The last available FAA $500 Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out rebate was reserved in the early morning hours of May 11, an FAA representative announced during the AOPA Fly-In and eightieth anniversary at Frederick, Maryland. Rebates were being reserved at a rate of 60 to 100 per day, but a May 6 AOPA story and an FAA email sent May 10 accelerated the process.
The FAA initially launched the ADS-B rebate program Sept. 19, 2016, and when it expired 12 months later, only about 10,200 of 20,000 available rebates had been claimed. The current program opened Oct. 12, 2018, to award the 9,792 remaining rebates. And although no rebate reservations are available now, patient (and persistent) aircraft owners may still be able to claim a rebate.
Aircraft owners have a limited window—no more than 150 days, depending on the installation date they selected online when making a reservation—in which to finish their ADS-B Out installation and successfully complete a validation flight, which requires 30 minutes of flight in the 14 CFR 91.225 rule airspace where ADS-B Out will be required after Jan. 1, 2020. Reservations for rebates that are not claimed by their expiration date will expire, and become available to other aircraft owners.
In an email sent May 13, the FAA said that any expired, unclaimed reservations will be canceled, and then be released each Wednesday at 1 p.m. Eastern time on a first-come, first-served basis. To check for available reservations, go to the FAA ADS-B rebate website and click the link under Step 2, Reserve.
“The FAA rebates were made available to encourage owners of fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraft to equip with ADS-B Out avionics, which will be required in certain controlled airspace by Jan. 1, 2020,” the agency said in its email.
Rules remain the same for aircraft owners who are able to obtain a reservation. Select a reservation date—AOPA recommends the latest possible installation date, 90 days in the future, to maximize flexibility—and receive a rebate reservation code. After having the equipment installed, conduct the required equipment performance validation flight, which requires flying for 30 minutes in ADS-B rule airspace, and get an incentive code. Claim the $500 rebate online using the rebate reservation code and incentive code. Program rules allow 60 days after the selected installation date to complete the process.
After the mandate takes effect, aircraft not equipped with operational ADS-B Out can request deviations from 14 CFR 91.225, for limited access to ADS-B rule airspace. An authorization must be requested at least one hour in advance, through a website that the FAA is now developing. Controllers cannot grant authorizations to unequipped aircraft over the radio or by telephone. However, if ADS-B Out equipment fails in flight, controllers will be able to issue an airspace authorization to an airborne aircraft.