Sky Lease I Faces $422,500 ADS-B Out Penalty from FAA

By Kelsey Reichmann | January 12, 2021
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Sky Lease 1 Inc. is facing a steep financial penalty after operating one of its Boeing 747 aircraft, such as the Sky Lease Cargo 747 pictured above, without required ADS-B equipment. (Image, courtesy of Albert Lua)

Sky Lease I, Inc. is facing a $422,500 civil penalty for allegedly operating two Boeing 747 aircraft without required avionics equipment, the Federal Aviation Administration announced in a Jan. 8 press release. Sky Lease I must respond to the FAA’s letter within 30 days.

The FAA claims the aircraft did not have the correct version of the required Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out which broadcasts an aircraft’s position, velocity, and other information, according to the release. The FAA’s rules required the ADS-B Out to be on aircraft operating in certain controlled U.S. airspace starting Jan. 1, 2020.

There are options and access to FAA-controlled airspace available to those flying non-ADS-B equipped aircraft, however, the space is limited and options pursued by the agency to protect transmissions broadcasted by private and corporate jets has not worked to the extent desired by operators.

The alleged flights include 56 flights between June 21, 2020 and July 12, 2020. The flights in question occurred in the U.S. as well as inbound flights from Bolivia, China, Canada, Colombia, and Peru, according to the FAA. The aircraft entry points into controlled airspace occurred in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Anchorage.

The FAA’s ADS-B Out requirements include an approved GPS receiver, ADS-B Out system including extended squitter or universal access transceiver, and antennas for the GPS receiver and ADS-B Out system, according to the FAA’s website. Aircraft can also be equipped with ADS-B In avionics and be compliant with this rule.

The FAA’s fact sheet on ADS-B Out Equipage Rule, which is dated Dec. 14, 2017, initially warned that between 100,000 and 160,000 general aviation aircraft would need to be equipped with ADS-B Out and that manufacturers could be overwhelmed. However, in what appears to be a later update, the website says there are no longer any continuing obstacles to equip aircraft with ADS-B Out.

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