Wing Aviation currently manages 27 aircraft—including four of its own—for FAA Part-135 charter operations. In order to comply with the FAA mandate to have ADS-B by January 1, 2020, the company recently upgraded its Embraer Legacy 600. With over a dozen large cabin aircraft in its fleet, Wing Aviation wanted to set an example to many of its management clients for being proactive on the upcoming FAA mandate.
The company chose to upgrade the aircraft’s existing Honeywell avionics suite to include ADS-B, as well as FANS 1/A (CPDLC), to meet current and future communication requirements for flights worldwide. Wing Aviation also backed up its upgrade with an economical Honeywell Avionics Protection Plan (HAPP).
Wing Aviation selected Duncan Aviation to do the required maintenance work because of its experience developing Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for NextGen solutions and its status as a premier Honeywell avionics dealer. While there was some “red tape” to cut through regarding the approval process—another reason to upgrade to ADS-B sooner than later—the actual equipment installation was flawless.
Having these upgrades puts the aircraft “right in line with the cutting edge of technology, allowing us to be as safe as possible,” says Jeremy Gee, Chief Pilot for Wing Aviation. “We have a constant link with air traffic control now. There is no loss of radar contact, they know where we are, and we know where we are.”
The FAA mandated the addition of ADS-B in planes because the technology provides the foundation for NextGen by shifting from ground radar aids to more precise tracking through satellite signals. This results in enhanced communications, weather avoidance, aircraft separation, routing, fuel efficiency, and more.
“David Riddle, Wing Aviation’s President, believes that everyone who owns large cabin airplanes that go more than 250 knots in the U.S. should be scheduling ADS-B upgrades now.
“If aircraft owners don’t upgrade in advance of the January 1, 2020 deadline, they may be faced with increased prices from maintenance facilities or the inability to get an appointment in time.
“We wanted to set an example, so we partnered with Honeywell to get all the avionics upgraded with the ADS-B and CPDLC installed on our own aircraft,” Riddle says. “With the completion of upgrades on our Embraer Legacy 600, half of our fleet is now ADS-B compliant. We’re well positioned to get our entire fleet upgraded by the deadline.”