What is ADS-B and do you need to care about it? If you fly any type of aircraft you need to know about it and you should care. This is because, on January 1, 2020, all aircraft must have Mode C transponders in operation. This is according to the FAA.
The FAA's website further indicates that Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast or ADS-B is a crucial stage in the modernization of air traffic. Any aircraft operating in airspace has to be equipped with ADS-B out.
This is true, according to the FAA, for all ADS-B airspace. There will be some exempt aircraft, but these instances will be limited. Most all aircraft of all sizes must have the new transponders.
If this applies to you, you will need to find somewhere to get the transponder installed. Fortunately, this is easy to do. You have local aviation technicians ready to install the equipment for you so that you can remain compliant.
The only airplanes that might be exempt are those that do not have GPS position integrity. Check with the FAA as these exemptions will be assessed by the organization on an individual basis. These planes will still need to be outfitted by compliant devices by 2025. If an exempt aircraft attempts to fly with the use of a SAPT tool they may still be asked to follow certain deviations for various routes.
To avoid being restricted in your flight plans, it is best to get your plane the transponder required. When you bring it to a qualified aviation maintenance and repair location they can check to see what the status of your equipment is for you. You may be able to update an existing system to comply with the ADS-B.
Larger airplanes such as those made by McDonnell Douglas and Boeing will be upgraded according to the ATS upgrade path. Any plane operating in Class A, B or Class C airspace must have ADS-B Out equipment. If you are a small plane or jet owner, you can find out from your mechanic if you need to buy all new hardware.
In some cases, you will not need to replace your RC hardware. The status of the equipment will dictate this. Your avionics maintenance technician will follow any bulletins with this regard so that you have the latest hardware installed in your plane. Different regions and businesses will need to follow different upgrades as per various bulletins.
You may visit the FAA online for details about the upgrades. A trained aviation mechanic near you can be very helpful, however, in helping you determine what you need to update your aircraft. They will find the hardware or the transponder you need and install it for you if this is necessary for your plane.
The cost of the upgrade will depend on what your aircraft needs and what path your plane needs to follow as per the FAA for upgrading compliance. If you meet certain criteria you may find you are exempt. Contact your local aviation repair technician for more details.