Navigating 2020 Without ADS-B

We’ve all heard that ADS-B “Out” is required to fly now that we’ve passed the January 1st, 2020 deadline. For those of you without ADS-B, there are still ways to get in the air… even IFR! The increased challenges of flying without ADS-B Out has started causing headaches for our delivery destination airports and has made it to my short list of qualifying questions for a new ferry request. Even without it, we can all still fly – albeit with a reduced capacity or some extra effort – and ferry flights are still in business! Just last week, we were able to deliver a 1974 Grumman Traveler AA5 from Indiana to Massachusetts. Check out the trip below!

KAID – 4G4 – 44N – KBAF

This Grumman Traveler was delivered to it’s new home at the Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport (KBAF) with no ADS-B Out equipment. For reference we do have a light IFR platform and working Mode C transponder.

There are a lot of great resources on the topic. The FAA has clear explanations and lots of FAQs to get started and Airplane Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has a phenomenal deep dive on the topic as well! AOPA explains how Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a primary technology supporting the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, which shifts aircraft separation and air traffic control from ground-based radar to satellite-derived positions. ADS-B Out broadcasts an aircraft’s WAAS-enhanced GPS position to the ground, where it is displayed to air traffic controllers while also being transmitted to aircraft with ADS-B “In” receivers, either directly or relayed by ground stations, increasing the pilot’s situational awareness.

AOPA also summarized the following items for a quick and easy look into where we cannot fly without ADS-B:

  • Class A, B, and C airspace;
  • Class E airspace at or above 10,000 feet msl, excluding airspace at and below 2,500 feet agl;
  • Within 30 nautical miles of a Class B primary airport (the Mode C veil);
  • Above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of Class B or Class C airspace up to 10,000 feet (note that ADS-B is not required below a Class B or Class C airspace shelf, if it is outside of a Mode C veil);
  • Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico, at and above 3,000 feet msl, within 12 nm of the U.S. coast.

In the Traveler, my flight plan began in the Class D Anderson, Indiana airport (KAID), stuck to approved Class E airspace and skirted the Class C of the Akron Canton Regional Airport (KCAK) before making a fuel stop in Youngstown-Elser (4G4). The next leg of this trip set off with extra care to avoid Pittsburgh International’s (KPIT) Mode C veil and then continue on over the Sproul State Forest to the next fuel stop. With a hard ceiling of 10,000ft, the first two legs of this trip were filed for 9,000ft to leverage tail winds and mother natures air conditioning with the highest allowable altitude.

Although we didn’t need to push the limits on this trip, there are ways to fly into the new ADS-B airspace without an ADS-B Out compliant aircraft. Using ADAPT, aircraft that do not meet ADS-B Out requirements are permitted under certain circumstances to ask for an Air Traffic Control (ATC) authorization to deviate from ADS-B Out requirements.

ADAPT is the same method used for operators of aircraft with installed but non-operational ADS-B Out equipment. However, if ADS-B Out equipment fails in flight, inform ATC and continue with your flight; ATC will inform downstream handoffs of the issue.

The next and final fuel stop was at the Sky Acers (44N) airport in New York. The rolling runway/taxiways, campground and beautiful FBO – with cheap gas to boot – make this a great destination for any transient or local pilot!

One last 30-minute leg to the Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport (KBAF) was a smooth flight with the sun setting off the left wing. An easy finish into a Class D airport to cap off the delivery of this Grumman Traveler!

AIRCRAFT: Grumman Traveler AA5



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