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ADS-B authorisation instruments - effective 2 February 2017
Two temporary authorisation instruments will take effect alongside the final ADS-B equipment mandate for instrument flight rules (IFR) aircraft on 2 February 2017.
The temporary authorisation instruments will enable IFR aircraft not equipped with approved ADS-B transmitting equipment by 2 February 2017 to fly without ADS-B under specific conditions for a limited period of time.
Instrument for Australian registered aircraft
Australian registered aircraft manufactured before 6 February 2014 not equipped with ADS-B will be able to fly IFR for private operations below 10,000 feet in Class G airspace and also in Class D airspace subject to a clearance from air traffic control (ATC).
Additionally, aircraft fitted with a secondary surveillance radar (SSR) transponder will be able to transit Class C and E airspace when arriving at, or departing from, a Class D aerodrome, subject to a clearance from ATC. This instrument expires on 1 January 2020.
Instrument for foreign registered aircraft
Foreign registered aircraft with an SSR transponder may fly IFR in Australian airspace, including in oceanic control areas, but must fly under 29,000 feet in continental airspace unless they receive a clearance from ATC. This instrument expires on 6 June 2020.
Do these new instruments change the final ADS-B mandate?
The 2 February 2017 mandate still stands. CASA is introducing two instruments – one for domestic operators and one for international operators – that offer restricted, time-limited relief under specific conditions, which will come into effect on 2 February 2017. This is consistent with the action CASA has taken for every mandate introduced to help bring the aviation community on board and help address any concerns as new regulatory requirements are introduced.
All operators of non-ADS-B equipped aircraft that currently operate under instrument flight rules (IFR) will still need to make a decision about whether to equip, fly under the visual flight rules (VFR) only, or retire any unequipped aircraft. These instruments will give a limited number of domestic operators more time to make this decision but the 2 February 2017 mandate will still impact them – they will be restricted to lower level, uncontrolled airspace (Class G/under 10,000 feet) and controlled airspace around regional and metro Class D airports. The most fuel efficient options may not be available to non-equipped aircraft flying under IFR. These restrictions also help ensure pilots who have fitted ADS-B transmitting equipment benefit from being fitted by the 2 February 2017 mandate.
Do these new instruments impact operators who have already fitted ADS-B?
No. The reality is that ADS-B is an advanced system of surveillance that is superseding Australia’s old radar system. It offers far greater electronic surveillance coverage and extra safety and efficiency benefits, and most sectors of the aviation community have understood these benefits and fitted the technology. This has included almost 400 operators of non-IFR aircraft (VFR) who have voluntarily fitted ADS-B.
It is a CASA objective to encourage participation in aviation. We consult with industry throughout the development and implementation of a regulation and constantly monitor the impact any changes have on industry. Sometimes this means making adjustments to implementation if there is something that could be addressed.
On 2 February 2017, CASA will introduce very limited, conditional relief for the few operators who will not be equipped with ADS-B by the mandate. Ultimately, they will still need to fit ADS-B to continue to fly under the instrument flight rules or they can decide to only fly under the visual flight rules. Until they fit, there will be conditions on where and how they can fly – it may not be the most fuel-efficient option, and they won’t have the benefits of extra surveillance including greater situational awareness, better separation, system safety alerts and improved emergency assistance.
Why is ADS-B a mandatory requirement?
CASA’s overall role is to keep our skies safe. The implementation of ADS-B is an important step to ensuring our skies remain safe and efficient as they become busier, as the technology makes it possible for pilots to see all other equipped aircraft. It is also the way the world is moving and will be the only option in a few years for flying under the instrument flight rules.
Why is Australia introducing a final ADS-B mandate ahead of many other countries?
In comparison to the US and other countries, Australia’s electronic surveillance coverage before ADS-B was low with only around 18 per cent of continental airspace covered by radar. So the need to introduce ADS-B surveillance was more immediate than for some of our international counterparts. By the 2 February 2017 mandate, we know from monitoring and communication with the aviation community, that only a small number of operators will not be equipped. The mandate has been effective, bringing important safety and efficiency benefits for the majority of operators who have equipped.
Why offer relief to the final ADS-B mandate?
CASA and the Australian government have always been clear about its commitment to introduce ADS-B, and in general the uptake of ADS-B fitment has been extremely high thanks to the rollout of a number of fitment mandates over the years.
CASA and Airservices Australia have made significant decisions based on the implementation of the mandates, for example, Airservices Australia has been progressively decommissioning radar sites as ADS-B is implemented across Australia.
At each step of the way in the implementation of ADS-B, CASA has offered time-limited, conditional relief for small segments of the aviation community who have needed more time or assistance to meet the regulatory requirement. This has had little or no impact on the overall uptake.
CASA can only offer this limited relief because it applies to a very small number of operators, and will not negatively impact those who have already met the regulatory requirement.
In a few years, ADS-B will be mandatory in many places around the world, including Europe and the US. By 2020, it will simply not be an option to keep flying under the instrument flight rules with outdated surveillance technology.
Will ADS-B avionics be cheaper by 2020?
Market experts, such as FAA’s Chief Scientist and the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), advise they can’t see any market forces that will drive prices down any further by 2020.
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