Tick tock.  In exactly 20 days, all aircraft that want to fly in controlled airspace must have ADS-B equipment.  Unfortunately, the reality of the statement above is not so simple.  As with any FAA regulation, there are many exceptions to this new technology.  We’ll take a very brief look at what ADS-B is, how it will affect you, and some gotchas to be on the look out for.

ADS-B stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast.  I’m not one for big words and in fact, anything greater than one syllable nearly always results in a conversation with Alexa.  The ADS-B system is comprised of two components, air components and ground components..
  • Air Components:  Each aircraft equipped with ADS-B technology will have the position of the aircraft determined using GPS and, along with additional information about the aircraft, transmit that information to “whoever is listening.”   This not only consists of the ground components but other aircraft or services listening on the appropriate frequency.  In the US, those frequencies are 978 and 1090 MHz.  The only regulatory requirement for ADS-B is this “Out” portion of the system.  Translated, whether you use the rest of the technology, the only thing that your aircraft is required to do is to transmit data OUT.
    • Why the two frequencies?  The 978 MHz frequency is a US-Only authorized frequency for what is referred to as a Universal Access Transceiver.  It is effective only up to 17,999 ft.  Above that, you will need the 1090 MHz system.  This is what is also referred to as 1090ES (ES meaning Extended Squitter).   The easy way to think about this is that a 1090ES system will require the replacement of the entire transponder while the 978 systems can typically integrate with the avionics that are already in the aircraft.  For most of GA, this is sufficient.  It becomes more complicated if you want to leave the country but for me, when I leave the country I typically turn off my transponder altogether and fly just above the coyotes so as to avoid detection by the…  wait, I’ve said too much.  
  • Ground Components:  The FAA ground stations take all of this data that is being sent from the thousands of airborne aircraft and process it.  They send it all over the place, to ATC, as well as any aircraft capable of ADS-B IN.  The exciting thing that many of you have already experienced is the information sent from these ground stations to your ADS-B In receiver.  There are two technologies with ADS-B In, TIS-B and FIS-B.  
    • TIS-B: Traffic Information Service is a product that provides you with a display of other traffic nearby.  Of course, the benefits of increasing your situational awareness are apparent, there are some shortfalls.  Since the service takes data from both RADAR and ADS-B to broadcast to you and because of the difference in refresh rates of RADAR (3-13 sec) vs ADS-B (1 sec), you may see your own aircraft as a target on the display.  Let’s be honest, who hasn’t had that traffic call, “zero miles, same altitude” and started flipping out while looking for the invisible target.  
    • FIS-B:  Flight Information Service includes weather and other critical aviation information.  This is very similar to the XM Satellite weather with additional products.  Many weather products (METARs, TAFs, etc.) as well as TFRs, AIRMETS, SIGMETS, PIREPs and NOTAMs are included in the broadcast.  This can be a big game-changer when you can see newly formed TFRs around a wildfire or that weather closing in at your destination, requiring a new plan and possible diversion to an alternate.  And with the removal of HIWAS, this becomes even more important for our en-route phase of flight. 
  • 91.225:  This new regulation details the equipment and its usage.  The first item of note is the very clear language referencing the deadline and airspace.
    • (a) After January 1, 2020, and unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft in Class A airspace unless the aircraft has equipment installed that—
    • AND
    • (b) After January 1, 2020, and unless otherwise authorized by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft below 18,000 feet MSL and in airspace described in paragraph (d) of this section unless the aircraft has equipment installed that— 
  • The rest of the regulation goes on to discuss the airspace requirements, exceptions and more.  It is worth a read and you can find it here.
  • 91.227:  This part of the regulation deals with the performance requirements of ADS-B.  This is mostly a technical discussion of the requirements for your equipment.  If you are an aircraft owner, perhaps you have received a letter from the FAA with some verbiage to the effect that your equipment is garbage, fix it or we’ll filter you from the system.  That may be a bit generalized but I think its pretty close (I know, I’ve received one).  The most interesting part of this regulation is paragraph (d) detailing the required information to be submitted with each broadcast and specifically, the pilot’s requirements (items 7-10).  While most of this will be transparent, it is possible in most cases to change the call sign of an aircraft in whatever ADS-B equipment is being used.  I’ve had to make a few corrections to GA aircraft in recent history and there are some instances of ADS-B call signs being, well, creative.  Read more about this regulation here.
  • AC 90-114A:  This Advisory Circular provides a host of information about the technology, its use and some technical aspects of the equipment.  It is definitely a worthwhile read and if you can’t find the time, look for a copy in the bathroom at Gibbs and the terminal building.  You have nothing but time in there, AmIRight?

Future Use

Technology is very quickly catching up to aviation and we can view ADS-B as a foundation of technologies that will allow expansion into some pretty amazing stuff.  Imagine ATC knowing what flight plan you have entered into your GPS and having the ability to reroute you automatically for TFR’s, weather and more.  Think it is all far-fetched?  I thought the Jetsons Rosie the Robot and Back to the Future’s talking house was too and now my house knows more about what’s going on in it than I do.  And it tells me!

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Plus One Flyers - Membership Agreement

Section A:  Agreement

I hereby certify that all the information on this membership form is true to the best of my knowledge.  I understand that any falsification shall be grounds for disqualification or forfeiture of my membership.  I have received, read, understand, and agree to abide by the Plus One Flyers, Inc. (the “Club”) Bylaws and Operational Rules.  In particular, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8 of the Bylaws, which states that I shall be responsible for any damages or abuse to an aircraft that I am using.  I also acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8.3 of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall not seek to hold Plus One Flyers, Inc. legally responsible for my acts while operating a Club aircraft which results in damages or injuries, whether to myself or others. I further acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Article VII of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall be fiscally responsible for my dues, timely flight payments and any collection fees.

In the event that any damages are assessed against the Club as a result of my acts or negligence, I shall be solely responsible for the payment of those damages and for any legal fees or costs incurred by the Club in defending itself.  As set forth by Article VII in the Plus One Flyers Inc. Bylaws, each member, and their heirs, successors, personal representative and assigns, release, acquit, and covenant not to sue, and  shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Club, its officers, directors, agents and employees for any liability, losses, or damages that I or the Club may suffer as a result of an act by, or negligence of, the member while operating a Club aircraft. Each member must acknowledge and agree that he or she is accepting and using any and all Club aircraft in a used, “as is” condition and that the Club does not and has not repaired, reconditioned, or maintained any Club aircraft.  Each member must agree to assume all risks, and assumes full responsibility for risk of bodily injury, death or property damage associated with any Club aircraft and not to seek to hold the Club legally responsible for any such defects in Club aircraft before being allowed to use and fly Club aircraft.

Finally, I understand, should I resign from the Club, my resignation notice (form) must be given in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to leaving the Club and that I will return my club key(s) on or before my resignation date, which is effective the 1st day of the next month following that 30 day period. Membership remains effective until terminated under the terms of this Agreement.

I also agree and understand that:

A.     I will not allow non-members, whether pilots or not, to operate Plus One Flyers Aircraft because they are not insured through Plus One Flyers.  All flight instructors instructing in Club Aircraft must be members of Plus One Flyers, Inc., and be authorized by the club’s Safety Program.

B.     I will not operate Club Aircraft if my FAA medical or Flight Review is not current.

C.     I will not operate Club Aircraft for hire, either under Part 91 or Part 135 of the FAR’s, because the Club’s insurance does not cover such operations.

D.     I, alone, am personally and financially responsible if I participate in any uninsured operations of Club Aircraft.

E.     I will maintain and promptly notify the Club of any changes to my telephone numbers, billing address, email, and credit/debit card(s) information by updating this information myself in Schedule Master.          Initial here_________

F.     I will promptly notify Plus One Flyers if I am involved in an aircraft accident, even if it is not a Plus One Flyers Aircraft.

G.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make monthly or yearly (as specified in Section B) payments to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.                               

H.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make payments for possible collections for errors or non-payments of flights to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.

I will promptly and regularly submit updated copies of my Medical Certificate and Flight Review to the Club’s Membership Officer.


Section B:  Automatic Payment and Credit/Debit Card(s) Guarantee

The credit/debit card(s) you provide on this form and/or in Schedule Master serve as your payment guarantee and is required in your Schedule Master Membership account to enable and maintain your airplane scheduling privileges. Plus One Flyers will charge your card(s) and email you an invoice for any payment shortages.  Any dispute regarding a charge can be handled by the Club Membership Officer.  If an error results in an amount owed you, Plus One Flyers will credit your Schedule Master account balance unless you request a refund check.

Membership Dues are $29.00 monthly, charged to your credit/debit card(s) or if available, against a pre-paid credit balance.  Paying Annual Dues means you maintain a pre-paid credit balance that is reduced by $31.00 monthly until zero and if you elect to continue to pay Annual dues, you are responsible for pre-paying the appropriate amount each year.  There is a $129.50 initiation fee for new members and renewing members, except for those members renewing while serving active duty in U.S. Armed Services.  If there is a change in dues you will receive a thirty day notice by email and a message will be posted in Schedule Master. Your account will be charged on the 1st of every month if you choose the monthly option.  An email invoice will be sent to you every month.  It is your responsibility to view your invoices/account to verify that your payment has been made.  You are responsible for ensuring your card(s) remains current and that if it expires or your billing address changes you alone are responsible for updating that information in Schedule Master.  If your bill has not been paid your scheduling privileges will be automatically suspended until it is paid.  If three consecutive dues invoices remain unpaid your membership will automatically terminate and a $99.00 initiation fee plus the past due balance will be required to reinstate your membership.  If you take no action your account may be sent to a collection agency.

Keep your billing address and email address and card(s) current in your Schedule Master Membership Account. Plus One Flyers is not responsible for ensuring your email system allows Schedule Master or other Club emails to reach you.  You will receive an automatic email one month prior to the expiration of your card in Schedule Master.  Plus One Flyers is a PCI-DSS-compliant e-commerce and POS credit card processing merchant.  See the Club’s Privacy Policy for more about how we protect your private information.                                                                                              

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