Australian Flying

Conspicuous Presence

Australia’s GA pilots have a history of getting their hackles up whenever the word “mandate” filters down from the regulator. It usually means compulsory cost for something many in the community don’t believe is actually needed. Even now, the angst over the IFR ADS-B mandate still echoes around the GA community.

Theoretically, at the very least, owners of IFR aircraft would get something from ADS-B: improved surveillance and separation services. VFR aircraft owners, on the other hand, stood to gain somewhat less, and with CASA not mandating ADS-B for their aircraft, the incentive to install the new technology was either very weak or not present at all.

Regardless, many VFR aircraft owners upgraded with ADS-B anyway, mostly by installing new GNSS units or Mode S transponders. Other owners refrained, citing costs without advantage as a barrier too high to hurdle.

But without wide adoption of ADS-B across all aircraft, the advantages of the technology were not fully realised, since ADS-B IN needs a high rate of uptake for aircraft to be visible to each other. In order to encourage VFR owners to get on board, the technology was going to need to be a lot cheaper than the full IFR systems that were the only game in town. CASA needed to move a long way on what it would accept, and embarked on a project to do just that in 2016.

Today that standard is a reality, albeit a very narrow

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