FAA Policy for Authorization to Operators of Aircraft Not Equipped with ADS-B

 In news, Press

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today released its long-awaited policy for authorization of operators of aircraft that are not equipped with ADS-B. The policy statement will officially be published in the Federal Register on Monday, April 1. The policy becomes effective on January 2, 2020.

The policy builds on 14 CFR 91.225(g) (the ADS-B rule) which identifies the mechanism for unequipped aircraft to request a deviation from the ADS-B rule by contacting the Air Traffic Control (ATC) facility with jurisdiction over the airspace at least one hour before the proposed operation.

The policy notices establishes:

  1. a general policy that would apply to all operators of non-equipped aircraft seeking authorization to operate in ADS-B Out airspace;
  2. specific policies for handling authorization requests from scheduled operators;
  3. policies for other than scheduled operations at capacity constrained airports;
  4. guidance on the provision of air traffic services to non-equipped aircraft that have failed to obtain an authorization to operate in ADS-B Out airspace; and
  5. plans for implementation of the authorization policy.

The FAA states that “the rule as written was not intended to accommodate scheduled operators who are transiting ADS-B Out airspace under the jurisdiction of multiple ATC facilities on a routine or regular basis…” and that “the FAA will not issue daily or routine authorizations for scheduled operations… and is most likely to issue an authorization when a compelling or unanticipated need to deviate from ADS-B Out equipage requirements exists.”

The FAA further states that “to the extent possible, operators of equipped aircraft should not be penalized or have their ATC services affected by operators who choose not to equip their aircraft with ADS-B Out equipment.” Building on this statement, the FAA reinforces that for capacity constrained airports “it is far more likely that the FAA will deny rather than issue authorization requests from unscheduled operators to operate non-equipped aircraft at these airports.”

A commonly asked questions about ADS-B equipage is the implications of operating in ADS-B airspace without being equipped or authorized under (g)(2). The FAA states that “Any operator who operates a non-equipped aircraft in ADS-B Out airspace without obtaining a preflight authorization… will be presumed to have violated the regulations. The Administrator is authorized to assess sanctions for such violations pursuant to the FAA’s statutory authority.” There is recognition in the policy of ATC granting in-flight clearance to access ADS-B airspace to address real-time conditions in the National Airspace System.

Finally, the policy discusses the FAA’s work on developing a process for requesting authorizations for non-equipped aircraft. The FAA discussed in more detail at this week’s Equip 2020 meeting that the intent is to create a website interface to facilitate the authorizations (see, FOP19-15).