ADS-B is a source of much consternation at the recreational end of general aviation. More accurately, ADS-B Out is the source. Actually, it’s the Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The very same mandate FAA Administrator Huerta has repeatedly stated will not be delayed.
Simply put, ADS-B Out — Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast — is a periodic broadcast of aircraft information (altitude, speed, position, etc.) to satellite and ground-based targets that allow other aircraft – if properly equipped – and ATC to see you.The FAA announced on March 30, 2007, that it was seeking proposals for the contract to provide ADS-B services for the national airspace system. For those keeping track, this was nearly three years before the launch of the ubiquitous iPad from Apple.
The FAA release states “The national contract will require the selected vendor to provide ADS-B surveillance and broadcast services for the nation’s airspace. Under the contract, the vendor will install, own and maintain the ground infrastructure, while the FAA pays for the surveillance and broadcast services. Employing this kind of performance-based service contract will give the government greater flexibility in meeting future changes in air traffic.” [emphasis added]
The first generation Stratus (an ADS-B receiver) was launched by Appareo Systems, in partnership with Sporty’s Pilot Shop and ForeFlight, in March 2012. Today, not yet three years on, the capabilities of Stratus make the first generation look antiquated. And Stratus is far from the only player in the field. Just ask Levil Technologies, NavWorx, Dual, Garmin, Sagetech and SkyRadar.
So? Years ago, I learned it’s better to seek forgiveness rather than permission.
So, I’d love to see all the young and hungry ADS-B developers add “Out” functionality to their products. Rather than worry about the letter of the ADS-B rule (and the associated cost, complexity and certification), go ahead and honor the spirit of the rule.
Periodically broadcast aircraft information to satellite and ground-based infrastructure from your equipment. After all, that is what the FAA let out in March 2007. They even structured the contract to give themselves, “greater flexibility in meeting future changes in air traffic.”
I’d suggest the FAA start stretching.