There are many good and well maintained aircraft out there on the market that do not meet the 8,33 kHz and 2020-requirements of the future, but there is no reason why they should not be flying for many years to come – if they are upgraded.
When and why upgrade?
It may seem like a daunting feat, taking an older aircraft and spending up to 25% of its value on upgrades in order to meet the 2020 requirement. But the fact of the matter is, that it needs to be done, and we suggest that it is better to have it done sooner than later.
OY-PEL is one such good old aircraft. It is originally equipped as an IFR trainer, and has been used as such, at a flight Academy in Denmark. In co-operation with Søren Jacobsen from GA Servce in Roskilde and the aircrafts new owner, we have made this example of an avionics upgrade that made it ready for the future requirements.
King KX 155 COM/NAV with Garmin 155 XL GPS and a Garmin GTX 330 Mode S Transponder
It was decided to upgrade the existing COM/NAV radio and GPS in one move, by replacing these two units with a state of the art Garmin GTN 650 COM/NAV/GPS. That alone will make OY-PEL compliant with the 8,33kHz requirement from th 1st of January 2018.
What was chosen and Why?
The new owners considered different options from Trigg, Honeywell and Garmin. All have different products that would comply.
It was decided to upgrade the existing COM/NAV radio and GPS in one move, by replacing these two units with a state of the art Garmin GTN 650 COM/NAV/GPS. Thereby making the aircraft compliant with the 8,33kHz requirement from th 1st of January 2018.
It is however possible to upgrade the Garmin GTX 330 transponder to include “Extended Squitter”, and this upgrade makes OY-PEL compliant with the ADS-B requirements for “ADS-B out”.
We also have two options for getting traffic information. One is a certified solution that will display other ADS-B traffic on the GTN 650 screen and subscription free weather by installing a Garmin GDL 88 datalink. This is nice but quite costly. The other solution is to buy a Garmin GDL 39 3D portable ADS-B receiver at a much lower cost and see the other traffic and weather on an iPad with the Garmin Pilot app.
Many aircraft owners fear that the value of their older aircraft will decline drastically when we hit 2020. But time has shown that these fears are often overrated, and if we look back at the mode S requirements, what happened was that aircraft owners complied, and the world moved on.
Also, we have to keep in mind that technologies are constantly developing, although at a somewhat slower pace in aviation compared to other industries, but we already see many developers offering cost effective solutions to the new requirements to the avionics industry, which is good news for the GA aircraft owners.
If you are looking for more information about the ADS-B compliance in Europe you can learn more here.