Maintenance Matters

May 2018 Issue

ADS-B Flight Tests: Ground Check It First

An ADS-B installation isnít done until itís ground tested, flight tested and logged. FAR 91.413 checks donít count.

The final stages of an avionics installation can be the most critical because thatís when the configuration and final testing occur. Unfortunately, itís when a shop can be rushed to the point where youóthe aircraft owneróare left holding the bag to test newly installed gear, which includes critical ADS-B equipment.

The good news: Shops that do the most ADS-B retrofits will own the specialized test gear to make sure the system is programmed and properly tested before you fly the aircraft away. The better shops will fly it with you for a final check. But for shops that are less equipped, youíll have to fly it off yourself and eyeball the data on the Public ADS-B Performance Report, or PAPR. Link to this automated tool at It can tell a shop a lot about the systemís performance should they have to troubleshoot it. When the government was paying out rebate checks for ADS-B upgrades, it required specific flight testing and a validation report for conformity. Thatís no longer the case, but you might follow similar guidance when validating a new install. The FAAís advisory circular 20-165B provides guidance for ADS-B Out system installations and airworthiness approvals. In it youíll find the recommended flight profiles and maneuvers to perform on the flight test. Worth mentioning is that a typical FAR 91.413 transponder test wonít check a 1090ES transponderís ADS-B data output.

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