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David Shilliday, vice president, Airlines - Europe Middle East, Africa and India, Honeywell Aerospace.

Sooner rather than later for aircraft DO-260B ADS-B Out compliance

he DO-260B ADS-B Out mandate is quickly approaching - with less than two years to go.

When you take into consideration that thousands of aircraft still need to be certified by a limited network of aircraft maintenance, repair and refurbishment centres, operators are highly at risk of having their planes grounded. The best way for aircraft owners to avoid this lies in early planning and implementation.

What you need to know about DO-260B ADS-B Out

The role of a DO-260B ADS-B Out compliant transponder is to periodically transmit information about the aircraft's location, flight direction, speed and vertical velocity. This information is transmitted from the aircraft to air traffic control, where the team of controllers uses the information to direct and manoeuvre flights. It also allows ground crew to track the location and flight path of each aircraft outfitted with ADS-B In systems, but the FAA does not require this yet.

Since each type of cockpit has its own specifications, it is difficult to propose a single solution for all of them. This subsequently requires additional time to apply the appropriate changes. It is therefore critical to start preparing aircraft for the transition as quickly as possible, as well as to understand the importance of working in close partnership with engineers to upgrade cockpit systems.

Depending on the aircraft, it is possible to add a number of new components to complete the update process, such as DO-260B compliant transponder, GPS systems, radio systems, communications, along with other devices and supporting software.

Fortunately, a number of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centres have received a Supplementary Type Certificate, which allows operators to easily find a MRO center that can perform the upgrade and ensures the aircraft is DO-260B ADS-B Out compliant. Along with the development of their service capabilities, MRO organizations are continuing to develop installation capability for DO-260B transponders, antennas, radio systems and other avionics to contribute to the DO-260B ADS-B Out commitment of delivering value, performance and improved efficiency for modernized aircraft.

The essential components under the 2020 Act

1. The transponder standards. The DO-260B transponder transmits information from the cockpit, such as the identification of the aircraft within range of the radar control center, and location tracking associated with the air collision avoidance system. The updated technology has the ability to accurately identify detailed location information, enhancing overall flight safety.

2. GPS system requirements. While the updated version retains navigational data during all phases of flight, information is recorded at length to provide the most accurate details. GPS systems must be equipped with automatic selectivity sensors to offer the transponder with the aircraft’s near-exact location, speed, altitude, data performance, and safety limits.

This information subsequently contributes to the improved landing mechanisms provided by Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) capability, such as the Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance landing system, which allows the aircraft to safely approach the runway at an altitude of 200-250 feet.

3. Data exchange and voice communication systems. Radio systems include all basic functions of navigation and radio communication. When coupled with data exchange and voice communication devices, radio systems compatible with ADS-B equipment is essential for the cockpit environment. These systems deal with greater information capacity and, as a result, help deliver more consistent and reliable communication lines.

The perfect time to start upgrading

Although these seem like minor and potentially costly aircraft tweaks that can wait another day, operators could put themselves at significant operational and financial risk if they leave it to the last minute.

In the end, planning and investing in these updates today can help reduce the problems that operators might run into, like the strained capacity at upgrading centres. Time is running out for aircraft upgrades, so now is the perfect time to make the necessary changes, before the risk of aircraft grounding becomes a reality.
BlueSky Business Aviation News |3rd May 2018 | Issue #462

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