WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 28, 2014 -- On Tuesday, Oct. 28, the Federal Aviation Administration played host to a group of aviation leaders at a "Call to Action" summit to engage the aviation industry in meeting the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline to equip aircraft with new avionics technology.
Mike Whitaker, FAA deputy administrator, called the summit together in Washington, D.C., to discuss how the FAA and industry can work together to resolve barriers and address potential challenges to meeting the mandate to equip thousands of aircraft with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast-out avionics in the next five years.
"We are not here to rewrite the rule; rather, we are here to discuss any barriers we have in meeting the mandate," Whitaker said in his opening remarks to begin the summit. "The mandate is not changing."
During the summit's morning work session, Paula Derks, Aircraft Electronics Association president, shared with the audience that the repair station industry is ready, willing and able to meet the ADS-B Out mandate, as the shops are trained and prepared for the New Year's Day 2020 deadline.
However, Derks also challenged the FAA with a "call to action" regarding the NextGen GA Fund, a congressionally authorized loan guarantee program. Derks reminded attendees that the NextGen GA Fund was designed to accelerate the rollout of NextGen by providing access to quick, affordable financial incentives to help aircraft owners finance NextGen installations by the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline. It is a public-private partnership formed between the U.S. Congress, the aerospace industry and the private-sector investment community. Congress approved the program by granting federal loan guarantees found in Section 221 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012, and it would bring approximately $550 million as a capital base, eventually supporting some $1.3 billion in recurring financings to the general aviation sector during the next 10 years.
"The industry is ready, willing and able to meet the ADS-B Out 2020 mandate, but despite industry-wide efforts to promote early equipage, the FAA is dragging its feet on the incentive program by not approving the loan guarantee certificates for the NextGen GA Fund," Derks said. "Until the FAA issues the loan guarantee certificates, nothing moves on this program. Keep in mind that the monies raised for financing these loans are from private investors. Our industry is not asking for government money; we are only asking for the FAA to issue the loan guarantee certificates as it was directed by Congress to do so. The FAA's failure to implement the loan guarantee program as authorized by Congress is costing the industry an additional 1 to 3 percentage points when financing ADS-B equipment. It's time for action on this issue; we need a 'can-do' approach from the FAA to break down this barrier to equipage, not a 'can't do' culture."
Derks also addressed the need for industry to pick up the pace of ADS-B Out equipment installations.
"The FAA has repeated over and over again that the Jan. 1, 2020, deadline to operate with ADS-B Out equipment will not be extended, and the AEA is pleased to hear Deputy Administrator Whitaker make this clear once again at today's summit," Derks said. "With more than 160,000 general aviation airplanes to equip by the deadline, the capacity for repair stations to meet the U.S. installation demand is shrinking each day. Aircraft owners who procrastinate installing this safety-enhancing equipment will face a potential backlog as the deadline quickly approaches. As the repair station industry and ADS-B equipment manufacturers invest time and money to do their part to meet the mandate, the AEA is appreciative of the FAA's efforts in organizing today's summit with industry leaders, and we look forward to working together in the months ahead to ensure a complete and successful implementation process to help improve the safety and effectiveness of the national airspace system."
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Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents nearly 1,300 member companies in more than 40 countries, including approved maintenance organizations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of aircraft electronics systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of aircraft electronics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.