ADS-B: Costs & Benefits of Becoming Compliant

Contributed by Mark Winter, Satellite Avionics Manager at Houston, Texas (HOU).

Mark Winter, Satellite Avionics Manager from Houston (HOU) continues his ADS-B series with answers to common questions about the costs and benefits of becoming ADS-B compiant.

What are the costs and downtime associated with becoming ADS-B compliant?

Costs will vary depending on the age, size and existing onboard systems on your aircraft. I anticipate the costs will be lower for newer aircraft with more modern avionics suites that have EFIS and WAAS and higher for aircraft with older transponders and non-precision GPS and Flight Managements Systems.

Downtime will be different for each aircraft depending on what is required for each to become compliant.         

Is ADS-B worth the investment older aircraft?

Unfortunately, the investment required to make older aircraft ADS-B compliant may easily be more than the aircraft is worth. If that is the case, it may be time to trade up and find an aircraft that can more easily support the upgrade. If you plan to keep your aircraft for another 7-10 years, the investment makes more sense.  

What are the operational benefits of ADS-B?

Operational benefits are simple. Because non-ADS-B certified aircraft will no be allowed in controlled airspace, all other aircraft will be able to operate safer in the air and on airport taxi-ways.

For more information about ADS-B, download "Straight Talk About ADS-B" at

Mark Winter serves as the Satellite Avionics Manager for the Houston, Texas avionics shop, specializing in avionics modification and full line maintenance. He began working in aviation in 1988.

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