Aircraft Performance: Check on your ADS-B before the end of the year
January 1, 2020 marks the deadline for pilots to get their aircraft outfitted with the FAA’s mandate for ADS-B Out updates. Between 2012 and 2014 the standard for ADS-B was changed from DO-260A to DO-260B by the FAA and Civil Aviation authorities around the world. If you haven’t changed to DO-260B already, be aware of this mandate deadline.
Your “ADS-B Out” system is an emitter made to periodically broadcast specific information to ATC and other aircraft around you. 14 CFR, Section 91.227 defines the equipment performance requirements for an ADS-B System. According to the reg, your ADS-B out must broadcast the position, velocity, containment radius around the aircraft, and several other identifiable parameters that convey an aircraft’s location.
If your ADS-B Out is not transmitting the required data regarding your aircraft performance, it is considered to be a non-performing emitter, or NPE. An NPE can result from equipment that does not meet the required performance standards or it may be caused by an error during installation.
Flying in an NPE condition could create anything from a minor issue (another aircraft or ATC may think you are a helicopter when in fact you are an airplane) to a very serious safety risk (you are transmitting an erroneous altitude or location). The FAA is constantly monitoring their equipment and looking for critical NPEs that are “lying” about an aircraft’s position. When they discover an error, they immediately notify the aircraft owner/operator, but they don’t catch all NPEs. And ATC doesn’t catch them all either.
So how do you know if your ADS-B Out system is broadcasting aircraft performance correctly? The easiest way to check is to run a PAPR report after a flight. PAPR stands for Public ADS-B Performance Report and is a quick, easy, and FREE way to check your system. You can use it as many times as you like; the FAA suggests at a minimum, running a report after initial installation and then annually after that. It is not mandatory, but regular use will confirm that your system is performing in compliance with the FARs.
The PAPR is simple to request. Fifteen to thirty minutes after your flight, go to adsbperformance.faa.gov/PAPRRequest.aspx. The report will be delivered to your email within a few minutes and it will effectively identify any erroneous information that your equipment is broadcasting.
If there are any issues, you can take the report directly to your avionics installer for repair. On the other hand, if your equipment is broadcasting perfectly, you can rest assured that you’re operating within the highest level of safety and you’re keeping the skies safe for your fellow pilots.