If Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out equipment is already installed in your aircraft but isn’t functioning properly, you may receive some unwanted attention from the FAA.
Once ADS-B Out equipment is installed, it must be operational and broadcast the required information at all times. While FAR 91.225 provides that aircraft must have ADS-B out equipment installed to operate in designated airspace “after January 1, 2020,” the regulation also affects present-day operations by requiring that “each person operating an aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out must operate this equipment in the transmit mode at all times.”
The FAA’s ADS-B Compliance Monitoring System is already operational and is capable of detecting each flight of an aircraft with ADS-B Out equipment that is failing to broadcast the information required by FAR 91.227. The information required by the FAR includes 19 different indications such as the aircraft's latitude and longitude, barometric pressure altitude, and transponder identification code.
The AOPA Legal Services Plan is aware of several cases in which aircraft owners have received a “Letter of Finding” from the FAA’s Avionics Branch in Washington, DC, notifying the owner of the date of the flight in question and the nature of the ADS-B Out equipment’s deficiency. The letter also provides a point of contact to call within 30 days to discuss a plan of corrective action. As with any potential FAR violation, aircraft owners and pilots are advised to contact an attorney prior to discussing the matter with anyone.
How can you confirm that your ADS-B equipment is functioning properly? According to the FAA’s website, you can send an email to the agency at [email protected] with your aircraft’s registration number and request an ADS-B Out equipment check. However, consult with your attorney or the AOPA Legal Services Plan before you do so, as both the aircraft owner and the pilot of the aircraft could be liable for any regulatory violations discovered.