In less than two years, beginning on January 1, 2020, aircraft flying in certain controlled airspace must be equipped with ADS-B Out and the clock is ticking. It’s a mandate that clubs must decide how to handle, and based on responses to our post on the AOPA, clubs are using different approaches to comply.
The GACE (Grumman Aerospace Corporation Employees) Flying Club based at McArthur Airport (KISP) on Long Island, NY chose to take advantage of the FAA’s $500 rebate incentive to equip its aircraft, while the Pocono Mountains Flying Club based at the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport (KMPO) in northeast Pennsylvania created a reserve account and is in the process of building up funds over time with plans to equip in the next year or two.
For GACE, the FAA rebate was the driver to act quickly. “We didn’t want to lose the $500 for each club plane,” Club Secretary Tom Keller said. Unfortunately for the club, the rebate was limited to one per registered owner, and both planes are registered to GACE. “They actually sent us two checks for $500 and then asked for $500 back, and we had to give the $500 back.”
The club began the process by discussing ADS-B options during a board meeting about a year and a half ago. The operations manager, Warren Miller, took the lead in doing the research on the types of equipment. There was some debate on whether to wait for prices to drop or upgrade sooner. “But the rebate put us over the top,” Tom said. The board brought the matter to the general membership, which verbally approved the capital expenditure at a monthly meeting.
Choosing equipment to fit the club’s needs
The club has two Cessna 172s – one has a KLN-94 GPS and the other does not have a GPS. “If we had Garmin in the plane, we would have gone with the Garmin system. But because we didn’t have Garmin in the plane, we went with the Lynx system,” Tom said.
One of the important considerations was the club has about 60 members, many of whom use iPads or tablets in the cockpit with a variety of apps – ForeFlight, Garmin, SkyCharts, and others. The Garmin panel-mounted transponder uses Bluetooth to connect to devices, while the Lynx system uses Wi-Fi.
“The way it was explained to us was the Bluetooth would only accept possibly 6 or 8 different units [tablets/phones],” Tom said. “If you wanted to get in that plane and go flying, you’d have to delete one [device] and then add yours in and it seemed like an extra, unnecessary step for us.”
A review of the Garmin GTX 345 transponder user manual says it saves the last 13 portable electronic devices (PEDs), and when powered on it automatically connects any available and previously saved PED.
The Lynx NGT-9000 uses Wi-Fi to connect to PEDs and doesn’t have a limit to how many can be connected. “When it’s Wi-Fi enabled, all we have to do is link up to the Wi-Fi. And once you link up on your iPad, you’ll already have that on your iPad,” Tom said. “You step into the airplane, you turn the system on and it comes up.”
The club spent about $15,000 to purchase and install the Lynx in both aircraft, drawing upon its avionics reserve fund that is built into the hourly rate. The club was formed in 1969 and Tom said it is financially solvent. In fact, GACE is in the process of putting new engines in both planes. The C-172N is going to be done first and then the C-172SP, and the club has the funds in its engine reserve account to pay the bill as soon as it comes due.
Building a reserve
The Pocono Mountains Flying Club was founded in 2012, operates a 1966 Cessna 150 and is in the process of replacing a second C-150. The 23-member club has a joining fee of $1,500 and dues that are $55 a month. The hourly rate is $55 (Hobbs time) wet.
They did not take advantage of the FAA rebate, and instead are waiting to see if technological advances result in lower costs. In the meantime, the club established an ADS-B fund to build a reserve for when it is ready to install the equipment, likely at its next annual in November or possibly the following annual in 2019.
“We earmarked about $5.60 per flight hour to go to the ADS-B fund,” Pocono Mountain Flying Club President Peter Hansen said. “We did this about 17 months ago. Our fund is probably at about $1,900 saved up at this point for ADS-B equipage.”
The aircraft has an old Narco transceiver and Peter said if it fails, the club will probably buy a new transponder with integrated ADS-B and WAAS GPS using the ADS-B fund to cover as much of that cost as possible, and then cover the rest directly out of the operational fund or the club’s reserve fund.
The club hopes by waiting, there will be a greater number of options and lower costs. “I think because this is such an important mandate and there are so many aircraft that are below the value curve, in other words the cost of installation of full scale ADS-B is a significant percentage of the cost of the entire aircraft, I’m betting in the next six to 12 months you’re going to see STCs issued for some of the ADS-B solutions coming out of the experimental aircraft world,” Peter said.
“Look at what they’ve already done with some of the STCs for the non-TSO PFDs that are now available, both the Dynon and the Garmin are now available to install in a whole range of legacy aircraft. I think what’s happening is the FAA is coming around to see the TSO mechanism can’t possibly keep up with the advances in safety, and this is going to be limited to anything that is safety related. ADS-B definitely fits in that category.”
Whether your club took advantage of the FAA rebate (reservations are now closed, but if you have a reservation you can still get the rebate, though time is running out) or your club is in the conversation about equipping with ADS-B, the mandate is coming sooner than you think. Clubs need to be thinking ahead, planning their finances, choosing their equipment, and scheduling an installation. And the clock is ticking.
|Name||GACE (Grumman Aerospace Corporation Employees) Flying Club|
|Location||Islip McArthur Airport (KISP), Islip, NY|
|Aircraft|| 1978 Cessna 172N ($125/hr)
1992 Cessna 172SP ($135/hr)
Rates are Tach time, wet.
|Joining fee||$750 ($250 refundable when leaving the club)|
|Name||Pocono Mountains Flying Club|
|Location||Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport (KMPO), Mount Pocono, PA|
|Through Web Page|
|Aircraft|| 1966 Cessna 150 ($55/hr)
Rates are Tach time, wet.
|Monthly dues||$55 per month|