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ADS-B Buyer's Guide: Part 25 Business Jets

An overview of some of the most in-demand hardware, software and components that can provide compliance with equipage requirements.

As operators prepare for compliance with the FAA’s Jan. 1, 2020, airspace equipage mandate, Avionics is looking at the latest trends within different segments of the civil aviation market in a four-part avionics buyer’s guide on automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B).

Kicking off the series is a focus on Part 25 business jets. While it would be impossible for us to give guidance on every make and model of aircraft available, here’s some of the most popular makes and models among the 7,169 entries in the FAA database.

Installation: The Latest

New buyers of ADS-B Out-compliant avionics should be aware, the FAA is highlighting a trend it has been seeing in recent safety and pilot outreach, noting that a significant number of ADS-B Out installations going into aircraft are being done so erroneously.

These are what the agency is referring to as “non-performing emitters,” meaning ADS-B Out avionics are transmitting parameters that are not within compliance with FAR 91.227.

At the 2017 AEA convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, James Marks, leader of the FAA’s ADS-B Out Focus team, highlighted the trend, which analyzed 31,000 installations over the last year — 5,400 involving non-peforming emitters.

The following factors are cited as the leading causes for these errors:

• Emitter category
• Air/ground determination issues
• Baro/geo altitude spikes
• Missing baro altitude
• Duplicate or wrong ICAOs
• Invalid/missing mode 3/A codes
• Flight ID issues

“It is truly a buyer-beware environment,” said Ric Peri, VP of government and industry affairs at the Aircraft Electronics Assn.

Peri says the following ways in which buyers can avoid such errors is to ensure their installer:

1. Has experience installing ADS-B Out systems;
2. Has experience or training with the specific system you’re having installed.
3. Has the proper test equipment;
4. Has downloaded and read, and understands FAA advisory circular 20-165 (AC 20-165);
5. Submit a flight verification and report to the FAA’s ADS-B Out monitoring site.

“Emitter category, duplicate or wrong ICAOs, invalid/missing mode 3/A codes and flight ID issues are generally installation and configuration problems and are easily resolved,” said Peri.

The air/ground issue is still being worked on. It is a technical issue that affects both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. As an interim solution, the installer needs to ensure he or she understands the air-to-ground operations and trains the operator accordingly. It is manually manageable generally with taxi speeds, according to Peri.

Average Costs and Downtime

The cost of an ADS-B Out solution is primarily affected by the existing avionics configuration on an airframe, specifically the transponder, position source and software package featured on the aircraft. There are several options available to business jet operators when it comes to ADS-B.

Most of the major original equipment manufacturers have released service bulletins identifying the exact upgrade needed to get into DO-260B compliance. Service bulletins are further supported by the FAA’s equipment search tool, which features every make of ADS-B avionics equipment available or in process for more than 7,100 aircraft makes and models. By identifying the aircraft make and model, one would be able to call the regularly used avionics installation or modification facility, talk directly to the manufacturer of the equipment and request a quote.

“For select business aviation platforms, Rockwell Collins has developed broader airspace modernization packages which bring ADS-B Out compliance along with flight management system [FMS] updates (including LPV) and SVS for enhanced situational awareness,” said Rob Myhlhousen, principal marketing manager for Rockwell Collins.

MRO Advice

Duncan Aviation’s latest updates regarding ongoing ADS-B Out installations note that more than 6,000 business aircraft that fall within its primary customer base still need to be upgraded. The number of U.S.-based turbine aircraft that still need it is closer to 11,000, and the number of all U.S. aircraft that still need it is closer to 74,000, according to Duncan.

An L3 Lynx NGT-9000 installed on a Cirrus SR-22.L3 Aviation Products

The MRO provider estimates that it would have to do 167 installations per day to get all of those aircraft into compliance with ADS-B Out by the deadline. Duncan also notes that in 2005 when a similar RVSM mandate affected operators, installation facilities were already at capacity two years ahead of the mandate.

StandardAero, which also performs ADS-B Out installations, provided Avionics with an average upgrade price per aircraft that it services:

• Bombardier CL604 ROM: $100,000
• Falcon 50EX/F900EX/F2000 ROM: $60,000 to $140,000
• Hawker 800XP-900XP (Rockwell Collins equipped) $50,000 to $200,000
• Hawker 800XP (Primus equipped) $90,000 to $140,000

According to Don Milum, director of technical sales for StandardAero’s business aviation division, business aircraft with a lack of qualified wide area augmentation system (WAAS) GPS receivers, transponders that currently do not have a flight ID, old RMUs or RTUs that need to be upgraded could all have a major impact on increasing the price of an ADS-B upgrade.

“We are currently handling 60 to 80 upgrades per year,” said Milrum, adding that the company is seeing “a large uptick in airframes that currently have display upgrades available, such as the F900C/EX Primus Elite and the F50EX/2000 ProLine 4 to 21 upgrade to comply with mandates for the U.S. as well as European mandates.”

Avionics Are Available

In March, a new Honeywell ADS-B Out avionics package was released for Primus II-equipped Citation II, III, VI, VII, V, Ultra, Encore and Excel, and Hawker 700, 800 and 800XP aircraft. The OEM is also currently offering a promotional price for the upgrade. Honeywell notes that the upgrade maintains avionics system integrity, as it is integrated with the certified configuration and is not an add-on system that is independent of the installed FMS.

In November 2016, the L-3 and Thales joint venture Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) unveiled a new transponder and self-contained GPS receiver that meet the DO-260B requirements for both U.S. and European mandates. The company already had two transponders available for the business jet and commercial airline markets, but it was lacking in a position source, which it says it has now fulfilled with the NXT-700 transponder and the NXG-900 WAAS GPS and FIS-B receiver. At NBAA, ACSS announced an approved model list supplemental type certificate for the following aircraft:

• Beechcraft Hawker 125-400A/700A, BAE125 series 800A/800B
• Beechcraft Hawker 800/800XP
• Boeing DC-9-15
• Bombardier CL-600/601/604, DHC-7-1/100/101/102/103, DHC-8-100/200/300
• Bombardier Learjet 25/25(A-D,F), 31/31A, 35/35A, 36/36A, 55
• Dassault Aviation Falcon 10, 20, 50, 200, 900, 900EX
• Fokker F28 Mark 1000
• Gulfstream G-II, G-IIB, G-III, G-IV, 1125 Westwind Astra
• IAI 1124, 1124A
• Saab340A
• Sabreliner Aviation NA-265-40/60/65
• Textron Citation 550, S550, 560, 650

Privacy

Currently, business aircraft operators’ privacy concerns associated with tracking aircraft movement, further complicated by the addition of ADS-B, remains unresolved. Mode S transponders, which were first added to aircraft several decades ago, contain a 24-bit address code that is assigned to each aircraft registration number, also known as an aircraft’s International Civil Aviation Org. (ICAO) address.

Many business-aircraft operators already participate in the FAA’s Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) Block program. However, the combination of ADS-B and proliferation of privately owned sensors have been lead by the relatively inexpensive availability of ADS-B ground receivers, like the PiAware GroundStation kit, which can be purchased for less than $100 and allows users to track ADS-B-equipped flights for up to 300 miles.

1090 ES is required for Class A and B airspace, where the majority of Gulfstream, Bombardier and Cessna business jets in the U.S. operate. While the 978 MHz UAT specification has an anonymous mode built in, the 1090 MHz link doesn’t.

One possibility being evaluated by the Equip 2020 government industry ADS-B working group is having aircraft use temporary anonymous Mode S codes that aircraft can adopt for a flight, or series of flights, and then return. But at this point nothing is concrete.

“ADS-B had done little to change the ability to track an aircraft on the Mode S link since the aircraft’s 24-bit address is broadcast on the public airwaves,” said Jens Hennig, VP of operations for the General Aviation Manufacturers Assn. “The FAA is continuing work to determine if the agency can modify how it manages the address allocation for civil aircraft, which would reduce the ability to track an aircraft in real time.” AVS