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Duncan advises customers to book in for ADS-B
The January FAA deadline for ADS-B approaches, yet fewer than half the US Citation 550/551 or Learjet 31/31A fleets are compliant. Time is of the essence, says Duncan Aviation shop manager Bruce Miller.

Duncan Aviation's Bruce Miller, manager of the company's satellite avionics shop in Cincinnati, Ohio, has noticed a sudden flurry of quote requests as customers realise the FAA's deadline for upgrading to ADS-B is quickly approaching.

Among the aircraft for which Miller recently scheduled upgrades at the Cincinnati satellite shop are a Cessna 550 and a King Air. According to data amassed by Duncan Aviation's market research team, only 43 per cent of the Cessna Citation 550/551s in the United States have been upgraded. Statistics for the turboprop King Air are more heartening, with roughly 61 per cent in compliance.

“We're putting the Garmin GTX-345 in the 550,” says Miller. “We have other paths to certify King Airs, but we opted for the Garmin solution based on the equipment in the customer's cockpit.”

Miller and Nate Kling, one of the avionics technicians at Duncan Aviation's Cincinnati shop, have recently upgraded several Gulfstream 200s and Beechjet 400s for ADS-B.

“We've done a few upgrades in our hangar and a couple for customers right here at the airport,” says Miller. “We've also travelled up to two hours away to perform upgrades for customers at the Knox County airport in Mount Vernon, at The Ohio State University airport in Franklin County and at the Butler County Regional airport. We try to be as accommodating to our customers' schedules as possible, and if that entails traveling to where they are, we'll do it.”

As with managers at the other Duncan Aviation satellite shops, Miller is seeing customers who have already upgraded to ADS-B turn their attention to other avionics installations.

“Although we still have space available, we are turning out quote requests for installing the Gogo Aviance L5,” he continues. “I'm advising our customers who don't have ADS-B that if they want to get their aircraft in compliance before the 1 January, 2020 deadline, they should schedule now.”

The company compiles an internal report each month based on its own data and available air traffic control information that gives insight into the ADS-B adoption rate, and currently approximately 65 per cent of the Learjet 31/31As registered in the US are non-compliant.

A quick glance through its NextGen Solutions database shows five paths to certification for each Learjet model, including an STC for the BendixKing MST 70 that the satellite avionics shop in Kansas City, Missouri, completed in December 2016. Additionally, the company has BendixKing's MST 70B inventory on hand, which will reduce downtime.

“The launch customer had a Learjet 31A, and everyone here at our shop was excited about getting to do an STC from scratch and be part of all of the testing,” says Kansas City avionics satellite shop manager Jeff Aman. “This is a solid STC for the airframe, and it requires a minimal amount of downtime because it entails a box swap and wiring changes. The price is right, too. Depending on the equipment in the aircraft, we can upgrade Learjet 31/31As to ADS-B for between $68,000 and $90,000 using this STC.”

For the Learjet 31A launch customer, the Kansas City shop tried three different WAAS/GPS position sources and eventually used the Universal UNS 1EW flight management system and the BendixKing MST-70s transponders. The customer already had an antenna that was certified for ADS-B.

“We do have special promotional pricing available, and this upgrade will make your MST 67A Mode S transponder-equipped business aircraft ADS-B-compliant,” says regional avionics sales manager John Spellmeyer. “Installation is quick because the MST 70B uses the existing MST 67A rack and connector.” The promotional pricing includes a free Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) re-certification if it's completed at the time of the MST-70B installation.

“Operators should give us a call and let us help them put together a plan to get their aircraft into compliance,” says manager of satellite operations Matt Nelson. “And if they will put their aircraft down for an inspection, they should contact us to have one of our eminently qualified techs come to their hangar to perform the upgrade.”

Duncan Aviation holds or has access to 42 STCs for FAA-approved ADS-B equipment for more than 100 models.

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