Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2015-16 Edition - 57
"Let me be very clear.
The 2020 deadline is not going to change."
Michael G. Whitaker,
Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer for the Federal Aviation Administration
must be compliant to § 91.225 no later than Dec. 31,
2019, not in August 2020.
In reality, we have 53 months and counting as of
So what does this mean?
Let's do the math.
The 53 months equates to 1,127 workdays (five days per
week and 52 weeks per year with five holidays per year).
As of August 2015, we don't have more than four
comfortable years to equip the aircraft; we have a mere
There are quite a few aircraft population numbers
floating around, and I suspect the exact numbers are
It is routinely reported that we have 186,000
operational general aviation aircraft. Here are the 2012
general aviation statistics from the FAA:
155,000 piston aircraft.
11,500 jet aircraft.
These 222,300 aircraft represent the total registered
fleet including non-operational aircraft. The turboprop,
jet and rotorcraft numbers are likely accurate and should
carry forward as a percentage of the total fleet.
Consider the 186,000 operational aircraft, and we
currently need to be upgrading more than 165 aircraft
The FAA uses a number of approximately 140,000
transponder-equipped aircraft for its ADS-B calculations.
For the sake of argument and a conservative approach, I
will use its estimate: We need to be upgrading more than
124 aircraft per workday. Either way, we are woefully short.
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Keep in mind that only about 11,000 GA aircraft with
U.S. registry had ADS-B equipment as of May 1, 2015.
So after more than six years since the ADS-B Out
rule became final, of the 140,000 aircraft requiring
upgrades, less than 8 percent of the fleet has been
But why not wait to upgrade until the price comes
Again, look at the numbers. There are two things
that affect cost: equipment and installation.
The 2014 AEA-member survey results addressed
the issue of installations. For the piston GA community,
the labor averages about four workdays (32 hours),
with the simplest of systems (stand-alone UAT
installations) in as few as eight hours, according to the
For the turbine community, the average time is 80
hours or two staff-weeks.
Again, when considering the physical upgrades
necessary for GPS and transponder upgrades, I cannot
see these labor numbers being reduced. I do hope
labor rates will increase at least with inflation during the
next 53 months. So assuming the installation times are
consistent, the installation cost will increase over time.
If we assume some efficiency gained by experience,
the increased labor rate should, at best, keep installation
The argument that equipment costs will decrease
much more is not logical.
If all 140,000 aircraft could use the same single
product, the total sales would be less than 20 percent
of Apple's first-day sales of the iPad II.
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