FreeFlight Unveils Sub-$2,000 ADS-B Out Unit

FreeFlight Systems has introduced an ADS-B Out unit for light general aviation airplanes that's fully compliant with the FAA's 2020 NextGen mandate at a rock-bottom price of under $2,000.

There's "no fine print," the company promises, and the unit includes everything you'll need for ADS-B compliance, including a TSO'd ADS-B Out transceiver, built-in WAAS GPS receiver, ADS-B and GPS antennas, installation kit and control head. The only additional cost is what you'll pay an avionics shop to install it all.

There is one catch, however. FreeFlight Systems says it will offer a limited number of the units, named the Rangr Lite FDL-978-TXL, at the low, low list price of $1,995. The avionics maker is offering the product as part of the FAA's Equip 2020 program to drive down ADS-B compliance costs for those who upgrade well ahead of the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline.

FreeFlight explained that recent proposals by AOPA and others to rewrite ADS-B requirements to allow portable ADS-B units in GA airplanes weren't gaining traction with the FAA due to the "critical nature" of ADS-B, which will eventually be used for traffic separation as a replacement for surveillance radar.

"Many of our customers, especially those with older aircraft, told us that they need a low-cost option for equipage to meet the January 1, 2020, deadline for ADS-B," says Tim Taylor, President and CEO of FreeFlight Systems. "We needed to find a way to accomplish that without compromising the quality of the system. Volume was the way to make that happen, and we are stepping up."

As part of the push for lower-cost ADS-B gear, FreeFlight Systems also introduced the Rangr Lite FDL-978-XVRL, a rule-compliant unit that adds an ADS-B In transmitter and Wi-Fi capability for displaying subscription-free weather and traffic data on a tablet. Retail price for that product is $3,695.

FreeFlight Systems says it will build and sell no more than 10,000 of the lower-priced Rangr Lite ADS-B units. The company plans to reveal a list of participating dealers next month and start shipping the products in June.

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