Avionics News May 2020 - 19

FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS
ADS-B

Aircraft changes
(alterations) affecting
ADS-B systems
The following information is from the FAA
Technical Paper AFS-360-2017-1, Installation
of ADS-B Out Equipment.

Question:

How do you manage software changes
affecting previously installed ADS-B Out
systems?

Answer:

14 CFR § 91.225 defines the ADS-B
Out equipment and use, while 14 CFR §
91.227 defines the ADS-B Out equipment
performance requirements. The FAA
requires the initial ADS-B Out system
pairings (transmitter/GPS) to be approved
for installation using the type certificate,
amended type certificate, or supplemental
type certificate process. The airworthiness
compliance is evaluated based on the
applicable intended function rule (such as
§§ 23.1301, 25.1301, 27.1301, or 29.1301)
recognizing that the intended function is
to meet the equipment requirements in §§
91.225 and 91.227.
Is an operating system software change a
major alteration?
Alterations of the basic design not made
in accordance with recommendations of the
appliance manufacturer or in accordance with
an FAA airworthiness directive are appliance
major alterations (14 CFR 43xA.a (4)).

As originally written, ADS-B Out is
a system. As such, you must consider
each element of the system (ADS-B
transmitter, position source, EWIS) as well
as the overall ADS-B Out system. When
evaluating the effect of the alteration, you
must consider each element. Is this a major
alteration to the position source? Is this a
major alteration to the ADS-B transmitter?
Is this a major alteration to the EWIS/
antenna system? Is this a major alteration
to the combined ADS-B Out system? Quite
often, you will have approved data via
an OEM service bulletin for the software
revision to the individual component (GPS
or transponder), but they do not address the
ADS-B system.
Since the operating system software
within each component "might appreciably
affect" the performance of the ADS-B
system, it is reasonable to consider software
(operation system) changes not supported by
the ADS-B Out TC/STC holder to constitute
a major alteration to the ADS-B Out system.
In addition, FAA Technical Paper AFS360-2017-1 contains policy regarding
changes to an approved ADS-B Out system
that requires certain changes to be treated as
if they are major alterations.
The FAA Technical Paper asks and
answers two questions that are directly
applicable to this frequently asked question:
Is it possible to upgrade
components in an existing
ADS-B Out system installation?
(Paragraph 7)
Yes, it is possible to upgrade
components in an existing ADS-B
Out system installation under the
following conditions:
a. ADS-B Out equipment installed
in an aircraft under the TC or
ATC process may be upgraded in
Updates continued on page 51

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Avionics News May 2020

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