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  • Writer's pictureThe Thrifty Pilot

ADS-B info and the ADS-B Google Earth map

We all knew it was coming but the deadline for ADS-B is approaching FAST. Starting January 1, 2020, you must be equipped with ADS-B Out to fly in most controlled airspace.

ADS-B appears to be a complex subject on the surface. However, help in both getting a better understanding of the requirements and equipment is out there!

Organizations such as the FAA, AOPA and many others have provided a ton of material to help the struggling GA pilot get a better grasp on what they need to be legal in 2020.

The table below from the FAA provides airspace restrictions for ADS-B where you must have an approved ADS-B out device to fly. Note that there is limited airspace within the US that would allow you to fly without an ADS-B out device.

Additionally, the FAA has published visual tools on their website to assist pilots in understanding the future restrictions on aircraft without ADS-B. Like myself, I find it helpful to have a visual representation of the material. In the picture below it is easy to identify the airspace that will require ADS-B technology to fly in.

Still confused about needing to install an ADS-B unit in your aircraft? Don't worry because the AOPA put together an amazingly simple flow chart to help you with navigating this seemingly complex decision. The number one question is, do you need an ADS-B out device in your aircraft - this chart will help answer this very question!

Another cleaver tool for ADS-B visualization is the Equip ADS-B Google Earth map. Paired with Google Earth, this data gives a pilot an immense amount of information that includes: all airports, TFR information, visual representation of ADS-B airspace, current radar coverage and more. Google maps allows the user to select what layers they want represented on the map. This is a great way to get a better understanding of current and future airspace.

The data that comes with the download has an in-app user instruction page that walks you through all of the various functions. As per the site, TFR information is downloaded automatically every 15 minutes. All of the layers on the map can be used while exploring the country in Google Maps included flight simulator!

If you are like me, you got in early and went ahead and made the leap to purchase and install an ADS-B out device for your aircraft. If you haven't made the leap yet, don't worry you still have time. Paired with an ADS-B in receiver puts you an advantaged for increased safety and spatial awareness. Even if you decide to only go a ADS-B out device you are still helping others stay safe in the sky. The video below shows one of the many ADS-B in devices that is available on the market and how they function. Additionally, it shows how a pilot can benefit from the information that it transmits.


"ADS-B Out refers to an aircraft broadcasting its position and other information. ADS-B In refers to an aircraft receiving the broadcasts and messages from the ground network such as TIS-B and FIS-B. ADS-B In is not mandated by the ADS-B Out rule. If an operator chooses to voluntarily equip an aircraft with ADS-B In avionics, a compatible display is also necessary to see the information. Refer to AC 20-165B for information on ADS-B OUT and AC 20-172B on ADS-B IN installation and certification."


The Thrifty Pilot is busy researching the most cost effective method for pilots to upgrade to this exciting new technology. Be on the lookout for one of our next posts where we give our recommendations on the current ADS-B equipment available.


Download the Equip ADS-B Google Earth map (KMZ)

Google Earth

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Do I need to Equip?


Google Earth

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