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AOPA asks Mexico to add UAT to ADS-B

Move would facilitate seamless cross-border travel

AOPA is taking advantage of Mexico’s delayed ADS-B Out mandate to ask the country to accept 978-MHz ADS-B data, which is broadcast by universal access transceivers (UATs), as compliant within its airspace.

“Thousands of U.S. pilots travel to and from Mexico each year flying aircraft equipped with UAT ADS-B,” said Rune Duke, AOPA senior director of government affairs for airspace, air traffic, and aviation security. “Many U.S. general aviation pilots chose to equip their aircraft with UAT because of its affordability and simple installation. Harmonization between the U.S. and Mexican ADS-B rules and surveillance systems promotes seamless cross-border general aviation operations.”

Mexico originally announced that it would require 1090ES ADS-B Out beginning January 1, 2020, in Class A, B, C, E above 10,000 feet msl, and other specified airspace. The effective date of the Mexican ADS-B Out mandate has now been moved to January 1, 2022, Duke said.

In a March 3 letter to Mexico’s Agencia Federal de Aviación Civil (AFAC) and Servicios a la Navegación en el Espacio Aéreo Mexicano (SENEAM) in Spanish and in English, AOPA President Mark Baker asked the country’s federal civil aviation agency and air navigation services provider to consider investing in a ground-based ADS-B surveillance system that is compatible with the U.S. surveillance system, allowing both UAT and 1090ES aircraft to comply with the rule.

Allowing the use of 978 UAT ADS-B Out hardware in Mexico also will help to reduce the cost of compliance for many Mexican aircraft owners, Duke added.

“In the U.S., 978 MHz UAT has not only been an effective way to manage spectrum and deliver incredible broadcast services, but also has proven to be the most cost effective way for GA owners to upgrade without breaking the budget,” said Christian Ramsey, president of avionics manufacturer uAvionix. “Mexico’s consideration of allowing UAT transceivers allows them to take advantage of 10 years of UAT avionics product development and allows more U.S. aircraft to fly in Mexico’s airspace.”

Harmonizing the Mexican and U.S. ADS-B rules would be a positive step toward facilitating seamless cross-border travel and would build on the success of Mexico’s recognition of BasicMed, Baker noted in his letter.

“We look forward to working with AFAC, SENEAM, and our industry partners to harmonize ADS-B requirements and support UAT-equipped aircraft,” Duke said.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins, AOPA technical editor and director of business development, died at age 59 on February 25, 2021. He was an integral part of the AOPA Media team for nearly 30 years, and held many key editorial roles at AOPA Pilot, Flight Training, and AOPA Online. He was a gifted writer, editor, photographer, audio storyteller, and videographer, and was an instrument-rated pilot and drone pilot.
Topics: Advocacy, ADS-B, Travel

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