The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

5 Questions on How ADS-B Will Affect Business Aircraft Operations

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 10, 2011 @ 02:57 PM

Contributed by Mark Winter, Satellite Avionics Manager at Houston, Texas (HOU).

How ADS-B Impacts Your Aircraft and Its Operation

The road to ADS-B compliance by 2020 will have several challenges. But one of the most important things you need to understand is, if you fly an aircraft in the United States and many other countries, ADS-B applies to you.

Below Mark Winter, Satellite Avionics Manager from Houston (HOU) answers questions about the impact of ADS-B on your aircraft.

1. What do I really need to know about ADS-B?

The most important thing the aviation community needs to understand is the ADS-B mandate due in 2020 has nothing to do with the airframe make/model, weight category or cabin size of your aircraft. This mandate is solely an airspace requirement that requires all aircraft to be certified with the ADS-B out equipment by 2020. Simply put if your aircraft is not certified with the correct ADS-B out equipment, it will not be allowed into controlled airspace.

2. How will this impact the operation of my aircraft?

There is no impact to the operation of your aircraft with the exception that the transponder will not be turned to off or to standby while your aircraft is on the ground. The ADS-B Out system will be used on the ground for the ground-based radar system that is currently being used at larger airports.

3. What system upgrade is required to be ADS-B compliant?

If you operate your aircraft in Class A or foreign airspace (outside of the U.S.), your aircraft needs to be equipped with a precision GPS and Mode S transponders with 1090-ES (Extended Squitter). Piston aircraft that operate below 18,000 feet in the U.S. may have the option to install a data link radio, called a UAT and a precision GPS with an altitude encoder.

4. How will ADS-B affect aircraft with older systems?

Many of the aircraft that I see on a daily basis are still equipped with older technology, such as the basic Mode A and C Transponders. These aircraft will need to be upgraded with new transponders. However this is only part of the solution, a GPS that meets the requirements of the ADS-B mandate will also need to be installed.

5. Can aircraft operate without ADS-B Out after the 2020 mandate?

As I have stated before, this mandate is for controlled airspace only. There is airspace that is considered uncontrolled. Non-compliant Aircraft will be able to fly in that airspace. This is not to say that sometime in the future the FAA will require all aircraft to have some sort of ADS-B out equipment.

For more information about ADS-B, download "Straight Talk About ADS-B" at

Mark Winter serves as the Satellite Avionics Manager for the Houston, Texas avionics shop, specializing in avionics modification and full line maintenance. He began working in aviation in 1988.

Tags: Avionics Installation, ADS-B


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