The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced today that it will implement a low-cost ADS-B option for VFR aircraft after consultation revealed wide industry support for the idea.

All IFR aircraft must have certified ADS-B fitted by 2020, but owners of VFR aircraft were left to fit the equipment voluntarily. The cost and complexity of installing IFR-compliant technology proved a disincentive, ensuring a low uptake.

“The visual flight rules community appreciates the safety benefits ADS-B technology offers," CASA CEO Shane Carmody said, "but has called for CASA to make the technology more accessible with avionics that are cheaper and less onerous to install.

“The challenge has been to find the right solutions and incentives that will encourage fitment and uphold an acceptable level of safety.”

Following feedback received through industry consultation earlier this year, CASA will now propose to relax the equipment and installation standards for ADS-B in VFR aircraft.

The changes would allow some uncertified avionics that meet a recognised standard for ADS-B to be classed as a minor modification and enable amateur-built and sport aviation aircraft operators to install ADS-B under self-administration.

“The solutions we are proposing genuinely reflect the preferences and ideas from the aviation community, including avionics manufacturers and installers,” Carmody said.

“We see this as a sensible and practical solution for the visual flight rules community to ensure technology that makes the skies safe is available to them and delivers a positive safety outcome.”

Among the feedback CASA received was strong support for VFR ADS-B provided it remained voluntary and was a low-cost solution. Respondents generally agreed that avionics to TSO C199 was the most appropriate standard.

Other feedback included:

  • the proposals would be a positive incentive to fit
  • 1090ES rather than UAT was the most appropriate technology
  • the new technology should be usable in aircraft without a type certificate, such as home-built aircraft and LSAs
  • the proposed standard should be usable in CTA.

CASA has, however, indicated that it would be unlikely to allow non-certified ADS-B equipment to be used in Class C or A airspace in type-certified aircraft, but would permit such use in non-certified aircraft.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) detailing the new regulations is expected before the end of the year.

The summary of consultation responses is on the CASA Consultation Hub website.

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