The fact that the FAA has brought back its $500 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out rebate should not be interpreted as a sign that the Jan. 2, 2020, deadline for ADS-B Out equipage might slip, said Rune Duke, AOPA senior director of government affairs for airspace, air traffic, and aviation security.
“Do not get the impression that because the FAA is doing this second rebate—which they previously said they would not do—that the FAA may reconsider the 2020 mandate,” Duke said. “The FAA had unspent funds that we advocated could help the most cost-sensitive operators. The FAA understood this, so this second rebate should not be interpreted to mean the FAA is at all flexible on the mandate. Pilots need to equip if they will be flying in rule airspace.” AOPA lobbied heavily for restoration of the rebate because nearly $5 million had been allocated to the effort, he added.
Some aircraft owners are reporting problems making a reservation for the rebate. “There is a server issue with [the FAA’s] internet provider server and it is only impacting certain users,” Duke said, noting that many owners have successfully reserved rebates in the new program—and some have already received their rebate checks. Any aircraft owner who cannot complete the rebate process online should email the rebate help desk for assistance in completing a reservation.
The FAA reopened its ADS-B rebate program on Oct. 12, offering $500 to owners of qualifying single-engine piston airplanes who reserve a rebate, equip with technical standard order (TSO)-approved ADS-B Out hardware, and successfully complete a performance validation flight. Rebates can be reserved until Oct. 11, 2019, or when all available rebates have been claimed—whichever comes first. The FAA said 9,792 rebates were available on Oct. 12, the unclaimed balance from the original rebate.
“The ADS-B mandate is not going away,” FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said in a press release relaunching the rebate. “We are about 15 months from the January 1, 2020, deadline and now is the time for aircraft owners to equip.”
The rebate is available to owners of fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraft first registered before Jan. 1, 2016, who equip with TSOed ADS-B Out hardware. Twins, helicopters, and turbine-powered airplanes are not eligible—but experimental and light sport aircraft are, if their owners equip with TSOed hardware. If you equipped with ADS-B Out before Oct. 12—sorry, you’re not eligible, either.
Rebate reservations must be made online, no more than 90 days in advance of installation. Within 60 days after installation, the aircraft must be flown for at least 30 minutes in 14 CFR 91.225 rule airspace, including at least 10 aggregate minutes of maneuvering flight.
The FAA website outlines the rebate’s five-step process. First, select the equipment you wish to purchase and schedule its installation. Second, reserve your rebate online; obtain and keep the Rebate Reservation Code. Third, have the equipment installed. Fourth, fly according to the rebate program rules, successfully validate equipment performance, and receive a GA Incentive Rebate Status Incentive Code. Finally, go online and use your Rebate Reservation Code and GAIRS Code to claim the rebate. Many aircraft owners report receiving their rebate checks within a week or 10 days.