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Comparing Mandates: RVSM in 2005 vs ADS-B in 2020

Feb 21, 2017
By: Stacy Honda, Marketing Manager

You may remember the Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) mandate in 2005 that affected approximately 6,500 corporate aircraft. This number was substantial and installation centers were booming, taking 36 months (24 months before/12 months after the mandate) to complete the upgrades. After the mandate went into effect, many operators were forced to fly below FL290 until they were able to equip.

The looming Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out mandate brings to light the similarity of equipping for RVSM almost 15 years ago. Both mandates involve 1) a relatively high level of installation complexity in Part 25 corporate aircraft; 2) significant aircraft downtime for installation, which is an important consideration for a lot of operators, especially for high-utility operations; 3) the quantity of capable installation facilities to be about the same as it was in 2003 - 2005.

However, ADS-B Out has two major differences from RVSM; 1) the mandate affects nearly 20,000 U.S. corporate aircraft (or 13,500 more aircraft than RVSM), and 2) operators will essentially be “grounded” after December 31, 2019 until they comply. The FAA has repeatedly been stating that the mandate deadline will not change. We are hearing from our Authorized Dealers that the schedule for ADS-B Out upgrades is growing, with some customers forced into scheduling many months in advance due to high capacity at their preferred installation center.

How does this affect customers? For one, there may be a backlog of available slots at the install centers for upgrades. Let’s use two hypothetical cases to illustrate this hypotheses:

Case Study #1: The throughput rate at install centers – or the rate that install centers could complete an RVSM upgrade - was 180 aircraft per month. Using this as a baseline for ADS-B upgrades in our current environment, aircraft installations should have started in April 2011.

Case Study #2: Let’s assume install centers are more innovative and efficient today than they were 15 years ago. With 2x throughput rate, or 360 aircraft per month, installations still should have started in October 2015. Have they?

The mandate has other residual effects, like an increased demand for avionics production by the OEM. Universal Avionics has prepared and stands ready for the influx, however lead times for associated components may increase.


ADS-B Explained

Still Thinking About Waiting? Here Are Some Considerations:

  • Avionics installation facilities have capacity today.
  • Engineering firms and Certification Agencies have capacity today.
  • Avionics manufacturers are offering incentives to equip today.

These opportunities will fade the closer we get to the ADS-B Out mandate. Contact your Universal Avionics Sales Representative to learn more.

 

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