CASA in Australia has listened to its aviation community and will be developing rule changes aimed at making it cheaper and easier for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology to be voluntarily fitted to visual flight rules aircraft.
This action follows consultation which showed broad support for the voluntary adoption of ADS-B across general aviation. The consultation made it clear the installation of ADS-B in the visual flight rules aircraft fleet should remain voluntary and CASA accepts the argument. It says the challenge has been to find the right solutions and incentives that will encourage the fitting of ADS-B while maintaining an acceptable level of safety. CASA is proposing to adjust the equipment and installation standards to achieve this.
A mechanism will be established to classify the installation of ADS-B equipment in smaller type-certificated aircraft as a minor modification – not requiring an approval. For non-type certificated aircraft – including amateur home-built and sports aviation aircraft – owners and operators will be able to install ADS-B equipment that is compliant with a relevant ADS-B technical standard, but without necessarily being authorised under that standard. Installation of this equipment would be allowable under self-administration arrangements.
CASA says: “The solutions we are proposing genuinely reflect the preferences and ideas from the aviation community, including avionics manufacturers and installers. We see this as a sensible and practical solution for the VFR community to ensure technology that makes the skies safer is available and more affordable. There will be further consultation on the detail of the proposed rule changes before they are finalised and implemented.”
We asked the NZ CAA Director about this, and he said:
“I suggest caution using Australia as a model for all things ADS-B. Their first mandate on the issue came into effect in 2013 and while I applaud the outstanding work now being done by the current Director in Australia, this work does come quite late in the piece in their implementation. In NZ, because the existing Airways SSR network still has a few years of economic life to go, we have had the benefit of learning from the experience of other countries that have gone before us in this space.
“The work on the potential equipage mandate for ADS-B below FL245 in controlled airspace will certainly consider the recent move by CASA on VFR ops.”
Brigid Borlase, Principal Policy Advisor, International and Regulatory Strategy at the CAA, has told a GAA supporter: “Essentially, our aim is to achieve the same outcome: that GA here can adopt ADS-B OUT with the least cost possible while maintaining safety, and we’re working actively in that area. Examples include looking at options to reduce the certification costs, and allow for alternative equipment options where those deliver the performance that’s necessary for safe separation of aircraft in controlled airspace. We are liaising closely with CASA on their approach.
“We’ll be consulting on ADS-B OUT in the near future. I encourage you to keep an eye on the Surveillance page of the New Southern Sky website: https://www.nss.govt.nz/workstreams/surveillance/”
The GAA’s current position on investment in ADS-B for recreational aviators:
We see no sign of any decision on funding assistance, and the CAA Director indicates that his Authority is far from following CASA’s example for the VFR community. Graeme Harris tells us that this country comes late to the adoption of ADS-B and has learned from the experience of other jurisdictions. We would have therefore expected the CAA to be well ahead of the game by now, and anticipated the VFR operator issues that Australia is resolving.
The world is awash with ADS-B hardware for light aircraft, the New Zealand GA marketplace is minuscule in global terms and, if the rules for VFR aircraft are relaxed, queues may not materialise.
Unless it’s absolutely necessary, wait until the MoT and the CAA get their act together. Otherwise, you might end up paying expensive and unrecoverable labour costs for installation, only to discover that you could have done it legally, almost – or entirely – on your own.