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Mexico ADS-B rule takes effect in new year

AOPA continues to seek lower-cost compliance, regulatory harmony

Time is finally running out on flying in Mexico without a functioning 1090 MHz Mode S extended squitter transponder that complies with the ADS-B mandate that takes effect January 1. AOPA will continue to work on persuading the Mexican government to allow 978 MHz universal access transceivers.

The 1090 MHz ADS-B mandate in Mexico, delayed from its original 2020 start date, takes effect January 1. Photo by Chris Rose.

Mexico delayed implementation of its ADS-B mandate in 2020, pushing it to January 1. AOPA urged the Mexican government at the time to invest in ADS-B ground stations that could receive signals broadcast by 978 MHz UAT, widely used in the United States and typically less expensive retrofits than Mode S transponders. AOPA noted that incorporating 978 MHz ADS-B surveillance along with 1090 MHz and harmonizing the ADS-B regulations in both countries would make it easier for pilots to cross the border—in either direction.

To date, the Mexican government has not approved the use of ADS-B equipment other than 1090 MHz ES, which will be required as of January 1 in controlled airspace in Mexico, including Class A, Class B, and Class C; within 30 nautical miles of Mexico City International Airport from the surface to 10,000 feet; above Class B and Class C airspace within the lateral boundaries up to 10,000 feet; and within Class E airspace at or above 10,000 feet except when below 2,500 feet above the ground.

Mexico’s ADS-B mandate applies similarly to the ADS-B regulation in the United States, in airspace terms, and Mexico is among many countries with similar requirements now in effect, or on the way. The 1090 MHz requirement is also nearly universal—only the United States allows 978 MHz UAT, and AOPA has long advised aircraft owners who are retrofitting to opt for the more expensive 1090 MHz installations if they plan to fly internationally. (AOPA maintains an up-to-date list of countries where ADS-B is required.) Some countries have also opted to use space-based ADS-B networks that require diversity antenna installations (two antennas, mounted on the top and bottom of the aircraft.)

A new version of ADS-B (version 3) is expected to arrive in 2025, though Mexico and other countries will need to modify existing regulations to allow for 1090ES Version 3 equipment, a process already underway in the United States.

The ADS-B regulation in Mexico requires installed ADS-B equipment to be used at all times, and there is a process in place to allow operators to request permission in advance to fly with inoperative ADS-B equipment without time constraints. Requests to fly an aircraft without any ADS-B equipment installed must be submitted at least one hour before departure.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.

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