Time to Move! Time to Move! Why ADS-B Matters

--by Susan Parson, FAA Safety Briefing

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. --Charles Kettering

Ever heard of “status quo bias?” It is something I stumbled across during the process of writing for this issue. Wikipedia describes it as “an emotional bias; a preference for the current state of affairs” in which the status quo is the baseline, and any change therefrom is perceived as a loss.

When money is involved, as it is in anything related to aviation, the emotional bias for the status quo is probably even greater. As an airplane owner through a flying club, I get it. But just as necessity is the mother of invention, inevitability is the driver of acceptance. That 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 some controlled airspace (typically where a transponder is required).

Airspace where ADS-B Out will be required after January 1, 2020.

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” was painful. As you probably know, though, 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 managing our National Airspace System (NAS) from today’s ground-based radar to satellite-based GPS technology.

Bias or Progress?

Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better. --Sydney J. Harris
Change before you have to. --Jack Welch

It’s a funny thing. Since aviation is one of the most dynamic industries on the planet, you’d think that those of us in aviation should be more open to adopting and assimilating technological changes such as ADS-B. If you are among those still fighting status quo bias when it comes to ADS-B, it might help to remember that everything now familiar was once “new.” It wasn’t that long ago that pilots accustomed to navigating with the Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) and Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) were grousing about the quirks and complexities of Very High Frequency Omni-directional Range (VOR) technology. Today, of course, VOR navigation is literally losing ground to satellite-based GPS navigation.

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 and the more you want its benefits. That’s why we have devoted the first 2019 issue of FAA Safety Briefing to help you get more comfortable not only with the requirements and the technology, but also with the many options you now have and the FAA resources available at no cost. Topics we cover in this issue include a review of ADS-B benefits, an updated look at equipment options, applications for the LSA and experimental markets, and how to find the online approved equipment list.

If you already have equipped with ADS-B — thank you for that! — there is still plenty of information in this issue that you can use. We’ll take a look at challenges such as “non-performing emitters” and ways to avoid the dreaded “call sign mismatch,” as well as resources for checking that your equipment is transmitting as it should.

So join us for this “countdown to ADS-B” issue of FAA Safety Briefing. We’ll be addressing this topic throughout 2019, and we’ll be interested to hear of your experiences in acquiring and using this important piece of progress toward a higher level of aviation safety.

Read Our Feature Articles Below

The "In" Thing in Aviation Safety

Making the Most of Your ADS-B System Solution

Clearing the Crypto-Fog

Tips for Decoding and Deciding Among ADS-B Equipment Options

Is My ADS-B Broadcasting Me?

A Look at Non-Performing Emitters

Sorry, Wrong Number

A Fresh Look at Avoiding Call Sign Mismatch Issues

ADS-B Light

Exploring ADS-B Out Options for Light-Sport and Experimental Aircraft

Show Me the $$

How to Get Your ADS-B Out Rebate

Susan Parson (susan.parson@faa.gov or @avi8rix for Twitter fans) is editor of FAA Safety Briefing and a Special Assistant in the FAA’s Flight Standards Service. She is an active general aviation pilot and flight instructor.

This article was originally published in the January/February 2019 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.
Created By
FAA Safety Team

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