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Thread: ADS-B Issues

  1. #1
    mvivion's Avatar
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    ADS-B Issues

    Well, I received the dreaded phone call from the FAA in Washington DC recently, letting me know that my newly installed ADS-B unit was intermittently transmitting error messages. Perfect......

    Fortunately, the FAA gent was very polite, and totally non threatening. His recommendation was to contact the manufacturer, which I have now done.....a few times.

    One of the "error flights" (for lack of a better way to describe them) was a VERY short flight from the local airport to a private airport right on the edge of the Class D airspace. I went there for a fly in brunch. Had breakfast, then hopped in the plane and flew back to the airport. As you can imagine, both the outbound and return flights were very brief. According to the FAA guy, the outbound flight was fine (and understand that I never got over 1000 feet), with continuous and accurate information.

    The return flight, however, involved several errors. On that flight I stayed around 500 agl, so I postulated that maybe the error was caused by me being too low. His response was "Nope, we have your altitude data, the error was something else, and your unit was transmitting your tail number accurately". Great, I'm in the air for a few minutes and busted......

    I've now resolved (I hope--fingers crossed) the issues, and in the process, I've learned a few more things about ADS-B. Here are some of those:

    1. When you have your ADS-B Out unit set to "Anonymous mode", the unit still transmits your tail number to the FAA. The only anonymity is that your tail number is blocked to the "Public". So, if you're paranoid about Joe the child molester down the street possibly tracking you, set that puppy to anonymous mode, but understand that the FAA will still receive all the data they would have if the unit were in normal mode.

    2. These units all rely on a WAAS enabled GPS. As most of us know, it takes a GPS a few minutes to establish an accurate location, particularly if the unit hasn't been turned on fairly recently. In fact, according to the techs I spoke to, this process will often require up to five minutes. If you take off before that WAAS GPS establishes an accurate set of coordinates, your ADS-B will snitch you out to The Man......with an error message. So, we're guessing that's what happened on my short trip.....the taxi out and run up at the airport allowed plenty of time for the unit to acquire the satellites and establish position data. On the other hand, when I returned, I taxiied out a very short distance (150 feet??) and took off. Turns out that the first half of that flight returned an error message, presumably because I hadn't waited long enough for the GPS to stabilize.

    So, if you'd really rather not talk to a very polite FAA guy in D.C., make sure before every takeoff after a shutdown that you've given your GPS time to find itself......maybe five minutes. Yeah, I know.....but.

    3. Frankly, I was surprised that they were able to track my return flight, because I was pretty low. There are no GBTs anywhere near here, but there is a low power ATC radar, so they were undoubtedly getting the data from the radar, not a GBT. I have tried to get ADS-B Out (or more accurately-FIS-B) for weather data around here, and below my normal operating altitudes, it was a no go. Hence I use XM Satellite Weather.

    My unit is a uAvionix Sky Beacon, mounted on a wing tip. I contacted their tech help, and they sent me a link to a software update, and walked me through the upload process. There are some traps in there, nothing ugly, but a bit frustrating if you don't know how to duck them. But, the techs were patient and very helpful. Apparently, some of the older transponders are not exactly functioning precisely as intended, and this software update is intended to fix some of those problems. Also, my unit was set to a threshold of 30 at the factory, and they instructed me to reset that to 35 (don't ask me what that means, just following instructions), and they said that may have caused some of the problems.

    Anyway, I've now informed my new best buddy at the FAA that I've uploaded the update and reset some parameters. I'm sure he'll be waiting with bated breath for my next flight. I have for years kept a list of the shittiest jobs on earth. His is now in the top three.

    Hope this helps.

    MTV
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  2. #2
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    ADS-B Issues

    Do you have the option to SET the N number say to some odd number when needed............


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

  3. #3
    Colorguns's Avatar
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    MTV

    What transponder do you have? If it is not a newer digital that is/may your main problem. I had the Skybeacon in my plane and a Narco 150 and the dam thing would NOT WORK! I talked to SkyBeacon and they finally said that was my issue. Needed to go to Narco 165 or a Garmin 327? that was digital and that would fix my issues. I had bad data coming in and could not get a FAA clear report, bad NIC and or M3A as I recall. Skybeacon said I needed to wait a lot longer with the old transponder for things to "settle" and then it might be OK. Went to a Garmin 335 and got a clear report for my refund the first try.

    Doug
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  4. #4
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Doug,

    i have a King KX 175 transponder. I passed the initial certification flight just fine. Other flights have passed. uAvionix did tell me that some older transponders were returning error messages. Which was the point of the recent update.

    But, frankly, I wouldn’t expect much out of old Narco avionics. They make decent doorstops.

    Next time I fly, I reckon we’ll see if old King transponders are any better, I reckon.

    MTV

  5. #5

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    Was gong to install ADSB. Now not so sure. Don't like big Brother knowing who I am. Don't worry, I'll watch for you guys on my in, just think of me being F-22.
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    ADS-B Issues

    Thanks for posting as an ADS-B hold out I certainly learned a lot. Did the FAA give you a timeline to resolve? I’m just wondering if you can just turn it off as long as you stay out of the ADS-B required areas in the future and deal with it on your timeline.


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    Yeah. At 500 feet, you either have to be in the process of taking off or landing, or very sure that you are 500 feet or better from the nearest ranch house or pickup truck.

  8. #8
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    My Garmin GTX 335 has a keep alive circuit that is wired to the battery to allow a faster fix. It is on a breaker so I can remove the minuscule battery draw if i desire.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"

  9. #9
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumman View Post
    Thanks for posting as an ADS-B hold out I certainly learned a lot. Did the FAA give you a timeline to resolve? I’m just wondering if you can just turn it off as long as you stay out of the ADS-B required areas in the future and deal with it on your timeline.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The FAA gent told me to try to get the situation resolved. Didn’t offer a time line, but certainly dupidnt come across as pushy. He did say that worst case, he’d have to effectively “blank out” (my term, not his) my ADS-B out signal from their system. All that would mean is that entering the ADS-B required airspace after the mandate kicks in would require a waiver.

    But, he was clear that he wasn’t going there any time soon, and that action would be reversible once the unit passed a verification flight.

    ill fly in the next couple days and see what happens.

    MTV
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  10. #10
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike mcs repair View Post
    Do you have the option to SET the N number say to some odd number when needed............


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
    Yes mike, With the uAvionix Sky Beacon it is the OFF position on the nav light switch.
    N1PA
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  11. #11
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Tax dollars at work.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  12. #12
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Tax dollars at work.
    Steve,

    i agree on that point, BUT one has to understand that ADS-B was and is intended to provide traffic information to ATC. So, this equipment MUST function properly AT ALL TIMES. I can’t argue with that.

    Its up to the equipment manufacturers to get it right. UAvionix is obviously trying hard to do so. I have no complaints at all. I started this thread not as a bitch session, but rather to let others know about some of the issues with this new system. I hope it helps someone.

    MTV
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  13. #13
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Yes mike, With the uAvionix Sky Beacon it is the OFF position on the nav light switch.

    Yes, Pete, I noted that to the FAA gent, and he didn’t comment. Of course, to do so would violate the ADS-B rule: If installed, it must be energized at all times. Not like a transponder, which can legally be turned off outside controlled airspace.

    When I mentioned turning it off to him, I added that I’d install an “Inop” sticker next to the switch, and collar the breaker.

    his response was that would not be necessary....they’d simply block my ADS-B out signal.

    Lets not get into the “proper means” of tagging out inop equipment....he trumped my play anyhow.

    MTV
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  14. #14
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Yes, Pete, I noted that to the FAA gent, and he didn’t comment. Of course, to do so would violate the ADS-B rule: If installed, it must be energized at all times. Not like a transponder, which can legally be turned off outside controlled airspace....
    MTV
    I admit that I have not dug deep into the ADS-B rule. Does it really say that "if installed, it must be on in ALL airspace"? I'm thinking that instead of installing an ADS-B out unit, I may just install a circuit breaker, label it ADS-B, pull and collar it, then label it inop.
    N1PA
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  15. #15
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    .....i have a King KX 175 transponder. ...
    Bingo, that's your problem. (KX175 is a nav-com )
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  16. #16
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Bingo, that's your problem. (KX175 is a nav-com )
    Yeah, shoot! That’s prolly why Tower was pissed at me yesterday after I landed nordo

    Xponder is actually a KX 176A.

    MTV
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  17. #17
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    KT-76A

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  18. #18
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    KT-76A

    Web
    Yep, you got it. Maybe that's the reason I'm having issues with this ADS-B thingie????

    MTV

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    Gesundheit.

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  20. #20
    krines's Avatar
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    Installed all Garmin stuff for my ADS-B in out and passed the check flight just fine. Soon thereafter I got the nasty gram from the FAA about all kinds of errors. Avionics shop checked out all the equipment and it was working fine. Had a long talk with the FAA and explained to him that I usually fly 50 feet off the ground and usually land where there are no airports. I am constantly not getting ground station coverage. After that discussion they were happy. Changed nothing with my equipment and suddenly I am OK. That being said Kase just installed a Uavionics unit and is getting similar nasty grams. His situation is yet to be resolved. Originally with my discussions with the FAA I felt they were not really expecting people to not have ground station coverage at any time or to fly that low. Some of my error messages where air on ground errors that they see you moving too fast to be on the ground but your altitude says you're on the ground. Shooting coyotes does not fit their parameters I guess. I told Kase to have them run my N number and look at my tracks which they did and said for the most part it was without errors however there were some errors in N number transmission. Those flights were gravel bar landings on the Yellowstone out of ground station contact. I think when I restarted and took off the bar there was no ground station coverage so I was what I will call unverified. As I come back to Billings then I get the ground station and become verified. I believe there are issues on the FAA side with all this but there could be some with Uavionics

  21. #21
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krines View Post
    Installed all Garmin stuff for my ADS-B in out and passed the check flight just fine. Soon thereafter I got the nasty gram from the FAA about all kinds of errors. Avionics shop checked out all the equipment and it was working fine. Had a long talk with the FAA and explained to him that I usually fly 50 feet off the ground and usually land where there are no airports. I am constantly not getting ground station coverage. After that discussion they were happy. Changed nothing with my equipment and suddenly I am OK. That being said Kase just installed a Uavionics unit and is getting similar nasty grams. His situation is yet to be resolved. Originally with my discussions with the FAA I felt they were not really expecting people to not have ground station coverage at any time or to fly that low. Some of my error messages where air on ground errors that they see you moving too fast to be on the ground but your altitude says you're on the ground. Shooting coyotes does not fit their parameters I guess. I told Kase to have them run my N number and look at my tracks which they did and said for the most part it was without errors however there were some errors in N number transmission. Those flights were gravel bar landings on the Yellowstone out of ground station contact. I think when I restarted and took off the bar there was no ground station coverage so I was what I will call unverified. As I come back to Billings then I get the ground station and become verified. I believe there are issues on the FAA side with all this but there could be some with Uavionics
    Actually, I asked the FAA guy about this issue, since some of the flights they tagged were low level......and there IS NO GBT anywhere near here. So all the data they were getting was coming from ATC Radar.

    He emphasized that the system will not flag a flight that was partially or totally out of coverage, for that reason. I’m not sure I buy that, but he said the system recognizes the difference between a fault and going in and out of coverage.

    i flew yesterday, and am certain that I left radar coverage and was outside GBT coverage (which sucks in Montana), and sent the FAA guy an email. We’ll see what he finds.

    The uAvionix guys have been buying older transponders from customers, trying to troubleshoot some of these issues. They think this latest software upgrade should fix that.

    Im with you, this system was the most I’ll conceived and poorly planned program I’ve seen. Ultimately, I suspect either they’ll figure this stuff out, the FAA will get tired of making phone calls or they’ll just block all our signals.

    Who knows?

    MTV

  22. #22
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    ...Im with you, this system was the most I’ll conceived and poorly planned program I’ve seen. Ultimately, I suspect either they’ll figure this stuff out, the FAA will get tired of making phone calls or they’ll just block all our signals.

    Who knows?

    MTV
    It has appeared to me for a long time that the FAA powers that be have no idea of what we do with our "little" airplanes. They are of the belief that all the planes in the sky burn jet-A and fly around on flight plans 100% in communication with ATC. This ADS-B system was designed and mandated with that in mind. I have spoken with some FAA people who are of the same opinion of their fellow workers.
    N1PA
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  23. #23
    mvivion's Avatar
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    I just received another call from the FAA Inspector in DC about my latest flight. Short story: There were lapses in the signal, but they were associated with my being out of coverage. The period of time I was in coverage the signal was good.

    On that flight, I intentionally flew up the Missouri River canyon below the canyon walls to ensure I was outside radar and GBT coverage. He said that segment showed up in red on the report, but were obviously outside coverage, so acceptable.

    i had a nice conversation with this gentleman, and he was very pleasant throughout. I imagine that he has some “interesting” conversations with pilots at times. It’s important to realize that these guys aren’t the ones who created this system. They’re just the messengers.

    And, yes, Pete, I think you hit the nail squarely on the head.

    MTV

  24. #24
    spinner2's Avatar
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    Mike, where's the nearest ground station to BZN? I was told that all of the towered airports in Montana had a ground station. I've just flown into BZN once since having ADS-B Out installed and I could see on my 796 that I was receiving In.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

  25. #25
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinner2 View Post
    Mike, where's the nearest ground station to BZN? I was told that all of the towered airports in Montana had a ground station. I've just flown into BZN once since having ADS-B Out installed and I could see on my 796 that I was receiving In.
    Dan,

    i dont know. The available maps aren’t very specific. I assume that they can also receive ADS-B via ATC radars.

    heres a map:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	E60985A7-691A-4ECC-A38C-792B8EBCCAAD.jpeg 
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    So, maybe? But they were able to track me when I was pretty low near BZN

    MTV

  26. #26
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Better map....maybe. This one suggests there is a GBT near BZN:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  27. #27
    Seaworthy's Avatar
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    Mike---have you heard when the tail beacon will be out? I heard it was TSO'd--- now I hear uAvionix is dragging their feet r/t production--while the clock is ticking

    Thanks

    TC
    Marine Corps Aviation since 1966

  28. #28
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I have ordered them. They will not work on a Piper fabric rudder.
    Steve Pierce

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  29. #29
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I have ordered them. They will not work on a Piper fabric rudder.
    Was looking at an oversized Atlee rudder, tail light mount hole is much larger than original. Anyone measure one for that....


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org mobile app

  30. #30
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    I admit that I have not dug deep into the ADS-B rule. Does it really say that "if installed, it must be on in ALL airspace"? I'm thinking that instead of installing an ADS-B out unit, I may just install a circuit breaker, label it ADS-B, pull and collar it, then label it inop.
    Yes, Pete, the verbiage for ADS-B is different from the transponder rule.

    MTV

  31. #31
    Seaworthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I have ordered them. They will not work on a Piper fabric rudder.
    Why not?
    Marine Corps Aviation since 1966

  32. #32
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seaworthy View Post
    Why not?
    Doesn't fit. Picture here. https://www.shortwingpipers.org/foru...rd-2020/page54
    Steve Pierce

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  33. #33
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Seems I had to enlarge that hole for my Wheelen strobe also. Been thinkin- - Since the tail beacon doesn't have an integral strobe, how about two mounting fittings on the rudder - one for the strobe, and one for the beacon? Is that reasonable?
    Gordon

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  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Yes, Pete, the verbiage for ADS-B is different from the transponder rule.

    MTV
    Just remove the engine driven generator/alternator, then you are exempt from ads-b out.

  35. #35
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astjp2 View Post
    Just remove the engine driven generator/alternator, then you are exempt from ads-b out.
    Unfortunately that is not allowed. The regulations specifically state that if the airplane ever had the engine driven equipment installed it can not be removed for this purpose.
    In order to follow this line of reasoning the airplane must never​ have had an engine driven electrical source.
    N1PA
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  36. #36
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I just avoid areas where a transponder is required. My Super Cub is not equipped.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  37. #37
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Steve, Unfortunately Seaworthy's airport has the outer edge of a class B airspace touching one side of the traffic pattern. Why not just make a spacer which pushes the tail beacon further out? That shouldn't be too difficult.
    N1PA

  38. #38
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I feel lucky I live in the sticks and don't need this stuff.

    Why not install a skyBeacon instead. Way simpler with the only modification being a .125" thick aluminum spacer on a stock Piper nav light bracket? And the skyBeacon is cheaper than the tailBeacon.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
    Thanks Eddy Lewis thanked for this post

  39. #39
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seaworthy View Post
    Mike---have you heard when the tail beacon will be out? I heard it was TSO'd--- now I hear uAvionix is dragging their feet r/t production--while the clock is ticking.
    uAvionix got the TSO & PMA for the Tailbeacon a month or more ago.
    They said that they started manufacturing them as soon as they got that approval,
    and so would have plenty on the shelf, ready to go, when they got their STC.
    They just recently finally got the STC approved.
    I've been told that they're shipping units now, or will be in very short order (like next week).
    I'm gonna buy one from a buddy who's a "qualified installer" & has pre-ordered a few.
    If they delay the shipping date a bit to incorporate some new software to insure trouble-free ops,
    that OK with me. Hopefully it will be a short delay, not one that will drag on until the ADS-B mandate's drop-dead date.
    BTW my rebate window expired a couple weeks ago, but I got online last wed morning & got another one,
    as did a buddy of mine. So the money's there, you just have to jump through the hoops properly to get it.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  40. #40
    FdxLou's Avatar
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    Pacific Coast Avionics shipped my TSO/STC’d TailBeacon for the 180 on Thursday.
    Should have it installed by Wednesday.
    Lou

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