With the FAA deadline fast approaching, there are an estimated 120,000 aircraft that will still need the miniumum ADS-B Out upgrade on January 1, 2020. To put that in perspective, nearly 60% of the aircraft out there still need upgrading. And that, my friends, is no small number.

With so little time left, why are so many operators still dragging their feet? The answer might just have something to do with some popular myths that have been floating around for years. So we thought it was time to shed a little light on the myths surrounding in the hopes of making sure none of our amazing Leading Edge customers end up grounded.

Myth #1 - The mandate deadline will be extended

This one’s not so much a myth as it is wishful thinking. If you’ve attended an FAA event or seminar on ADS-B Out, the message is loud and clear: it’s not gonna happen. The January 1, 2020 deadline will not be extended. In fact, when FAA presenters talk, it’s not a footnote of the conversation, it’s one of the first things they point out. No extensions. Period. They’ve given all of us lots of time and lots of warning. The way they see it, if you’re grounded, that’s your fault. Not theirs. Rules are rules. ATC has been trained sufficiently and everything has been put into place to successfully implement the mandated ADS-B traffic. According to the FAA, “the time has come!”

Myth #2 - I still have lots of time

At least 15,000 business aircraft could be grounded on January 1, 2020 – a tremendous number of them simply because time is the one thing they ran out of. Just because you’re ready to make the upgrade, doesn’t mean your local shop has the room. As the deadline nears, operators rushing to add ADS-B Out technology will be met with delays since shop availability will be limited or completely unavailable. Not only that, there’s a darn good chance we’re going to be seeing major equipment shortages in the leadup and aftermath of the deadline.

Myth #3 - If I wait until the last minute, prices will drop

Let me ask you this. Have you ever had to fly commercial on a last-minute emergency trip? If you have, we bet you didn’t exactly get a stellar deal on the ticket price. Quite simply, that’s the law of supply and demand in action. We work very closely with the industry’s top equipment manufacturers, and the one thing we’ve heard repeatedly is their prices are as low as they’re going to go. In fact, if anything, the prices may end up going up as a result of the last-minute rush on a depleted inventory of equipment. So the odds are against you.

Myth #4 - It’s just too expensive

Several OEMs have put together some ADS-B packages that will offer a range of ADS-B solutions depending on your budget. And the bigger question to ask is can I afford to have my aircraft grounded come January 1 if my aircraft does not have ADS-B? The reality for many aircraft owners and operators is banks will not provide financing for acquisition if the aircraft does not have ADS-B. These realities make not getting in compliance far more expensive than finding a system that works for your budget and for compliance.

Myth #5 - There are no real benefits to ADS-B Out

Yes, we know. Some of the previous mandates weren’t exactly life-altering.But trust this: pilots and operators can benefit significantly from ADS-B Out. Travel through remote locations that aren’t covered by radar systems? ADS-B Out has you covered, with nonstop surveillance even in those tucked away locations.

Like getting to your location faster? Airspace traffic separation will be reduced allowing controllers to plan further in advance thus decreasing an aircraft’s flight time — saving time and money! If you’re one of those who are including ADS-B In with your upgrade, you and your passengers will be able to receive the same traffic and weather controllers see.

Myth #6 - I’m selling my aircraft so I don’t need to upgrade

Would you buy a used car that can’t pass a safety inspection? So why would you buy an aircraft today that doesn’t meet the FAA 2020 Mandate? The pool of buyers significantly narrows if you’re not up to snuff.

More importantly, your buyer will have a difficult time getting financing without your aircraft being ADS-B compliant? Why does the bank care you may ask? Since the aircraft is collateral for the loan, in the event the bank has to take the aircraft back into their portfolio, they want to be able to sell without worrying about meeting the mandate.

So the real question is, now that you’ve confronted some of the myths, what are you going to do next? Whatever it is you decide, make sure you do it soon while there’s still time. And if you need help making the decision, we’re here when you need us.