Helicopters excluded from FAA ADS-B rebate offer

Helicopters excluded from FAA ADS-B rebate offer

14-Jun-2016 Source: HAI

HAI President and CEO Matthew S. Zuccaro has expressed disappointment at helicopters’ exclusion from a new FAA incentive for general aviation (GA) aircraft owners to equip aircraft with ADS-B technology. He called the exclusion “counter to the reality that the helicopter industry is the GA segment to first embrace ADS-B technology and continues to support its full implementation.”

At issue is the FAA’s June 6 announcement that it would offer a $500 rebate this fall to help thousands of owners of single-engine piston GA aircraft install the avionics in time to meet the January 1, 2020, deadline. Only fixed-wing aircraft are eligible for the rebate.

The agency says the rebate effort is being instituted to emphasize the “urgent need” for aircraft operators to comply with the rule before the 2020 deadline. After that date, only aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out equipment will be permitted to operate in Class A airspace and in certain Class B, C, D, and E airspace.

When asked why the program does not cover helicopters, FAA spokesperson Tammy L. Jones said in an email that the rebate “targets owners of aircraft where the cost of installing ADS-B avionics can be a significant fraction of the aircraft’s value.

“To minimize the costs of administering the rebate program the FAA used data from the U.S. Civil Aircraft Registry for determining aircraft eligibility. After consulting with AOPA, AEA, and GAMA, the FAA concluded that the target aircraft population is fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraft, many of which are decades old and valued at less than $30K,” Jones says.

Zuccaro says HAI supports the rebate initiative but is “extremely disappointed” the rebates will be limited to single-engine piston airplanes.

“As explained to HAI, the justification for the restriction is predicated on the cost of ADS-B installation as compared to the value of some older GA airplanes, which is estimated at $ 30,000 average value,” Zuccaro says.

“However, we noted no needs test in the awarding of the rebates with regards to determining the actual value of the airplane for which the rebate is being sought. Accordingly, it would appear that any GA single-engine piston airplane owner can apply for the rebate with no regard to the actual age or value of the airplane.”

Zuccaro also expressed disappointment that the FAA only consulted with fixed-wing general aviation organizations when developing the rebate program. “We regret that the FAA did not include the helicopter industry in the conversation.”

A Summer 2015 ROTOR article estimated that 3.6 percent of the U.S. helicopter fleet was in compliance with the January 1, 2020, deadline for ADS-B equipage, meaning many owners and operators have still not taken steps to install the equipment. In a June 6 teleconference announcing the rebate program, FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker said, “That Jan. 1, 2020, deadline will not change.”

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