Aircraft Maintenance Technology

JUN-JUL 2018

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32 JUNE/JULY 2018 AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS AVIATION The subject of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast or ADS-B is not new. Much has been written and spoken about on this topic since the rule was published by the FAA in May 2010. Simply stated by Jan. 1, 2020, your aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out in order to operate (fly) in most controlled airspace in the United States. If you want to review the regulations take a look at 14 CFR 91.225 and 14 CFR 91.227. One would think with a 10-year notice there wouldn’t be so much “buzz” going on today, so close to the mandate, about ADS-B Out equipage. Earlier this year I began hearing heightened discussion on the topic. What caught my attention was the number and types of aircraft that are not equipped and still need to be. I was surprised, perhaps puzzled, because it wasn’t only the small general aviation airplanes that were being discussed. I may have assumed incorrectly that most of the procrastinators were owners of small general aviation airplanes. Most of the discussion I was hearing related to large business aircraft not yet equipped. What do the numbers say? It’s difficult to determine accurately how many aircraft in the United States must be equipped with ADSB-Out by Jan. 1, 2020. The FAA’s website says that more than 100,000 aircraft in the United States will need to equip with ADS-B Out before the deadline. I’ve heard from some in the industry that number may be small and more like 160,000 aircraft. This same FAA website shows progress charts by month on the number of aircraft that were equipped. At the time of this writing the U.S. General Aviation Fixed-Wing chart showed 41,673 aircraft have been equipped. The All U.S. Aircraft chart showed 57,483 equipped. So, you do the math. See https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/. What do the installation centers say? I decided to dig a bit further and discuss this topic with a few general and business aviation maintenance providers that accomplish avionics installations and flight deck upgrades including ADSB-Out. I was interested to learn, and pass on to you, what they are experiencing, hearing and seeing, what the challenges are, and what they suggest to owners and operators still waiting to install equipment. My interest was in the business aviation aircraft segment. I selected four companies which are similar in the types of work they accomplish. I spoke with Mark Wilken, vice president of avionics programs and operational logistics at Elliott Aviation; Marty Rhine, director of sales at West Star Aviation; Steve Elofson, avionics installations sales at Duncan Aviation; and Blake Hogge, director completion and modification sales at Constant Aviation. They are all large well-known maintenance organizations focused primarily on business jets. For a little balance, I also spoke with Andrew Stiles, avionics lead at Fargo Jet Center, because they have accomplished ADS-B Out installations on small single-engine private-owned airplanes, as well as turboprops and business jets. I wanted to hear how the avionics management at these companies characterizes the current situation regarding ADSB-Out solution installations. I asked them all the same general questions and for the most part they all replied with very similar responses. They are all seeing and experiencing pretty much the same things regarding ADS-B Out equipage right now. Here’s what I learned It appears that ADSB-Out installs have picked up substantially since 2017 and some installation centers report a current scheduling backlog of six to nine months. They all reported a huge surge recently in request for quotes (RFQ) in some cases 10-30 per day for ADSB-Out work. Most stated it is difficult to keep up with the quote requests because each quote takes research depending on the aircraft type, the equipment type desired by the owner/operator, STC understanding, workload planning, and it may take weeks for the MRO to provide a response. In some cases installation centers talk to each other to determine who has capacity for certain aircraft types, when and where. This situation is supported by the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). AEA President Paula Derks says, “AEA member shops are reporting their backlogs for installs steadily increasing in the A CONSTANT Aviation installed ProLine21 modernization package. CONSTANT AVIATION

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