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Kevin Kliethermes Inside Out
Kevin Kliethermes, Director of Sales,
Flying Colours Corp.

Two years and counting; are you ready for the ADS-B Out mandate?


t is just under two years until the fitting of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, ADS-B Out, equipment becomes mandatory for any aircraft flying into US controlled airspace.

This cog in the larger US NextGEN transport management machine is expected to improve air space efficiency, as well as have positive effects on the environment.

The impact of not being ready is becoming well documented. The threat of potential grounding is real for aircraft flying into controlled airspace without ADS-B Out, and everybody is more than aware of the cost of unplanned downtime. Ignoring the issue could be costly, time consuming and may potentially devalue the asset. In fact, right now, if an aircraft is not already equipped, its value is probably less than it should be for its age.

Yet my team tells me they regularly speak with operators who for one reason, or another, whether it be pricing, budgeting, or capacity have not yet put installation plans in place.

There is also evidence to suggest that as the deadline draws closer, the rules of supply and demand are kicking in; parts are becoming expensive, or very difficult to source. Slots are becoming as much of a commodity as the aircraft themselves. And for those that think the date will move, it won’t, the FAA has made that more than clear.

Before we go any further, it's worth noting this is not just a North American issue

Internationally Australia was the first country with full ADS-B coverage; Europe has set a deadline six months after the FAA saying that all existing aircraft must be retrofitted by 7 June 2020 as NextGEN is designed to allow for seamless transition with Europe’s SESAR for aircraft traveling between the United States and Europe. It is expected that China, and the Middle Eastern region will subsequently require the installation. Whilst the timing is not fixed we anticipate that the tracking equipment will become mandatory in these and other regions very soon.

There is no avoiding the inevitability of ADS-B Out. To keep aircraft flying the avionics upgrade must take place. The type of solution will depend on an aircraft’s age and model. What is suitable for one may not be for another. It is also anticipated that the NextGEN system will continue to evolve. With all the coverage about the impending mandate, it is easy to become focused purely on installing ADS-B Out, but consideration of the bigger picture needs to underpin equipment installation decisions. We advise committing dedicated time, and resource, to finding the right option to future proof flight decks.

Each time someone brings an aircraft to us for maintenance we will have the ADS-B Out conversation. Making ADS-B Out installation part of a bigger maintenance project whether it be line or unscheduled, will help secure your place in the MRO waiting list. MRO’s will generally give priority to the larger maintenance scopes of work.

While there is a lot of talk about the disparity between the numbers of aircraft that need outfitting, and completion centre capacity, it is not all doom and gloom. Not all aircraft flying now will be in the skies come 1 January 2020 as they hit retirement age. A great number of smaller GA aircraft won’t need the equipment. Equipment innovation for installation is improving, and the learning curve is reducing as experience is gained. We still believe that slots will still be tight and suggest operators must recognise that deferment is not an option and early compliance has real benefits.

We’ve installed over 30 of the upgraded avionics systems in the last 18 months and expect this number to increase significantly over the next 20 months as the deadline draws closer. To ensure we can fulfil our customers’ needs we have already added staff, and are making sure our inventory can meet expected demand.

To avoid the line ups, and paying inflated installation prices, we advise planning well ahead, scheduling installation as part of regular maintenance checks, and researching a solid solution. If you haven’t, then start talking ADS–B Out to your MRO teams today.


Flying Colours Corp

BlueSky Business Aviation News | 18th January 2018 | Issue #447
Flying Colours Corp

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