Do I Need an LOA for ADS-B Out?

Countries can set their own requirements for authorizations for ADS-B Out operations. The FAA has decided to discontinue the ADS-B Out LOA (A153) and will no longer be issuing authorizations to US operators. However, we recommend that US operators carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 to show to foreign inspectors if they are requested to provide their authorization. In essence, Notice 8900.491 is provided by the FAA to summarize why it is no longer providing authorizations for ADS-B Out.  It is important to note that an LOA is still required for ADS-B In operations.

Setting the scene

Back in 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) determined that operators needed to request operational approval for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out from their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). While the FAA had not required an LOA to use ADS-B Out in the United States, they had issued OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153 or A353 to satisfy foreign CAAs that did require authorization.

However, in September 2015, ICAO Member States adopted new guidance that gradually phased out operator authorization requirements to use ADS-B Out. As stated in Notice 8900.491, “continuous monitoring of equipment performance has proven to be the most effective means of oversight.” By overseeing the data of ADS-B Out, the FAA and other CAAs can identify aircraft performance. Any aircraft with a negative safety impact on Air Traffic Control could be restricted from flying in airspace requiring ADS-B Out. Additionally, with rising demand in OpSpecs, MSpecs, and LOAs, the FAA has become understandably stretched. Removing the need for any LOA can help minimize the burden placed on both regulators and operators.

What’s changing for the ADS-B Out LOA and what should I do?

In short, the FAA has decommissioned OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOA A153 and A353, also known as the ADS-B OutLOA. By June 30, 2019, the FAA will have reached out to operators currently holding these OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs to inform them that it is no longer necessary. However, it’s strongly advised to carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 on the aircraft. If any foreign inspectors or officials ask about the LOA, operators can show the Notice explaining why the FAA is no longer issuing an authorization.

Different airspace will have different regulations, so be sure to research equipage requirements when planning your overseas journey anyway – especially in regard to the ADS-B Out mandate. No further action should be needed from pilots and operators as we understand it.

For operators carrying our International Operations and Procedures Manual, no immediate revisions are needed, but we will be covering this in our next International Operations and Procedures Manual Revision Service update, so keep an eye out.

We want to again emphasize that all of this applies only to ADS-B Out.  ADS-B In continues to require an LOA.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you want to know more about our FAA LOA Support Services, you can find more information here.

5 things you should know about ADS-B authorization

One topic that causes constant confusion for international business jet operators is ADS-B Out: what it is, why you need it and when it’s required. To help clear the air, here are five things you need to know about ADS-B Out.

1.  ADS-B = Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, is a satellite-based aircraft monitoring system set to replace today’s radar-based system. The system uses the aircraft’s GPS to determine positioning information, and then sends this information to ATC. Whereas radar is only able to update an aircraft’s position once every 3 to 12 seconds, with ADS-B ATC this happens every second. This transmission of data from the avionics to ATC is called ADS-B Out.

2. Authorization is required in east Asia

Although not currently required for operations over the US, many other countries do require ADS-B approvals from an operators’ civil aviation authority. As this list regularly changes, it is highly recommended to always check with your safety management professional before leaving on any international trip

3. The US will require ADS-B starting in 2020

In 2010, the FAA published new rules that require operators to have ADS-B Out avionics by January 1st, 2020. This regulation applies to:

  • Class A, B and C airspace
  • All airspace at and above 10,000 feet MSL over the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia
  • Within 30 nautical miles of airports listed in 14 CFR sec. 91.225, from the surface up to 10,000 feet MSL
  • Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico from the US coastline out to 12 nautical miles, at and above 3,000 feet MSL

4. The LOA – what it is and when you need it

As most new aircraft come ADS-B equipped, you only have to provide the destination country’s air navigation service provider (ANSP) with documentation that shows this. However, the type of documentation can vary from country to country. The most common format is the Letter of Authorization (LOA), which you get from your civil aviation authority. Currently, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam require an LOA.

According to the FAA, an LOA is required whenever one uses ADS-B outside the US unless otherwise noted. Based on this rather ambiguous regulation, the default assumption is, when operating outside the US, an LOA is required. You can obtain an LOA from the FAA. These were originally issued as an A353 authorization. However, in an effort to streamline the process, the FAA has replaced the A353 with the OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153.

5. I already have an A353, do i now need an A153?

Rest assured, your current A353 LOA is still valid. If aircraft are added or removed from your LOA, the FAA will reissue your existing authorization as an A153. You may also send the FAA a request to reissue your A353 as an A153. No additional documentation is required to do this.

We Can Help – Contact Us

You can develop ADS-B procedures either as a supplement to your RVSM/International Operations Manual or as a standalone ADS-B document. This, along with supporting documentation, is then simply submitted to your Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or International Field Office (IFO).

AviationManuals makes applying for ADS-B approvals easy. Just complete a simple questionnaire and one of our experts will quickly assemble an appropriate and thorough application for you. Our support continues until the application package is approved, and our full-time staff are happy to help you gather any additional information that your FSDO or IFO may require.