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Avionics - Certificated



The FAA may be considering some kind of extension on the 2020 deadline for equipage with ADS-B-Out but it's not been confirmed by the FAA whether it's in fact being considered and what form it might take. If some relief is in the works, it will be at the request of the airlines. Aviation Week has published a story quoting various airline officials as telling an April conference that a five-year "grace period" on full compliance with the ADS-B mandate had been proposed by the airlines and was now under active consideration by the FAA. AVweb contacted the FAA to see if similar consideration might be extended to GA if the airlines are successful. An agency spokesperson promised us a statement on Monday but we didn't hear back from the FAA before our deadline late Tuesday. AOPA spokeswoman Katie Prybil said the organization is aware of the airline request and prepared a response:

AOPA's statement reads: "The airlines will be required to meet the 2020 mandate for ADS-B Out. That has not changed.   Discussion on a “grace period” applies to the position source for early GPS installations on some Part 121 certified aircraft that do not have WAAS receivers.  Those early-generation GPS receivers may experience brief outages of the required performance for ADS-B Out. Airplane manufacturers are upgrading GPS receivers across airplane models, but have said the upgraded receivers will not be available until 2018 to 2020.  Airlines for America  has requested an exemption so airlines that equipped with earlier versions of GPS (without WAAS) can transition to the upgraded equipment over an additional five-year period. The airlines are proposing that the FAA could use backup radar (if available) or an airline could reschedule a flight if GPS outages are too frequent. The FAA is currently reviewing A4A’s petition and will consider all public comments before determining whether to grant or deny the petition."

What's ironic about the airline request is that they think it will be impossible to get the 4,000-6,000 non-compliant airliners still expected to be in service in 2020 up to standard in time. There are many times that many GA aircraft facing the same deadline. At Aviation Week's annual MRO conference on April 14 in Miami, Bob Ireland, the Airlines for America (A4A) managing director-maintenance and engineering, said the issue for the old airliners is that the non-WAAS GPS source components are too old to meet the 2020 requirements and replacements are not expected to be available in time. The airlines are proposing that they install the transponders, hook them up to the old GPSs and promise to have the approved source avionics installed by 2025. The organization did not have an estimate on how many of the non-compliant airliners might still be in the air by 2025. There was another interesting note in the AvWeek story regarding the FAA's enforcement posture on ADS-B compliance. It paraphrased FAA Avionics Maintenance Branch Manager Tim Shaver as soothing the airline executives by saying the FAA "won't initially enforce the ADS-B Out rule with a 'hammer.'" Whether GA aircraft will get the same consideration was one of the questions we had hoped to have answered by the FAA.

Jim Hill