The FAA has extended the comment period on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment requirements.
Deadline for comments on the NPRM, issued Oct. 5, initially was Jan. 3, 2008, but due to requests from several alphabet groups, including AOPA, the Air Transport Association and others, FAA officials decided to push the comment period up 60 days to March 3.
In its petition for the extension, AOPA said that there were questions regarding the financial feasibility for general aviation as the FAA shifts to a satellite-based navigation and air traffic control system. All aircraft, including GA planes, will have to be ADS-B equipped by 2020 to fly in Class B and C airspace and above 10,000 feet.
AOPA officials noted they also want to be sure the proposal would improve ATC services at GA airports while enhancing safety.
“While the transition from today’s radar to ADS-B will take more than 13 years, it is important for the FAA to get it right,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “At the current cost of $8,000 to $10,000 per aircraft for ADS-B equipment, it is a lot of money to spend for the same access and services we now have with a transponder.”
In August, the FAA awarded a contract to ITT Corp. to build and operate the ADS-B ground stations. According to FAA estimates, aircraft owners will invest between $1.27 billion and $7.46 billion in new avionics equipment to access the system, which the agency has dubbed “the future of air traffic control.”
ADS-B is expected to enhance safety by using signals from the Global Navigation Satellite System to pinpoint air traffic. ADS-B, which is nearly 10 times more accurate than radar, will allow controllers and pilots to know the precise location of aircraft, resulting in more direct flight routes and airspace efficiency, as well as reduced delays and improved safety, according to FAA officials.
The initial ADS-B program, called Capstone, has been in place in Alaska for five years. FAA officials say it has helped cut accident rates there by a notable 47%.
The roll-out will continue in Alaska, then move to other sites, including the Gulf of Mexico, which has substantial commercial and helicopter traffic; Louisville, Ky., the home of UPS, which already has outfitted its fleet of planes for ADS-B; and Philadelphia, which will be the first major urban center on the system.
For more information: ADSB.gov