ADS-B Compliance for $699? It’s True! Sort Of

Here's some news that's sure to inflame the ADS-B detractors out there. NavWorx has just announced a fully compliant ADS-B In/Out solution that carries a list price of just $699. And that's not for some portable unit. It's the same box as the certified gear, but without the certified price. Alas, if you're like most GA aircraft owners, you can't have it. That's because it's for the Experimental and LSA markets only.

The ADS600-EXP looks suspiciously like the fully TSO'd ADS-B Out units NavWorx sells to owners of certified Part 23 airplanes. In fact, NavWorx admits the new product is based on the ADS600-B, which has received FAA TSO/STC certification and carries a list price of $2,500 not including needed antennas and, of course, installation costs.

It includes an internal Universal Access Transceiver with all the benefits of ADS-B In and Out, meaning it complies with the FAA's Jan. 1, 2020, mandate and buyers will be also receive free FIS-B weather and TIS-B traffic information to boot.

Oh, and it has a built-in WAAS GPS receiver. And Wi-Fi for output to an iPad. And did we mention it's just $699?

Trust us, this unit would work perfectly well in your Cessna Skyhawk or Beech Bonanza. But the FAA says you can't install it because it's not certified gear. Nevermind that the safety bar for Experimental and Light Sport Aircraft mixing with airline and bizjet traffic is just as high as it is for the rest of general aviation.

Not long ago the FAA relaxed certification rules for angle-of-attack indicators, allowing the lifesaving technology to be installed in Part 23 airplanes without a TSO or STC, for a fraction of the price it would otherwise require. Could the same route be taken with ADS-B? Many people think so, and the NavWorx ADS600-EXP seems like proof. Unfortunately, the folks that matter inside the FAA don't appear to agree.

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