About 20 pilots from throughout south central Nebraska and north central Kansas learned the ins and outs on Thursday of an impending aircraft equipment requirement.
Daniel Petersen of Lincoln, program manager for the Federal Aviation Administration safety team, was on hand at the Hastings Regional Airport terminal to discuss the FAA’s requirement that aircraft be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast out equipment by Jan. 1, 2020.
ADS-B Out equipment transmits the aircraft’s position, velocity and altitude to air traffic control, as well as to ADS-B In equipped aircraft.
“If you want to see where other aircraft are in your airplane you have to be equipped with the in but the in is not required,” Petersen said in an interview after his seminar.
The ADS-B Out requirement won’t be required for aircraft flying below 10,000 feet or outside of restricted airspace around larger airports.
The Jan. 1 2020, deadline was implemented May 27, 2010, but Thursday marked just the second time Petersen had given his ADS-B Out requirement seminar.
“The year 2020 will be here before we know it,” he said. “That’s only four years away.”
He estimated the cost for ADS-B Out equipment for smaller planes is between $2,500 and $6,000.
Petersen’s visit to the Hastings airport was courtesy of the Hastings Aviation Association, which invited Petersen to educate local pilots about the regulation.
“Part of our mandate is to facilitate a safety environment within the local pilot community but also to bring pilots together,” said HAA member Aaron Schardt, who coordinated the seminar. “We had guys from Smith Center, Kansas, up here who have never been here before. We have pilots coming into our airport and having a good experience. So they come away with a good feeling of the Hastings Airport. I think it will be a good impression.”
Paul Dunning, another HAA member in attendance, said he was aware of the ADS-B Out requirement and came to the seminar to see if any updates have been made to the ruling.
He said he is holding off for now purchasing ADS-B Out equipment.
“With technology nowadays there’s always another change that’s going to come up,” he said. “I think that’s why a lot of us are waiting so long to be compliant with our airplanes. We’re hoping something, maybe a little less expensive, maybe they’ll change the ruling, because when you first make a rule things are bound to come up that people didn’t foresee.”
Dunning said he was within one phone call of adding the needed equipment but changed his mind at the last second.
“I thought I’d wait it out,” he said. “There’s got to be something cheaper coming. You know how technology is. Right off the bat it’s super expensive. Five years down the road that same thing is cut in half or better.”
Schardt said he also hasn’t purchased ADS-B Out equipment.
“A lot of guys are going to wait until 2018, 2019 to do it to see if prices come down at all,” he said. “I don’t know if they will.”
Petersen told the pilots ADS-B Out equipment is readily available now and most likely would be cheaper to purchase sooner rather than later because of increased demand as the requirement deadline nears.
He said currently only about 20,000 of several hundred thousand planes across the country are outfitted with the required equipment.
“More people will be trying to cram into the avionics shops at the same time and get equipped to meet that deadline,” he said. “They won’t meet the deadline because the shops can only equip so many aircraft at a time.”
Schardt called ADS-B equipment the biggest aviation safety innovation in the last 25 years.
“It’ll be really good from a weather standpoint and from an aircraft avoidance standpoint,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”
Petersen shared his own experience with a near mid-air collision that could’ve been avoided if his plane was outfitted with ASD-B equipment.
“If I would’ve had ADS-B available then I would’ve been able to see that other traffic way out,” he said.
Petersen also gave a presentation Thursday on FAA compliance enforcement philosophy.
“The FAA’s kind of going to a kinder and gentler approach to enforcement actions,” he said. “The typical pilot doesn’t go out there and say ‘I want to violate the FAA regulations.’ Usually it’s just a simple mistake.
“We can get compliance action I think much better by educating the pilots or giving them a little remedial training or counseling than going full enforcement and taking their pilot’s license away from them. I think we get a safer pilot by doing that than to give them a violation.”
Attendance at Thursday’s seminar earned participants credit in the FAA’s WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program, which encourages pilots to continue aviation educational pursuits and requires training, review and flight proficiency in the areas of operation that correspond with the leading accident causal factors.
Pilots can sign up for WINGS at www.faasafety.gov.
The WINGS program has basic, advanced and master phases.
Each phase requires three ground credits and three flight credits.