Business & GA, Embedded Avionics

Australia Extends ADS-B Deadline on Private Aircraft

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | November 23, 2016
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[Avionics Magazine 11-28-2016] Australia’s civil aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), has formally announced a delay in its airspace mandated regulations regarding Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast Out (ADS-B Out) technology. Within its latest aviation industry monthly update, CASA stated the deadline for private aircraft flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) to be equipped with ADS-B has changed. 
Two automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) antennas (short, white with three guide wires) atop a communications tower located on the Nullabor Plain in Australia. Photo: Airservices Australia. 
The original timeline for mandated ADS-B equipage for privately operated aircraft flying IFR in Australia was Feb. 2, 2017. That rule has been extended to Jan. 1, 2020. However, CASA has included a number of conditions for private aircraft as part of this deadline extension. Private aircraft operating without ADS-B under IFR in Australian airspace will be subject to the following conditions:
Class C and E Airspace: Only allowed to facilitate arrival or departure from a Class D airport, with prior clearance from Air Traffic Control (ATC) and only when equipped with a secondary surveillance radar transponder
Class D Airspace: Subject to ATC clearance 
Class G Airspace: Must operate below 10,000 feet in uncontrolled Class G airspace
The deadline extension has only been issued for what CASA classifies as private aircraft, which in the U.S., is classified as Part 23 or aircraft weighing below 12,500 pounds. Australian registered commercial transport, charter and “aerial work” aircraft are still required to be equipped with ADS-B by the Feb. 2, 2017 deadline. 
According to the latest equipage number reported by CASA, aircraft equipped with ADS-B conduct 88 percent of IFR operations currently occurring in Australia. Aircraft operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) are not required to be equipped with ADS-B in Australia. 
Regardless of the extension, one of the key differences between Australia’s ADS-B mandate and the FAA’s 2020 rule for the U.S., is that CASA will still permit non-IFR flight operations for non-ADS-B equipped private aircraft beyond the new Jan. 1, 2020 deadline. Australian Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Airservices Australia has published a fact sheet about the nation’s ADS-B mandate, which states, “If you have not installed ADS-B, you will still be able to fly, but only under VFR.”
Airservices Australia has been introducing ADS-B surveillance into the nation’s airspace since 2007. More than 1,800 Australian registered IFR aircraft have already been equipped with the technology, as well as another 350 non-IFR aircraft. The Australian ANSP estimates there are less than 800 aircraft that are required to be equipped with ADS-B are still in need of upgrades. CASA Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody, said the extension would benefit a small number of private aircraft operators who have not been able to equip with ADS-B yet. 
During a speech given to the Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) in October prior to the official notice of the extension of the deadline, Carmody talked about industry opposition to the ADS-B mandate in Australia. 
“There are requests from some sections of the industry to delay implementation of ADS-B until 2020, questioning the costs cited in the Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) and the consequential cost impact on GA. Over the last five years, there are many operators, individuals and organizations that have made a commitment to fit ADS-B. They have fitted it in good faith on the basis that the mandate was in place by February 2017. … I do wonder though whether a decision to delay the mandate might actually increase costs for industry, but maybe that’s a thought for another day,” said Carmody.

CASA has also committed to publishing a new provision to extend the deadline for foreign registered aircraft to June 6, 2020, which is the deadline for European-registered aircraft to become equipped with ADS-B. The provision would include at least one condition for those aircraft to be subject to ATC clearances and restricted to operations under 29,000 feet in continental airspace. 

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