FAA must justify ADS-B investment: industry advisory group

A special committee set up to steer the implementation of a critical NextGen technology has concluded there is – as yet – no business case for an equipage mandate.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chartered the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) in 2010 to provide a forum for the aviation community to define a strategy for incorporating Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) In technologies into the US National Airspace System.
The ARC is composed of about two dozen representatives from various aviation user groups, as well as segments of industry and government.
The ADS-B In ARC’s initial recommendations were published at the end of September and have just been released.
The committee was chaired by Steven J. Brown from the National Business Aviation Association and Thomas L. Hendricks (pictured) of the Air Transport Association of America.
While the ARC said it supported ADS–B as the primary mechanism to provide future surveillance for ATC in the NAS it said that, based on the current maturity of ADS–B In applications and uncertainties regarding the achievable benefits, there is not a NAS user community business case for near-term ADS–B In equipage.
“Therefore, at this time, the ARC does not support an equipage mandate,” it said, adding a recommendation that the FAA demonstrate to the satisfaction of the user community that equipage benefits are both achievable and operationally implementable in a cost-effective manner.
“The ARC notes operational demonstrations of ADS–B In applications are in various stages of maturity but the required equipment standards, certification guidance, and operational approval guidance are not sufficiently mature to enable widespread manufacture of avionics and implementation of ADS–B In applications other than those directed toward situational awareness,” said the committee.
The ARC recommends the FAA use these demonstration projects to mature the equipment standards, certification guidance, and operational approval guidance to allow NAS-wide ADS–B In implementation.
The ARC also recommends these field trials to validate key assumptions and benefits and to assist in relating benefits to equipage rates.
It also recommends the FAA focus funding on accelerating the development of equipment standards, certification guidance, operational approval guidance, and any necessary policy adjustments to enable operational implementation of these applications.
Feedback provided by the aviation community in response to those recommendations will be incorporated into an ARC final report due by June 2012 that will detail suggested next steps.