I have a resistance to change in things that I feel comfortable with and that I’m used to.
— Dennis Quaid
The actor Dennis Quaid is not the only one who doesn’t like any change from “things I feel comfortable with and that I’m used to.” Indeed, I think he describes a characteristic common to the entire human race. We know what we like, and we best like what we already know.
Whenever I Feel Afraid …
Change, however, is as constant and as relentless as the Star Trek Borg, who counseled (sort of ) that resistance is futile and commanded the conquered to prepare to be assimilated. Though I wouldn’t argue that the kind of change wrought by the (fortunately) fictional Borg was a Good Thing, I do contend that those of us in aviation should be more like the lead character in a certain Rogers & Hammerstein musical I recently watched, open to adopting and assimilating new things. It helps to remember that everything now familiar was once “new.” It wasn’t that long ago that pilots accustomed to A-N radio ranges were grousing about the quirks and complexities of the new-fangled Very High Frequency Omni-directional Range (VOR) technology which, in turn, is literally losing ground to satellite-based GPS navigation.
Is … a Puzzlement!
ADS-B is an awkward acronym for an even more awkwardly (albeit accurately) named technology. It sounds abstract from the outset, and I confess that my initial exposure to puzzling terms like “UAT” and “extended squitter” (?!) made my hair hurt. I didn’t want to have to learn this new stuff, and I was certainly not anxious to see yet another expense for GA flying.
Just as necessity is the mother of invention, inevitability is the driver of acceptance. The reality is that starting on January 1, 2020, Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) section 91.225 and 14 CFR section 91.227 stipulate that your aircraft must be equipped with ADS-B Out in order to operate in most controlled airspace. As you probably know, ADS-B is the foundational technology for NextGen, the FAA’s term for the diverse set of technologies and procedures to move the method of controlling our National Airspace System (NAS) from today’s ground-based radar to satellite-based GPS technology.
Getting to Know You
Once you have accepted the inevitability of ADS-B, the next step is to get acquainted with this technology. As with any technology, the more you learn about ADS-B, the less you fear. If your reaction is anything like mine, I think you’ll find that ADS-B is, as the Rogers & Hammerstein song goes, “precisely your cup of tea.”
To help you through that get acquainted process, the FAA has developed a number of resources available via the links below:
Is ADS-B Out required where I fly? Check out the interactive map of the airspace you use for an overview of ADS-B requirements in those areas.
Do I need ADS-B Out equipment? The FAA website includes a decision tree to help you figure out if you need to equip.
What equipment meets the regulatory requirement? The FAA maintains an online list of certified equipment that meets the performance requirements of the ADS-B equipage rule. You can also search the equipment database by aircraft make and model, either as separate components or complete installation solutions. You will find both equipment that is already FAA-certified and equipment in the process of certification.
How do I participate in the incentive (rebate) program? If your aircraft is a fixed-wing single-engine piston-driven aircraft registered in the United States and not already equipped with ADS-B Out, you could be eligible for a $500 rebate. (FAA Safety Briefing – MarApr2017)