Another relatively inexpensive ADS-B Out option for Canadian pilots who fly to the U.S. should be available soon in Canada. The FAA has granted supplementary type certificate approval to uAvionix for its tailBeacon, which replaces the rear position light with an integrated ADS-B transmitter, approved GPS source, barometric altitude sensor and, of course, the light. FAA approval is normally automatically accepted by Transport Canada so the installations should be available north of the border soon. The tailBeacon, like its wing-mounted skyBeacon stablemate, is a self-contained unit that uses existing wiring and is designed to be bolted in place in less than an hour.
To begin with, the STC applies to Cessna 172s. The FAA has a method by which that STC can be used by properly qualified shops to install the tailBeacon on other aircraft as long as no structural changes are required. It’s not clear if Canadian shops will have that option. Canadian customers are also reminded that the tailBeacon likely won’t be suitable when Canada adopts ADS-B. The tailBeacon has a downward facing antenna that transmits to ground ADS-B stations while Nav Canada will use a space-based system that requires upward-aimed antennas. uAvionix is developing a wing-mounted system with up and down antennas specifically for Canada but it won’t be available until 2021 at the earliest, more than a year after ADS-B is required in most U.S. controlled airspace.