Get Equipped with ADS-B PROFESSIONAL PILOT ADVISES FELLOW AVIATORS NOT TO WAIT

Photo: Adrian Eichhorn demonstrates the Lynx ADS-B unit in his Bonanza.

Highlights

  • Adrian Eichhorn, a first officer with JetBlue and a general aviation pilot, is a huge believer in the numerous safety benefits of ADS-B Out and In.
  • "You can't put a price on safety," Eichhorn says. "The cost of ADS-B is very reasonable for what you get."
  • Eichhorn notes that ADS-B greatly increases situational, adding that pilots who wait to equip are doing themselves a disservice.

Adrian Eichhorn is passionate about aviation. When he isn't flying as a first officer with JetBlue based out of Boston, he's flying his 1962 P35 Beechcraft V-Tail Bonanza that's based at Manassas Regional Airport, close to his home in Northern Virginia.

Eichhorn bought the Bonanza in 1988 and has completely rebuilt it, doing most of the work himself. The effort included a completely rebuilt engine, a specially modified large cargo door, and a custom-designed avionics panel with Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) Out and In.

Eichhorn is a huge believer in the numerous safety benefits of ADS-B Out and In.

Eichhorn completed a solo trip around the world in his ADS-B-equipped Beechcraft Bonanza.

"My passion in life is flying," said Eichhorn, who is also an airframe and power plant mechanic — He was the 2016 FAA National Maintenance Technician of the Year — and served as an engineer in the Army Corps of Engineers.

"I looked at the capability of the L3 Lynx NGT-9000 ADS-B unit and realized I could get continuous subscription-free weather. That's unprecedented in a [general aviation] aircraft. Even though weather is available through Stratus on an iPad, having this subscription-free service and all the other products that are offered with ADS-B Out and In — that's priceless."

The Lynx NGT-9000 series provide 1090ES (Mode S Extended Squitter) ADS-B Out as well as 1090 MHz and 978 MHz (UAT) ADS-B In. This gives the pilot ADS-B traffic including Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Rebroadcast and Traffic Information Services–Broadcast and Flight Information Services–Broadcast input.

The weather display includes various kinds of useful information over a moving map:

  • Meteorological Terminal Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR)
  • Airman's Meteorological Information (AIRMET)
  • Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET)
  • Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD)

"The quality of the graphic display on the ADS-B unit is amazing," Eichhorn said. "It's full-color and very easy to read. Like most avionics on a GA aircraft, it's small because of the limited panel space. But with Bluetooth, I can put the display on my iPad."

Adrian Eichhorn flies over Normandy, France, in his 1962 P35 Beechcraft V-Tail Bonanza.

Eichhorn is adamant that pilots equip with both ADS-B Out and In.

"The ADS-B products enhance safety to the greatest degree I've seen since I started flying in the 1980s — not just the weather display you are given but the picture of traffic in the area — especially flying in and out of airports without radar. For those pilots who only have ADS-B Out and not In, they are really missing out."

If pilots are waiting to install ADS-B because they think that the cost will come down any lower, Eichhorn said that will probably not be the case.

"Flying a general aviation airplane comes with a cost. You can't put a price on safety," he said. "The cost of ADS-B is very reasonable for what you get. I personally would not wait. It's making the entire National Airspace System safer.

"Your situational awareness with ADS-B is so much better. Your flight will be more enjoyable. You are doing a huge disservice to yourself and your fellow pilots by waiting."

According to Eichhorn's contact at Park Rapids Avionics, which helped him with the ADS-B installation on his Bonanza, many customers initially grumbled that they had to comply with the ADS-B mandate. But once installations were completed, no customers returned and said that the installation was a waste of money. Quite the contrary: They quickly realized all the safety benefits ADS-B offers. Eichhorn added that repair stations have become quite proficient with ADS-B installations, which minimizes aircraft downtime.

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