$500 ADS-B Rebate From the FAA? Yes Please!

Edit 6/12/16: To my chagrin, I realized after I posted this article yesterday, that I failed to mention some of the best ADS-B solutions out there. I've added a couple at the bottom of the article.

General Aviation News beat me to the punch, but I want to make sure you hear that the FAA is offering a $500 rebate to 20,000 aircraft owners for equipping your piston single to meet the looming ADS-B mandate. The process looks like a bit of a pain, but it's absolutely worth it.

Starting in 2020, US aircraft will be required to transmit ADS-B out position data to fly in Class A, B, C, and D airspace, and anywhere above 10,000' MSL. After several years of panic, several companies are starting to offer single-box solutions for this. Garmin's GTX 345, L3's NGT-9000 Lynx, King's KT-74, and Avidyne's AXP340 all seem to be "reasonably" priced examples.

Unfortunately, $2500-$5000 is what passes for "reasonably" priced these days. For something like a C-172 worth $25,000 or less, the cost to equip with ADS-B will be pretty significant. The FAA's rebate won't take away all the pain of equipping with ADS-B, but at least it'll help.

Many of these new transponders are including ADS-B In features on these devices, with the option to broadcast that data on WiFi and/or Bluetooth. That means, you'll be able to display that data in a meaningful format on your iPad running ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, WingX Pro 7 or your other favorite navigation app.

Added 6/12/16:
If you're lucky enough to own an experimental aircraft or an LSA, you have the outstanding option of installing a non-TSO'd ADS-B device. For just $1,399 you can get the NavWorx ADS-600-EXP. Supposedly it's the same hardware as their certified ADS-600b, for less money. Apply your $500 FAA rebate to that and it's downright reasonable to install ADS-B today.

If you're shopping for any of these devices and they give you the option of saving some money by choosing a box with the required ADS-B Out functionality without the optional ADS-B In functionality, you have a really great option. A goodhearted maker by the name of Stephen Sokol has posted instructions that show you how to build your own ADS-B In (only) receiver that broadcasts to your iPad via WiFi...all for about $100 of hardware. He calls his box the Stratux. A friend of mine made one in a weekend, and I'm planning on making one of my own. You can also buy a fully-assembled version from Sokol for $200-250.

So there you go. There are lots of ADS-B options out there by now. The FAA rebate is limited to a relatively small number of people, so go fill out your application now!