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What is ADS-B?

The FAA published Federal Regulation 14 CFR § 91.225 and 14 CFR § 91.227 in May 2010. The final rule dictates that effective January 1, 2020, aircraft operating in airspace defined in 91.225 are required to have an Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) system that includes a certified position source capable of meeting requirements defined in 91.227. These regulations set a minimum performance standard for both ADS-B Transmitter and the position sources integrated with the ADS-B equipment your aircraft.

The statement above can be found on the FAQ page of the FAA’s website giving details to most of the questions you might have regarding the new mandate to install these ADS-B systems.

ADS-B, as mentioned above, is an acronym meaning Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast. Essentially, with this system installed (along with a certified WAAS GPS receiver), your aircraft will send certified satellite based position information to ATC and other aircraft with ADS-B In equipment making traffic avoidance easier and safer. It’s part of the FAA’s NextGen program who’s goal is to streamline air travel by making the infrastructure more efficient and saving airlines and customers more money. ADS-B will nearly eliminate the need for ground based radar systems as each aircraft will send position information to ATC based on it’s own on-board GPS equipment.


What is required to be compliant by 2020?

To be compliant, the FAA requires the installation of an ADS-B transmitter (Out) and a certified GPS receiver by the year 2020 for flight into any airspace defined by 14 CFR § 91.225. This includes most controlled airspace. Effectively, any airspace that currently requires a Mode C transponder will require an ADS-B system, however, the Mode C transponder will still be required for flight into these airspaces as well. The initial cost may be of concern to many GA pilots, understandably so, but some ADS-B solutions are more affordable than one might think. There are many transponders on the market now that not only provide ADS-B Out but also have a WAAS GPS receiver built-in, fulfilling the minimum mandate requirements with only one unit! Some products even include ADS-B In, like Garmin’s GTX 345 which provides a “…one-box, one-swap solution that enables owners and operators to meet ADS-B requirements with minimal expense, downtime and disruption to their panels — while providing all the weather and traffic benefits of ADS-B ‘In.'” ADS-B In will not be required but carries many perks if you do decide to jump on board including display of other ADS-B compliant aircraft and subscription-free weather information delivered right to your compatible displays! For those who do not have a compatible display, some products like Garmin’s GTX 345 also include built in bluetooth capabilities allowing you to send traffic and weather information to your tablet using the ForeFlight app or the Garmin Pilot app.


Don’t wait…

Although you do have the option of waiting until Jan. 1, 2020, there are several good reasons why you shouldn’t. In fact, the sooner you get compliant the better. For starters, the FAA is offering a $500 rebate, tailored to the fixed-wing GA community, to the first 20,000 claims before September 19, 2017!  Aircraft eligible for this rebate include U.S.-registered, fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraft. There are a few other requirements to meet, so head on over to the FAA’s General Aviation ADS-B Rebate Program page for more details.

If your aircraft doesn’t meet those requirements, you should still consider getting compliant before the deadline for multiple reasons. Obviously, by Jan. 1, 2020, if your aircraft doesn’t meet the requirements of the ADS-B mandate, you will not be allowed to fly into nearly any controlled airspace. Meanwhile, avionics shops across the country will likely be booked solid and unable to work you in for several more months due to all of the aircraft that still haven’t met the mandate’s requirements.


Why choose Rocky Mountain Aircraft Services?

Our team of experienced technicians understand ADS-B installations well. Not only will they ensure the job is done right the first time, but you can be sure the quality is the best the industry has to offer. Having the best team is just one of the reasons why you should choose Rocky Mountain Aircraft Services, but the list goes on…

Located in the Flathead Valley of Northwest Montana, one of the most premiere destinations in the United States and a mere 30 min. drive to Glacier National Park (the Crown Jewel of the Continent), it’s not hard to see the advantages of having your aircraft serviced here while you take the family on a day hike in the beautiful Rocky Mountains along alpine trails and pristine Glacier-fed lakes or ski the slopes at the Big Mountain Ski Resort. If you’re still not convinced that the Flathead Valley is worth your time, check out what the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce has to say about the area. You won’t be disappointed!


As an authorized installation and service center for Garmin, Honeywell, Bendix/King, Avidyne, and many other manufacturers, you can be sure our experienced staff will provide you with the highest quality of service available.


Bench Repair

RMAS retains a sizable inventory of bench harnesses for a variety of applications and supporting test equipment. Call us with make and model of your unit to check it against our capabilities.



Rocky Mountain Aircraft Services provides complete nose-to-tail services on all aircraft covered by our airframe and powerplant ratings including annual inspections, maintenance, preventative maintenance, repair, and alterations.

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