As I have previously reported, ADS-B Out cannot keep up with aerobatic operations and it shows up “red” in the FAA's performance information, through no fault of the airplane’s operator or the equipment. Eventually, we hope for some sort of long-term fix which will likely be in the publication of additional FAA policy, yet to be decided.
As a follow up to articles in Sport Aerobatics this summer and fall regarding ADS-B Out equipment, we had a good meeting at AirVenture in Oshkosh in July with three FAA people heavily involved in ADS-B at the Washington level, outlining our problems with the performance reports. That led to a telephone conference with FAA in Washington on August 8th. Our conversation was with Jim Marks, ADS-B Focus Team Lead, Flight Standards Service, Avionics Branch (AFS-360).
The good news for IAC members is Jim Marks and other FAA personnel have informed us they are solely interested in making sure ADS-B equipment is performing properly. Enforcement or penalizing anyone with bad performance reports that result from aerobatic flight is not part of their job when collecting these performance reports. They do contact the aircraft owners to make them aware of the discrepancies but that is where it ends. IAC has also provided FAA with a list of common aerobatic aircraft used by members in order to help them more easily identify aircraft that are performing aerobatics with ADS-B equipment and generating unsatisfactory performance reports.
On December 6th, EAA reported the final Equip 2020 FAA/industry working group meeting was held and through this group, as well as other contacts, we continue to urge the FAA to publish clear policy guidance for aerobatic aircraft. To date, that written policy has not been provided though the problem is now well understood by FAA personnel.
IAC will be represented at an FAA/EAA Summit Meeting in Oshkosh on the 7th-8th of February 2017 and will continue to press this issue. More working group meetings are planned in Washington in March at which IAC will also be represented.
May 3, 2017 update
The information above pretty much stands. Bruce Ballew, Doug McConnell, and I attended the EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summit in Oshkosh in early February. We raised the issue there but nothing further was announced or decided by FAA personnel present. As the news article states, they are monitoring the performance data and we have provided them a list of aerobatic aircraft. So when the report shows a "green line" to the practice area and a "green line" back, they know what's going on. The department in Washington which monitors these reports does not do any enforcement action.
They are strictly interested in watching the reports and contacting aircraft owners if they see anomalies.
Our recommendation stands. After you install the ADS-B equipment, do a normal flight and download the performance report which you can now do on-line. Print it and put it in your airplane and carry it with you.
No written policy has yet been issued by FAA.