Below is a short overview of submitting a request via ADAPT. A full user guide is available from the FAA.
Step 1: Flight Information Entry Form
The first step is to access ADAPT and fill out the Flight Information Entry form, which appears similar to the recently discontinued domestic flight plan format. Clicking each field will open a box explaining how to fill out that section. The route of flight entered should be similar to what you intend to fly, although the route entered does not have to not match routes or reroutes provided by ATC; changes are expected.
Field 11 is where the specific ADS-B information is selected. Most pilots will select either “unequipped” or “inoperative” for the “ADS-B Position Source TSO” and “ADS-B Link TSO.” You can leave “Mask Angle” and “Baro-Aiding equipment installed” unchanged; they are not relevant, and the selection will not affect ADAPT.
Then click “Check Availability” to see if alternative surveillance is available for your flight. The “Transaction Number” does not need to be recorded and it is not an authorization.
After clicking “Check Availability” the page will automatically scroll down to show a “Request an Authorized Deviation for this flight” link, which should be clicked as it is the next step.
Step 2: Deviation Request
The applicant will complete the additional fields in the Deviation Request form. It is important that the email address provided is accurate and accessible, because the official approval will only be emailed to this address. Pilots should confirm receipt of the approval email before conducting that flight.
The “Reason for Request” includes several options, presented below with a short explanation of what each means.
- ADS-B Equipment Installation – This flight is associated with equipping with ADS-B.
- ADS-B Equipment Repair – This flight is associated with repairing the ADS-B system.
- Insufficient GPS – General aviation aircraft use WAAS GPS as the position source for the ADS-B system, so general aviation pilots will generally not need to select this option (WAAS GPS units conduct performance monitoring and can alert the pilot to position errors; RAIM checks are not required).
- Ferry Aircraft – Normally associated with a ferry permit/special flight permit.
- Fringe Operation – See discussion on fringe operations and who qualifies.
- Crop Duster – An operation that relates to agricultural aircraft operations (“Flight Classification” should be entered as Part 91 for all crop duster operations).
- Antique – This includes non-electrical aircraft; a transponder with altitude encoding is required.
- Other – Any other type of request not listed; details must be listed in comments box. For example, special operations that are not routine, like medical transportation or humanitarian flights, might need access to ADS-B rule airspace. But any reason can be submitted so long as it is representative of that flight. Pilot proficiency or currency flights may be considered routine flights by the FAA so are likely to require ADS-B and unlikely to be approved in ADAPT. Most revenue generating flights are also unlikely to be approved.
All other fields can be filled out as applicable to the flight. Comments entered as part of the application process are not reviewed by the FAA during the approval process when the flight is automatically approved and manual review is not required. Finally, the applicant can submit the request and await the FAA’s response, which is discussed in the next step.
Step 3: Status of the Request
One of three options will appear after submitting the deviation request: approved, denied, or pending. The status of the request will be provided. If you are approved, you must ensure you have received an approval email because it serves as the official record. Retain this email. A pending response means manual review will be necessary and it may take longer to receive a response.
A denial indicates that flight cannot be completed as requested. The FAA will not provide a specific reason for the denial because of legal limitations. The pilot can revise the flight and resubmit. AOPA advises pilots who are denied that they can adjust their flight, as they feel is necessary, and select “other” under “Reason for Request.” Selecting “other” ensures the flight will have a manual review and that the accompanying comment submitted by the pilot will be read.
For inquiries about the process or if you have any questions, see ADAPT contacts.
Fringe Airport Policy
One of the “reason for request” drop-down options in ADAPT is “fringe operation.” A fringe operation is a flight that will take place at a fringe airport, which is defined in FAA Order JO 7210.3 as “…an airport that is approximately 25 NMs or farther from the Class B airspace primary airport and is not served by a scheduled air carrier; or an airport outside the Mode C veil at which aircraft operations in the traffic pattern routinely enter the Mode C veil.” JO 7210.3 further stipulates that fringe operations must: “(a) not adversely impact other operations receiving radar service in the area; (b) must take place below 2,500 feet AGL; (c) remain clear of traffic flows; and (d) are to be conducted in the airport traffic pattern and via the most direct routing out of the Mode C veil, consistent with existing traffic and noise abatement procedures.” The FAA will likely approve fringe operations that follow these guidelines and are submitted via ADAPT. ADAPT is best used for infrequent operations.
For long-term authorizations for fringe operations in aircraft not equipped with ADS-B Out, such as for based aircraft, the ATC facility responsible for that airspace can be contacted to enter into a Letter of Agreement (LOA). An LOA will replace the need to conduct per-flight requests in ADAPT. This is one of the few cases where the local ATC facility is contacted directly. AOPA can assist with contact information, see ADAPT contacts.
Inoperative ADS-B System
Pilots can submit an ATC authorization request via ADAPT for operations of an aircraft with an inoperative ADS-B system, per 14 CFR 91.225(g)(1), by selecting “ADS-B equipment repair” as the reason for the request. The regulation allows pilots to fly to the airport of ultimate destination, including any intermediate stops, or to proceed to a place where suitable repairs can be made, or both. Although the regulation states the request may be made at any time, ADAPT requires at least a 1-hour lead time.
ADAPT is only used for flights with an inoperable ADS-B system that will transit ADS-B required airspace. There is no requirement to seek an FAA authorization prior to flying an aircraft with an inoperable ADS-B system if that flight will not transit ADS-B required airspace (see AC 90-114, “Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Operations”). ADAPT requires that the aircraft have an operating transponder with altitude encoding.
A failure of the ADS-B system in flight will be handled by ATC and does not require the operator to make any request via ADAPT for that flight, including after the failure has occurred.
Inoperative Transponder or Aircraft Not Equipped with Transponder
ADAPT will automatically deny any applicant who does not have an operable transponder with altitude encoding. Pilots who have a transponder failure must call the ATC facility with responsibility for that airspace to request an ATC authorization in accordance with 14 CFR 91.215(d). AOPA can assist with contact information, see ADAPT contacts.
Pilots desiring access to ADS-B required airspace flying an aircraft that does not have a transponder with altitude encoding capability at all, such as a non-electrical aircraft, antique aircraft, or agricultural aircraft, cannot use ADAPT and instead must call the ATC facility with responsibility for that airspace in order to gain access. Long-term requests for ATC authorization are to be made to the ATC facility responsible for that airspace. Pilots can request to enter into a Letter of Agreement (LOA). An LOA will replace the need to conduct per-flight requests via ADAPT. AOPA can assist with contact information, see ADAPT contacts.