Metro Aviation recently obtained a supplemental type certificate (STC) for Airbus' AS350 B3 helicopter with Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) capability, meeting the FAA's 2020 deadline.
“Metro had the opportunity to obtain the ADS-B STC in conjunction with a fleet order of AS350 B3s. Not only will future aircraft installations benefit from the STC, but we will be able to retrofit older aircraft more easily,” said Metro’s Managing Director Milton Geltz.
Operators have been working diligently to equip their fleets with the required ADS-B equipment to meet the 2020 deadline. GPS coordinates reported by ADS-B are more accurate and consistent than current radar positions, and the system is easier and more cost effective to deploy than traditional ground radar. The FAA is mandating ADS-B Out in all US airspace where transponders are currently required. If all aircraft were equipped, the IFR environment could accommodate closer aircraft spacing as well as capacity improvements in high-traffic areas due to more accurate position reporting for air traffic control and airborne aircraft.
The FAA has also mandated all air ambulances to have a Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS) on board by 2017. Metro now holds the STC for installing HTAWS on the AS350 B3 to ensure completion customers can meet the proposed deadline with the correct equipment. Metro began equipping its operational fleet with the North Flight Data Systems flight data monitoring equipment in 2009, ahead of the FAA’s requirement for the equipment to be installed on all emergency medical service helicopters, and was the first to equip its entire fleet with night vision goggles. The FAA’s final rule for the air ambulance sector comes five years after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) highlighted the industry’s accident rate. The final ruling addresses most of the NTSB’s safety recommendations for air ambulances.