One thing the general aviation community has done a less than stellar job at is explaining exactly how a GA pilot is supposed to go about choosing the right ADS-B system for their needs. They shouldn’t shop based solely on price, nor should they buy based off of brand name; the average pilot will be best served by taking a logical approach towards evaluating their operational needs and start from the ground up.
Today we’re going to look at three fundamentals you should keep in mind that will guide you towards selecting the right ADS-B equipment for your particular operation, along with a few steps you’ll need to do after you have selected the specific ADS-B models you are most interested in.
- Usage – Probably the best place to start is by considering the usage to which you put your aircraft. If you never plan on utilizing Class A airspace or flying outside of U.S. airspace, you don’t need anything more complex than a Universal Access Transceiver. You’ll also need to take a look at your GPS; do you have a WAAS (SBAS) capable unit? If not, you’ll need to ensure the ADS-B equipment you purchase does (most modern systems do).
- Features – A logical second step to consider is the specific feature set you are looking for. Take a close look at the differences between basic ADS-B Out and ADS-B Out/In, and decide which is right for you. If you want ADS-B In then consider whether you’ll want your ADS-B information displayed on a dedicated panel inside the cockpit, or whether you prefer to have it sent to a tablet device (not all ADS-B systems offer app-based solutions).
- Pricing – By saving the consideration of pricing until after you have already looked at your usage plans and desired features, you can vastly narrow down the field of prospective ADS-B units you need to research and price fully. Most of the basic systems being currently sold range in price from approximately $2,000 to $6,000, though systems that are required for international or Class A flights may be more expensive. Regardless, you should certainly be able to find several options that fit both your needs and your budget.
- FAA-Approved Solution – After you have selected the particular type of ADS-B equipment you are interested in; the next step is to research whether the FAA has certified the system-pairing you’re interested in installing in your aircraft.
- Find a Shop – The final step of the process can get particularly frustrating for aircraft owners looking to navigate the process on their own, as they may find themselves searching far afield for a shop in possession of the appropriate solution for their aircraft. Not only do you need to find a shop that has invested in or purchased the suitable solution, but you then have to hope they have room in their schedule to accommodate you.
Flying Magazine recently published an article that discusses some of these concerns and reviews several of the most popular ADS-B systems currently available.
So where does the Equip ADS-B Marketplace fit into the equation? Well, they help aircraft owners navigate every step of the above process with significantly more speed and less hassle than they would encounter were they to do things completely on their own. They have an immense library of information that will help owners determine which ADS-B equipment best fits their needs, a nationwide public quoting system that makes obtaining information from avionics shops in possession of the solution they need quick and easy, a competitive bidding model that ensures they get excellent pricing on their equipment and installation, and a rating system to ensure the shops they are working with are performing great work at a fair price. To learn more, register for the Equip ADS-B Marketplace today.
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