FAA Cracks Down on Erroneous ADS-B Codes

The FAA is targeting non-performing ADS-B equipment that transmits incorrect flight identification codes and erroneous position reports, among other false data. FAA

If you are one of many pilots who have stayed ahead of the mandate to install ADS-B-Out equipment in your airplane before January 1, 2020, you might want to make sure that the transponder codes in the system are correct. The FAA is cracking down on what is called non-performing equipment (NPE) — ADS-B equipment that transmit invalid or unassigned 24-bit ICAO addresses, incorrect flight identification codes, erroneous position reports, and other false data.

To prevent hazardous situations, the FAA has implemented a filtering system that prevents processing of aircraft with NPE within the air traffic control systems and TIS-B service. While ATC will still receive replies from NPE transponders, the signals will be received as secondary radar signals. The aircraft will also be displayed to pilots with ADS-B-In equipment.

The main concern regarding the NPE aircraft is that some codes are transmitted as very general ICAO address codes, such as 000000 or FFFFFF. FAA monitoring equipment has found that, over the last three years, there has been at least one flight per day with an incorrect ICAO address code. Problems could arise if two aircraft with the same code are flying in the same airspace. One of the aircraft could be cancelled out from the radar screen or ADS-B-In display all together, producing a safety hazard.

The FAA has provided a service that allows operators to verify the proper functionality of ADS-B equipment by sending a Public ADS-B Performance Report (PAPR) request. This request can be filed using a specific date from a flight along with ADS-B equipment information here. You can also verify that the Mode S code for your aircraft is correct by searching the FAA database here.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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