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NavWorx calls it quits

Closure leaves ADS-B customers with few alternatives

Beleaguered avionics manufacturer NavWorx Inc. has closed its doors, according to a message posted on the company’s website Oct. 19. The company’s primary product, the ADS600-B universal access transceiver (UAT)—which provides both Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out and In capability—was the subject of an FAA airworthiness directive June 6. Since then, the company had been working to certify a modified Gen 2.0 UAT using a different WAAS GPS position source.

This NavWorx ADS600-B Universal Access Transceiver has been installed in the tail of a Cessna 152. 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 flights after Jan. 1, 2020, in airspace where a transponder is required today.

“The ADS600-B Gen 2.0 product utilizes a GPS module from a third-party vendor,” said the statement on the NavWorx website. “Although the vendor represented their GPS module met 14 CFR 91.227, the FAA recently determined the GPS module does not meet 14 CFR 91.227.

“We are unable to sell the ADS600-B, or provide AD updates, for either certified or experimental aircraft. Therefore, we are not currently conducting any business and have ceased operations. We will provide updates if they become available,” the statement concluded.

NavWorx’s distributor, Dallas Avionics Inc., said that it has discontinued distribution and support of all NavWorx products. “Over the past year, Dallas Avionics, Inc. has made every attempt to facilitate the success of NavWorx and support of their customers. Unfortunately, under the current conditions and outlook, we can no longer continue to provide this service,” said a statement on the Dallas Avionics website. “All pre-orders for NavWorx products, repairs and upgrades received by Dallas Avionics, Inc. will be canceled effective immediately.”

Neither NavWorx nor Dallas Avionics responded to requests Oct. 19 for comment on the closure.

In order to install an ADS-B Out unit in a certified aircraft, the manufacturer must produce sufficient data showing, to the FAA’s satisfaction, that the product meets the applicable requirements—even if the manufacturer itself has already made that determination. “At this point, it’s not clear whether the GPS module does not comply with the FAA’s ADS-B rule requirements, or if compliance could not be demonstrated—which could happen if the required GPS performance data was not available to NavWorx,” said Justin Barkowski, AOPA director of regulatory affairs. “Regardless of the reason, the closure puts some NavWorx customers in a tight spot.”

The AD’s final rule prohibits the use of the WAAS GPS position source built into the affected UATs. By Jan. 11, 2018, owners of aircraft with the affected UATs must couple the UAT to an approved GPS position source or disable the UAT by pulling the circuit breaker and placing a placard in full view of the pilot.

Since the final rule was issued, three pilots received FAA approval for alternative methods of compliance (AMOCs) for the AD, which authorize several Garmin WAAS GPS navigators as position sources for NavWorx UATs. The AMOCs were updated in September to include additional navigators, and now are available to owners of aircraft equipped with any of these Garmin products: GTN 625, 635, 650, 725, and 750; GNC 420W and 420AW; GPS 400W and 500W; and GNS 430W, 430AW, 480, 530W, and 530AW.

Other position sources could be used with the NavWorx UAT. It is approved for use with the NexNav mini LRU GPS receiver. The NexNav mini has a list price of $1,996 through the end of December, when it increases to $2,180. The receiver can be ordered through any Aspen authorized dealer.

The Freeflight 1201 WAAS GPS receiver also should be compatible, but it does not appear that the NavWorx/1201 pairing has been approved by the FAA. The Freeflight 1201 is priced at $2,895, which might be cost prohibitive for aircraft owners who purchased UATs for $2,000 or less.

The AD originally proposed by the FAA in October 2016 sought the removal of NavWorx’s ADS600-B and non-TSOed ADS600-EXP UATs from an estimated 800 general aviation aircraft in which they had been installed. It is not known how many aircraft will be able to utilize the available AMOCs.

AOPA is continuing to monitor the situation and will report on any developments.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins, AOPA technical editor and director of business development, died at age 59 on February 25, 2021. He was an integral part of the AOPA Media team for nearly 30 years, and held many key editorial roles at AOPA Pilot, Flight Training, and AOPA Online. He was a gifted writer, editor, photographer, audio storyteller, and videographer, and was an instrument-rated pilot and drone pilot.
Topics: ADS-B, Airworthiness, Avionics

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