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Increased information reducing issues with FAA rebateIncreased information reducing issues with FAA rebate

Too little time in rule airspace is leading problemToo little time in rule airspace is leading problem

Increased information available to general aviation aircraft owners has resulted in fewer problems qualifying for the FAA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out rebate, said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic. The biggest problem has been failing to fly for the required 30 minutes in 14 CFR 91.225 rule airspace, he explained. Thanks to AOPA articles and updates to the FAA’s frequently asked rebate questions, “the FAA has seen a decline in the percentage of rule airspace failures.”

Lancaster Avionics technician Scott Kuhns has just installed a FreeFlight Systems universal access transceiver and Wi-Fi module behind the baggage compartment of a Cessna 172. The UAT will provide both ADS-B Out and In capabilities. Photo by Mike Collins.

ADS-B uses GPS satellites instead of ground-based radar to determine aircraft position, and is a fundamental technology behind the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen. The FAA has mandated ADS-B Out equipage for operations after Jan. 1, 2020, in any airspace where a transponder is required today. 

As of Dec. 14, 3,836 aircraft owners had reserved a $500 ADS-B rebate in the FAA incentive program that became available Sept. 19. Of those reservations, 1,717 have been installed and validated, and $500 checks have been processed for the 1,297 aircraft owners who have completed the claim process. The FAA is offering the rebate for one year or until 20,000 rebates have been claimed. More information about the rebate is available from the FAA online

Qualifying for the rebate requires, after installing a qualified ADS-B Out system, flight for at least 30 minutes in the airspace where, under 14 CFR 91.225, ADS-B Out will be required after Jan. 1, 2020: in Class A; in and above all 30-nautical-mile Mode C veils surrounding Class B; in and above Class C; and Class E airspace at and above 10,000 feet msl, excluding airspace at and below 2,500 feet agl, as well as at and above 3,000 feet msl over the Gulf of Mexico from the U.S. coastline out to 12 nm.

Duke said that about half the ADS-B validation flights that fail the General Aviation Incentive Requirements Status (GAIRS) parameter—meaning they don’t meet all rebate requirements, and the report lacks the GAIRS code required to claim the rebate—did not include any flight time in 14 CFR 91.225 rule airspace. Many others who failed the rule airspace requirement flew some time in the airspace, but not the required 30 minutes. AOPA encourages pilots to fly at least 35 minutes in rule airspace to ensure they are complying with this rebate requirement.

Some pilots may have failed the GAIRS because of errors in how the FAA depicted some airspace within its ADS-B Performance Monitor system. The 30-nm Mode C veils around some Class B primary airports were improperly located—for example, the Orlando Mode C veil was erroneously centered on the Orlando VOR, about 7 nm north of Orlando International Airport—and rule airspace over the Gulf of Mexico was not correctly depicted.

“All of the errors have been fixed with regard to airspace dimension,” Duke said. “AOPA has requested that the FAA review reports with red GAIRS [highlighted in the ADS-B performance report as a failing parameter]—those who have not passed—to see if they were in these areas.”

After AOPA pointed out the airspace errors, Duke added, the association worked with the FAA to verify that all airspace dimensions in the monitoring system are correct. “AOPA and industry are very involved in the program, helping pilots who get a red GAIRS and making sure the system is working correctly.”

AOPA encourages all pilots who fail the rule airspace portion of the flight validation to contact the FAA by email for additional guidance. The FAA can provide information on the reason for the failure, which can help prevent repeated and unnecessary validation flights.

Aircraft owners who have not yet contemplated equipping can use AOPA’s online ADS-B selector tool or the FAA’s online equipment list. AOPA offers a comprehensive ADS-B resource online.

Claiming the rebate is a five-step process. First, select the equipment you wish to purchase and schedule its installation. Second, reserve your rebate online and obtain a Rebate Reservation Code. Third, have the equipment installed. Fourth, fly according to the rebate program rules to validate equipment performance and receive a GAIRS Code. Finally, go online and enter your Rebate Reservation Code and GAIRS Code to claim the rebate.

Some aircraft owners are finding out that their aircraft registration information or mailing address is not correct in the FAA registry, which will delay the rebate process. AOPA encourages owners to check their aircraft registry data and correct any issues prior to applying for the rebate.

Also, many pilots are reporting installation wait times longer than the 90 days allowed in the FAA’s rebate system to schedule the installation. The Aircraft Electronics Association noted at December’s Equip 2020 task force meeting that many shops now have waits of more than 90 days for an installation slot. Pilots can still apply for a rebate, selecting the maximum 90 days allowed for the installation, and have the work done after 90 days have passed. What is critical is that the installation can be completed, and the aircraft successfully test flown—that is, without any Performance Monitor or GAIRS failures—and the rebate claimed within 150 days of applying.

Members should contact AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672) or the FAA for assistance with any questions about the rebate program or ADS-B equipage.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: Avionics, ADSB, Advocacy

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