The FAA published a technical correction in the Federal Register Feb. 9 that allows future installations of ADS-B out equipment to meet performance standards of the appropriate Technical Standard Order (TSO) specifications without meeting the complete TSO requirements.
This technical amendment is a first step to exploring solutions for amateur-built aircraft to meet FAA’s year 2020 mandate for installation of ADS-B out equipment in aircraft flown in controlled airspace, according to officials with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
Currently, the lowest-cost purchase and installation for such equipment is an estimated $5,000 – equal to 15% to 20% of the value of a significant number of GA aircraft that would need to meet the requirement.
At the end of 2019, aircraft will be required to have approved ADS-B out capability to fly in airspace that now requires a Mode C transponder.
“This technical correction is a good first step, but there is much more work to do,” said Doug Macnair, EAA’s vice president of government relations. “EAA supports the FAA’s desire to have full compliance with the 2020 mandate, provided cost-effective options are available. This amendment allows the culture of innovation that has been part of the homebuilt community to move forward toward those cost-effective possibilities.”
Historically, builders and owners of experimental aircraft have been able to install avionics that meet the performance standards of certified equipment but are not specifically approved by the FAA. EAA seeks to preserve that historical precedent for ADS-B equipment installation as well.
In its Federal Register publication, the FAA noted that “it was not the FAA’s intent to arguably limit operators to only install equipment marked with a TSO… The FAA’s intent was to permit equipment that meets the performance requirements set forth in the referenced TSOs.”
The FAA further stated that the inadvertent removal of the word “performance” in the 2010 final rule was in error and resulted in confusion.