’s it.

    • When you descend into the GA ‘soup’ below 10k’, Matt, I can see YOU and try to steer clear. It’s kinda like strobes … you never know who avoided you because of the equipment. Now then … the extreme price … that’s another question. And being able to see weather and other info 500 to 1,000 miles away … isn’t that worth something?

  4. A good and (pretty) clear explanation of the new “improved” airspace system. For those that ask “What’s in it for me?”, you kind of miss the point. ADS-B was done for the benefit of the FAA and air traffic control. They only included the “In” portion to throw us all a few bones to make the expense seem more palatable. Whether you find it worthwhile depends on where you fly. Those of us who live near major cities with a convoluted class B “cake” nearby, find the traffic portion pretty handy. Everyone I know that installed the system was surprised at how many other planes were out there that they never saw before.

    Seems to me that we adapters fall into two groups; The bare minimalists who got the most basic system possible to be legal, and, those who said, “Hell, it’s time for an avionics upgrade so throw it in too”. To be honest, I really don’t know how much my system cost because Avidyne (my avionics of choice) threw some of it in “for free”, to entice me to go with them over Brand G. Was it worth it? Doesn’t really matter now. I’m happy with the overall upgrade, so that’s the bottom line for me. I just hope the Friendly Feds don’t wake up some day soon and decide satellites and diversity are the way to go.

    Merry Christmas, Paul. Well done.

    • I am impressed. Both my aircraft have ads-b out and I can find them whenever airborne and follow their track from anywhere in the world. I also know where my airport hangar neighbors go to get their $100 burgers. Follow them and maybe get a free taco. Then there is my flight school competish at the airport. Hell, I spend hours tracking aircraft the world over. All this for a mere 30 grand. It’s fun. But what is ATC’s function in all this?

    • Sorry for the confusion. The graphic arrows show the shelf discussion applies only to Class B, not Class C. It’s not clear in the narrative. And the shelf has less to do with it than the existence of the Mode-C veil.

      • Indeed. Since the ADS-B/out rule was promulgated, I have complained to the FAA that the graphics being used to sell/educate pilots are, um, execrable. The rule is fairly explicit (as turgid bureaucratese goes) but apparently the FAA graphic artists can’t figure it out either. Early versions of the ADS-B/out airspace graphic did show the Rules cylinder extending all the way from FL100 to the ground around both Class B and C.

        The most recent example attempts to depict the circularity of B & C airspace in perspective with ovals. In so doing, they give the visual impression that Rules airspace around a Class B or C does not extend all the way to FL100. My reporting of this flaw in these fora was dismissed with specious and irrelevant comments. If a flawed visual confused PB, it’s a problem, IMHO.

      • Probably best if you drop the “under-the-shelf” language altogether. There is no under-the-shelf language in the regulations. The requirements to have a Mode C transponder and ADS-B under the shelf of Class B airspace derives from the Mode C veil, which you already address.

    • I re-read the regulation. CFR 91.225,d(3) seems to indicate that powered a/c that are not equipped cannot fly under the shelf of Class C (the devil is in the term “lateral boundaries”):
      “91.225 (d) After January 1, 2020, and unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft in the following airspace unless the aircraft has equipment installed that meets the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section:” …. “(3) Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL;”
      I could be wrong about aircraft with alternators. Meanwhile the FAA has clarified that un-equipped non engine-driven electrical aircraft can in fact fly under both Class B and C airspace.

      • So I was probably wrong about not being able to fly under Class C. Re-reading the ambiguous and confusing language in the regulation seems to come down to one simple concept that they made complicated (the FAA, go figure). All that lateral boundary blah blah language equates to saying an aircraft with an electrical system can’t fly over Class C without being equipped with ADS-B out. And doesn’t mandate equipment for under the Class C shelf.

        • No, you’re not wrong about flying under the Class C shelf. The language is quite specific, if confusing. In 91.225, is says…

          (3) Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL;

          The “above the ceiling” part applies ONLY to the “lateral boundaries” part. It’s saying, essentially, to extend the lateral boundaries of Class C (and B) vertically to 10,000 feet. You can’t fly in that airspace without ADS-B. But it’s silent on under the Class C shelves. So those are ok. Class B is covered by the Mode C Veil.

  5. Paul – another great video/article – love your wit ! What’s all the worry about with your ADS-B on the fritz – has anyone been thrown in jail because their transponder’s on the blink – no, ATC just can’t give you service. Sounds like the controllers will have to jump thru some hoops to even confirm ADS-B is working, tho that will probably change. I’ve been ADS-B OUT/IN (UAT) since 2011 and have more than paid for dropping XM Wx with FISB & traffic & it’s saved my bacon more than once – and the wife won’t fly without it !
    My biggest complaint is that it’s unreliable at lower altitudes when in the airport environment when ground station reception is spotty and with 1090 traffic that a UAT receiver won’t pickup directly – a false sense of security when you need it the most ! I’m based under DFW Class B, but ground station reception at pattern altitude is quite sketchy, so I also have portable dual band ADS-B IN displaying on IPad Mini for backup.

  6. Thanks Paul, I thought it might be beer something. I lived in CR from 1978 to 1988, thought maybe it was referencing the aroma from making high fructose corn syrup. I think Paul Berge was an ATC there, ask him if he remembers that. I look forward to reading everything you guys write.

  7. My chief complaint about ADS-B is the STEALING of airspace 30 miles from class B. I can understand the requirement within B or C or above class B and maybe even above class C airspace; but ruining my flying down low just because it’s less that 30 miles from a class B airport really pisses me off. Not too much in love with all the surveillance and tracking either.

  8. If you can stay awake long enough to read through this
    you’ll recognize virtually all of this pertains to airlines and operations therein.

    Having spent a fair amount of time in hold and or spacing vectors while awaiting a runway in VFR conditions to major airports during my career, I found one of the major contributors was a lack of runway and terminal space.

    More effective in trail spacing will not alleviate the shortage of runways and tarmac area which until resolved will still incur delays.