Homebuilders Want Answers to ADS-B Questions

EAA holding discussions with FAA about compliance.

Homebuilders ADS-B

Homebuilders ADS-B

Homebuilders say they are befuddled by the FAA's upcoming ADS-B equipment mandate, specifically over the question of whether certified avionics options on the market now can be installed in Experimental Amateur-Built (E-AB) airplanes to satisfy the requirements of the Jan. 1, 2020, rule.

The answer, apparently, is no.

The Experimental Aircraft Association says it is engaged in "ongoing discussions" with the FAA "to ensure that Experimental Amateur-Built owners are not forgotten as the FAA looks toward the Jan. 1, 2020, mandate" for equipping aircraft with ADS-B Out avionics.

EAA notes that, historically, builders and owners of Experimental aircraft have been able to install avionics that meet the performance standards of certified equipment but are not specifically approved by the FAA. In IFR-equipped Experimental aircraft, avionics do not have to be approved devices and can be installed by the aircraft builder or by an A&P mechanic. "EAA seeks to preserve that historical precedent for ADS-B equipment installation as well," the association said on its website.

"The latitude within the amateur-built regulations includes the ability to meet the required performance standards in the ADS-B mandate through means other than certified avionics and professional installers," noted Sean Elliott, EAA's vice president of advocacy and safety, according to EAA.org.

Elliott says the FAA appears to be receptive to its request to allow homebuilders to individually install certified ADS-B systems, or seek out non-certified ADS-B systems that meet the mandate's performance standards. Such equipment solutions, EAA predicts, might lead to eventual workarounds for owners of all GA aircraft, who face spending many thousands of dollars to upgrade for the ADS-B Out mandate with certified avionics.

"Our point to the FAA is that we support the agency's desire for full compliance with the 2020 mandate provided cost-effective options are available," Elliott said. "The amateur-built regulations allow individuals to fully comply with the requirements in their own way and at a potentially lower price point. There is still work to do, but EAA is committed to preserving the rights and opportunities allowed within amateur-built regulations in all areas, including ADS-B installation."

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