The “In” and “Out” of ADS-B

The “In” and “Out” of ADS-B

January 06th, 2017
By Glenn Watson

Many considering the purchase of a new (or new-to-you) Citation are likely aware of the FAA’s January 1, 2020 mandate for aircraft operating within the U.S. to be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast “Out” (ADS-B Out) systems. However, you may not know all the upgrade paths available for the wide range of Citations out there, or what compliance with that mandate might entail.

Expected to ultimately replace ground-based radar, ADS-B Out automatically broadcasts an aircraft’s identifying information and navigational data, including GPS-derived position information and ground speed. This information is relayed to the appropriate air traffic control (ATC) station, as well as aircraft equipped to receive this data (more on this later.)

In basic terms, compliance with ADS-Out will require your Citation to have a Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)-enabled GPS receiver approved for ADS-B; a 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (1090ES) transponder; any equipment necessary to combine that data; and a transmitting antenna.

So, what does that mean for Citation pilots?

First, the good news. Given that Citations represent the largest fleet of light jets in existence, it should come as no surprise that ADS-B solutions already exist throughout the entire fleet – and many Citations on the market have already been upgraded (of course, these aircraft command a premium in the marketplace.)

Textron Aviation has worked with its avionics suppliers, including Garmin, Rockwell Collins, and Honeywell, to earn supplemental type certification (STC) on upgrade paths for nearly all recent Citation variants. Additionally, several third-party maintenance providers have also earned STCs for their own ADS-B solutions, with most focusing on legacy models like the Citation III, IV, V, and VI, Citation Bravo, and Citation Encore.

Of course, there’s the matter of cost. Aircraft already equipped with a certified WAAS GPS may be able to satisfy the ADS-B Out requirement through pairing that equipment with a 1090ES transponder, and necessary interfaces, at an estimated cost of around $30,000. That figure will climb for more extensive swaps; that said, for those already planning to upgrade their flight decks, adding ADS-B is a relatively straightforward, cost-effective decision.

There’s also the question of time. Although January 1, 2020 may still seem distant, service availability to have these upgrades performed will only grow more constrained as the deadline approaches, so it’s better to have ADS-B installed sooner than later. Most installations take 2-3 weeks, although more extensive upgrades will understandably require more time.

Also, keep in mind that while equipping for ADS-B Out fulfills the FAA mandate, it’s only part of the picture. ADS-B “In” capabilities allow pilots to see the same data transmitted to ATC, including real-time traffic position and NEXRAD weather information. ADS-B In requires additional equipment, most notably a receiving unit to disseminate that data, and a cockpit display able to project it for pilots, and that adds to equipage costs.

If this seems daunting – and it can be! We have excellent referral sources for your ADS-B requirements. ADS-B is already impacting the selling prices of aircraft and is an important consideration if you are in the market to sell or buy a Citation.