Selecting the right avionics repair station to assist you with the installation of your ADS-B equipment is one of the most important aspects of the ADS-B upgrade process for aircraft owners. Choosing the right shop means their team will help guide you through selecting the right equipment, and that your installation will be completed on-time and within budget. Let’s take a closer look at how the process works, both for owners who have registered on the Equip ADS-B Marketplace as well as those attempting to handle things on their own:
- Equipment Research & Selection – Choosing the right equipment and manufacturer for your ADS-B system is a combination of two things; ensuring that the equipment provides all the features you want from ADS-B, along with all those you actually need in order to comply with the mandate. For example, some models of ADS-B are only suitable for planes which always are flying under 18,000ft. Then there is the difference between ADS-B In & Out, which provide vastly different sets of data to pilots – some may really benefit from the extra data, while others may not feel they need it as badly. The Equip ADS-B Marketplace has collected all sorts of information about different types of ADS-B equipment and their manufacturers together in one place, greatly speeding up the equipment selection process for users.
- Identification of Potential Avionics Shops – After you have a general idea of the type of ADS-B equipment you want, the next step in the process is to begin identifying avionics shops that may be able to service you. Whether an individual shop can assist you will be largely determined by two things: whether or not they have an FAA approved engineering solution that covers your aircraft and equipment choice, and whether or not their schedule can accommodate you. Your criteria for selection will likely be service availability and pricing. Keep in mind that there is absolutely no need to exclusively collect quotes from local avionics shops; a competitor a couple of states over may offer significantly better pricing, they may have an approved solution local shops don’t have access to, and their workflow schedule may be able to accommodate you more easily, depending on how busy your local shops are. The Equip ADS-B Marketplace again greatly simplifies this for aircraft owners, by letting shops find owners’ requests for service and reach out to them directly with competitive quotes.
- Screening & Quotation Process – Once you know what equipment you need, and have a list of avionics shops that are able to service your aircraft; the next step is to contact their sales team and begin the formal quotation process. It is at this point you might first encounter bottlenecks related to the installation of ADS-B equipment; so many aircraft still need this service performed by the legal deadline that most of the installation capacity of the entire nation will be necessary to meet that goal. This means the longer you wait to get things done; the more likely the shops that have the approved solutions you need won’t be able to assist you as they will be busy with other work. Overall, there is quite a bit of back and forth here, as you’ll be juggling conversations and comparing service details between a number of shops, and ultimately selecting the best fit for your needs, availability, and budget. The Equip ADS-B Marketplace again streamlines this process for users by directly connecting aircraft owners with shops and providing them a number of useful communications tools to facilitate a connection.
- Plane Delivery & Installation – Once all the details of your equipment purchase and installation have been ironed out, the next thing you’ll have to do is deliver the plane to the avionics repair shop you have selected once your service appointment comes up. While the specifics are obviously in your service contract, you can expect to drop your plane off and leave it in their possession for one to two weeks for them to install your new equipment. Have a thorough conversation with the sales rep from your shop to ensure that you understand all the details related to the installation process itself. While the Equip ADS-B Marketplace obviously can’t do much to speed this process up, what it can do is provide you user ratings of other owners who have used various avionics repair stations to schedule their ADS-B installations. This means that you can read real reviews of service other owners have received, including information as to whether their contracts are completed on time and within budget.
- Pickup & Compliance – The final step in the process is ensure your ADS-B system is compliant with the FAA surveillance mandate. The avionics shop should perform a ground test of your ADS-B system; a flight test is not required. However, after you make a few flights, it is an excellent idea to email the FAA with your N-number, ADS-B transmitter, and GPS make/model numbers to find out if your equipment is working properly. You can email the FAA at 9-AWA-AFS-300-ADSB-AvionicsCheck@faa.gov. The FAA will provide you with a detailed Compliance Report showing if the installed ADS-B Out system complies with the performance requirements specified by the FAR. The Compliance Report will highlight any areas that fail to meet the required performance levels or avionics settings for your aircraft. Knowing if your system is up to standards before the mandate is vital. Be sure to follow-up with the FAA as soon as you can to allow the avionics shop time to adjust your system, if necessary, before the 2020 deadline.
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