Airservices is Australia's air navigation service provider - we provide air traffic control, aviation rescue and fire fighting and air navigation services.

Myths busted

To help owners, operators and pilots, we have compiled, and busted, some myths that have been circulating about fitment requirements and regulations.

Because of the ADS-B mandates I can’t fly my aircraft at all

BUSTED – if you decide not to install ADS-B that does not mean you will be grounded. It means you will no longer be permitted to fly IFR. ADS-B gives you priority in the air and the freedom to continue flying IFR with optimal efficiency and safety benefits. If you have not installed ADS-B, you will still be able to fly, but only under VFR.

The industry at large is not in support of the introduction of ADS-B

BUSTED – quite a number of airlines, operators and pilots have expressed their full support in the benefits ADS-B offers. These include, amongst many others, Virgin, Qantas, the Royal Flying Doctor Service – Queensland Section, Alliance Airlines, CHC Helicopters, Wings4Kidz plus a number of GA IFR operators.

Read some their testimonials on our website – www.airservicesaustralia.com/projects/ads-b/testimonials

The reason we have a mandate is because ASTRA – a representative industry group, which includes ASAC, RAAA, AOPA, AAA and others – asked CASA for an ADS-B mandate.

ADS-B costs many thousands of dollars to install – more than the entire cost of my aircraft

BUSTED – there are a number of avionics products available that will meet required standards with some that cost less than AUD $4000. Available products include those that have an integrated GPS inside a transponder (like Garmin, L3, and Appareo) or transponders that connect to an existing GPS engine (like Garmin, Trig, Bendix King, Honeywell, Rockwell and Dynon).

Whilst installed price depends on numerous factors, the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) has indicated that simple installations can be as low as AUD $6500.
Some avionics products also enable ADS-B IN through the use of tablet devices for added benefits.

Email the AEA, info@aea.net, to locate a LAME in your area who can quote to fit your aircraft with ADS-B. Don’t forget to shop around to ensure you are getting value for money.

I own/fly a small GA IFR aircraft. The airlines and operators of larger aircraft are the only ones who will benefit

BUSTED – ADS-B offers a number of benefits for smaller GA aircraft.

All aircraft and helicopters, large and small, are visible accurately on our controller’s screens when they are flying within surveillance coverage. Our ADS-B coverage at lower levels is quite extensive.

If your aircraft is fitted with ADS-B IN capability, then you too will have increased situational awareness of traffic in your vicinity, which is particularly helpful when outside of controlled airspace.

Even if you are not fitted with ADS-B IN, airlines, operators of larger aircraft and anyone else who has fitted it will have much greater situational awareness leading to less reliance on see and avoid and ATC-provided traffic information.

Additionally, if you experience an emergency situation, our controllers can pass on accurate location information to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for a swifter response.

You are forcing the ADS-B mandate on GA in Australia – you should have waited until 2020 like in the US

BUSTED – according to the FAA’s Chief Scientist (Surveillance) Doug Arbuckle, waiting until the US mandate will not provide a significant reduction in the cost for ADS-B equipment as some had hoped for due to the demand for the fitment of more than 250 000 aircraft in the US.

“From our point of view, all the products are that are going to be on the market are now on the market and we don’t see any forces that will drive the costs down any further,” said Mr Arbuckle. “Pricing is very aggressive. We have talked to several vendors who have said they have made mass buys of hardware to keep the costs as low as they are now, so we really don’t see anything that would cause prices to go up or down in the near future.”

Furthermore, from a business perspective, operators can currently borrow money at historical low interest rates and at a relatively favourable exchange rate. There could be a significant change in the purchase price of ADS-B equipment if either of those things change in the future.

The Australian aviation industry including AOPA, RAAA and the ASTRA Council agreed and asked CASA, in writing, to proceed with the ADS-B mandatory roll out for all IFR aircraft in 2017. The consultation process was well accepted and AOPA (and others) congratulated CASA on the consultation process at that time.

Unlike the FAA, Australia has not required fitment of ADS-B into VFR aircraft. The FAA rule captures all VFR aircraft operating into ADS-B airspace, or within 30 miles of major city airports.

Unlike the US and other countries, Australia did not have much electronic surveillance coverage before ADS-B with only around 18 per cent of its continental airspace covered by radar.

With ADS-B, we have continent wide surveillance coverage above FL290 which is more accurate, more reliable and cheaper than radar. Extensive coverage exists at FL200; and since Airservices is funded entirely by airspace users, those savings are reflected in your airspace charges.

ADS-B coverage is available to the ground level at many locations across the country and this coverage will improve in the future as more ground stations are rolled out.

For more than 11 years, ADS-B has been used to provide ATC separation services and has provided operators with safety and efficiency benefits which they otherwise not have had access to.

When you say “with ADS-B you will get increased access to airspace”, surely you mean for the larger aircraft

BUSTED – with increased surveillance coverage and ADS-B equipage comes reduced separation standards that allows for the increased likelihood of clearance to preferred flight levels, and unrestricted climbs or descents, for all aircraft.

Delaying the mandate to align us with the US mandate won’t hurt anyone

BUSTED – ADS-B has been introduced gradually since 2007 ensuring pilots and operators of IFR aircraft have had sufficient time to prepare. The ADS-B fitment rate is now extremely high. The more than 2,000 Australian registered IFR aircraft which are already fitted , plus a further 500 non-IFR aircraft which have also voluntarily fitted, would have been disadvantaged by a delay to the mandate.

Airservices has also made investment decisions around not replacing radars based on the ADS-B mandates. Any delay would mean that radars need to be maintained longer or replaced which impacts on the costs back to airspace users.

Deployment of ADS-B is just a transfer of costs from Airservices to the industry

BUSTED – Airservices gets it funding from its customers via airways charges and not from the government. To provide equivalent surveillance across the continent would involve installing and maintaining radars and recovering the hundreds of millions of dollars from our customers through increased airways charges.

The total cost of ADS-B ground stations and having operators install ADS-B in their aircraft is significantly lower and provides better long term functionality including the option of ADS-B IN. This option also has synergy with the GNSS program and the recent removal of 179 conventional navigational aids.

If you have an ADS-B myth that you would like busted you can complete and submit an online form and one of our ADS-B fitment team will take a look.

If you require information about fitting ADS-B, call our ADS-B hotline: 1800 844 487