FAA Clears Confusion Surrounding ADS-B requirement for Non-Electrical Aircraft

Federal Aviation Administration Office of the Chief Counsel has issued a legal interpretation recently. It clarifies the requirements for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), for aircrafts that are operating without electrical systems.

ADS-B Out equipage will be compulsory from January 1, 2020 for aircrafts that are flying in airspace where a transponder is required today.

The requirement on the use of altitude-reporting transponder is mentioned in the regulation 14 CFR 91.215(b)(3) and 91.215(b)(5). This rule gives an exemption stating “any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon or glider”.

A comparable exemption to the ADS-B Out requirement is provided in 14 CFR 91.225(e). It specifies “any aircraft that was not originally certificated with an electrical system or that has not been certified subsequently with such a system installed, including balloons and gliders”.

Pilots and aircraft owners are confused as the phrase “engine driven” has been omitted.

Justin Barkowski, AOPA director of regulatory affairs explained that the legal interpretation showed that the aircrafts that have been excluded from ADS-B Out equipage and transponder requirement are the same.

This implies that aircrafts that have electric starter or batteries will not be required to install ADS-B Out.

As per regulation 14 CFR 91.225(e), aircrafts not equipped with ADS-B Out to fly within thirty nautical miles of a Class B primary airport, while it has to remain outside of any Class C or Class B airspace area.

Along with this, eligible aircraft can fly beneath Class C and Class B airspace. These aircrafts are not permitted to fly above these two airspaces and should remain below 10,000 MSL.

Barkowski added, the anxiety was that the exceptions to equip with ADS-B Out have expanded to include those required to equip with a transponder.

It is expected that FAA make out with a technical amendment in the coming time to remove the discrepancy that is there between 14 CFR 91.225 and 91.215.


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