The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA ) must address the serious concerns of the general aviation industry before pushing ahead with a mandate to install ADS-B Out equipment by Jan. 1, 2020, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) told the agency in a strongly worded letter.
In the Oct. 28 letter, AOPA President Mark Baker urged the FAA to quickly address the economic impact of the mandate, portable technologies, the logistical challenges of meeting the mandate and the findings of a recent Department of Transportation Inspector General’s report that was highly critical of ADS-B implementation to date.
The letter noted that the minimum investment of $5,000 to $6,000 to install ADS-B-Out equipment is “far too high” for many GA operators, especially given that the general aviation fleet includes at least 81,564 certified, piston-powered, fixed-wing aircraft that are valued at $40,000 or less, and that GA owners have no way to recoup their costs. The actual number of GA aircraft valued at or below $40,000 could be much higher if experimental aircraft are also taken into account. Pushing ahead with the mandate as written will ground thousands of general aviation aircraft at a time when the industry is just beginning to recover from the recession, Baker warned.
“It would be irresponsible to insist on enforcing a mandate that does not reflect the realities of general aviation flying and would cause irreparable harm to this industry,” Baker wrote, adding that affordable, portable solutions for ADS-B-In exist today and urging the FAA to revisit the question of acceptable equipment to meet its ADS-B-Out mandate.
Other issues Baker raised in the letter include gaps in ADS-B coverage, the need for coverage outside of today’s radar footprint, and the logistical challenges of meeting the mandate as it is now written.
“We strongly believe there are alternative means to ensuring that plans for a satellite based air traffic management system can be implemented with the widespread participation of the general aviation community,” Baker wrote, adding that AOPA appreciates the opportunity to raise these issues at the FAA’s Oct. 28 “call to action” summit, and looks forward to working with FAA to find and adopt appropriate solutions.