Airservices is Australia's air navigation service provider - we provide air traffic control, aviation rescue and fire fighting and air navigation services.

Surveillance Equipment Mandates

ADS-B mandates 2014-2017

A new era in air traffic surveillance became reality on 12 December 2013 with the first fitment mandate for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology coming into effect for all Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) aircraft flying at or above 29 000 feet in Australia’s airspace.

On 16 August 2012, the Director of Aviation Safety CASA made amendments to the Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 20.18 Instrument requiring carriage of serviceable ADS-B equipment for all aircraft operating under the IFR in a series of mandates effective between 2013 and 2017. This instrument applies to all Australian aircraft and will enhances Airservices capability to provide safe and efficient air traffic management services.

The Order also prohibits the transmission of ADS-B data that does not meet the Australian requirements. Aircraft operators who do not comply with the orders should seek an immediate exemption from CASA until such time as non-compliant ADS-B transmissions can be disabled or until ADS-B transmissions can be made compliant.

An Advisory Circular, AC21-45(1), provides guidance and advice on the airworthiness approval of ADS-B equipment for use in Australia.

CASA has granted two temporary authorisation instruments to enable a limited number of non-equipped IFR aircraft to fly without ADS-B under specific conditions.

Under the instrument for domestic aircraft, Australian aircraft manufactured before 6 February 2014 operating in Australian airspace but not equipped with ADS-B will be able to fly IFR for private operations in Class D airspace (subject to ATC clearance), including transiting Class C and E steps when arriving at or departing from a Class D aerodrome (subject to ATC clearance), or Class G airspace (below 10,000 feet) until 1 January 2020. They will not be able to fly in Class A airspace.

Under the instrument for foreign registered aircraft, IFR aircraft with a secondary surveillance radar (SSR) transponder may fly in Australian airspace, including oceanic control areas, but must fly under 29,000 feet in continental airspace unless they receive a clearance from ATC. They will need to be equipped with ADS-B when the instrument expires on 6 June 2020.

More information can be found on the CASA website.

For foreign registered aircraft see NFRM 1305AS and CASA 61/14 – Direction – use of ADS-B in foreign aircraft engaged in private operations (F2014L0058)

Mode S Mandate 2014 – 2017 (Civil Aviation Order 20.18 )

2014 – Mode S for New aircraft and Mode S for New transponders: Any aircraft that is manufactured or modified by having its transponder installation replaced on or after 6 February 2014 and is operated in Class A, B, C or E airspace or  above 10,000 feet above mean sea level in Class G airspace must carry a serviceable Mode S transponder.

2016 – Mode S for Airport surface movement: All aircraft (VFR and IFR) operating at Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth airports must carry a serviceable Mode S transponder that meets the standards on and after 4 February 2016. This will provide for optimised interoperation with the Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System that has been installed and commissioned at Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth airports.

If a new transponder is installed in a VFR aircraft to meet the above requirement, then it must be ADS-B capable  – see Mode S transponders, ADS-B and VFR aircraft

If a new transponder is installed in an IFR aircraft, it would be sensible to ensure that ADS-B is operational at the same time to comply with the IFR ADS-B mandates that became active in February 2016 and February 2017.

Useful References

ADS-B fact sheet
AOPA magazine article: Trans continental traffic information and flight following (by Andrew Andersen)
Civil Aviation Order 20.18
Civil Aviation Order 82.1
Civil Aviation Order 82.3
Civil Aviation Order 82.5

ADS-B aircraft approval process

ADS-B services are provided to all aircraft that are ADS-B Out capable. Approval to operate ADS-B issued by the state of registration is not required to receive ADS-B services in Australia.