Fly with expired transponder to get it certified

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

Built2Fly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
151
Location
San Diego, California, USA
My transponder expired a month ago. There is no shop at where my aircraft is currently kept, so I need to fly to an airport 20 minutes away to a shop. What procedure should I follow?
  1. Call ATC when airborne to request a deviation? Or do I need to file some application with FAA/FSDO beforehand?
  2. Which ATC to call? I am at a private uncontrolled airfield now, but I am under Mode C veil. The airport I am flying into is Class D and has an ATC. Shall I call them?
  3. Shall I keep the transponder on during the flight? Or shall I keep it off? For that matter, if I simply flew the short flight with it on and said nothing, how would anyone find out that it is expired?
Can't find much info about through online searches, and have to ask for help here. Thanks a lot.
 

Tom DM

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2022
Messages
278
Location
EBGB Grimbergen airfield (N of Brussels, Belgium)
Write a flightplan and state in remarks " Ferry flight to get transponder fixed".

After take-off: "Call sign - Please to open the flightplan, take off time xx minutes after the hour from xxxx to yyyy, note faulty transponder - request QNH"

The C in ATC stands for Control, yet S for Service would be better. They are not there to punish or police but to serve and help. And -disregarding a very rare exception- they are nice and capable people who will do just that.
 

GeeZee

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
258
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Well first, no one would know. You'd be shocked to know how many are flying with transponder out of cert. Do you have ADSB-Out? If so I don’t think you have to have your transponder checked unless you have made changes to the system. There was a discussion about this over on VAF forum a while back and that seems to be the consensus.
 

Pops

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
10,979
Location
USA.
One time the display on the King 155 went out. Didn't know what frequency I was on. Stayed outside of the Class C airport control zone that had a radio repair shop and cycled the frequency until I got approach . Called approach and requested to stay on this frequency to the ramp to the radio shop. No problem.
Also in bound to a class C airport and about 125 miles away I had an electrical failure. Called approach and they cleared me to land and taxi to the ramp whenever I arrive .
Lost all radios except transponder ferrying an airplane over northern Minn and getting dark with 8' of snow on the ground in the winter 1995. Did not know how long I had been following dead VOR needles. Center got me to an airport. ( forgot the handheld GPS and radio for the trip).

They are there to help and they do a good job.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
17,314
Location
Memphis, TN
You can either apply for a ferry permit, correct, or just go. I have done both. If you just go and there happens to be an ATC issue, they will say something like your transponder is messing up our screen, turn it off and report positions and let you continue and you already have an answer you are going to the shop. Airliners have issues all the time.

I had a friend who refused to get his transponder checked and refused to install ADSB. He was a bit of a Libertarian. ATC at the B airport and Center both local never said a word. Yes it’s not right but it’s pretty low on the offense list.

I would not be habitual like my friend.
 

Built2Fly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
151
Location
San Diego, California, USA
Thanks for the info. From what I read here, it looks like that it is not a big deal to do a one-time short flight to shop, even if I don't ask for special deviation.

By the way, my transponder and ADS-B out should work all well. It is just the paper sticker on my log book is slightly more than 2-years old. I guess that there is no way that my transponder is squawking the expiration date all the time, so nobody would know.
 

Marc Zeitlin

Exalted Grand Poobah
Joined
Dec 11, 2015
Messages
1,137
Location
Tehachapi, CA
Well first, no one would know. You'd be shocked to know how many are flying with transponder out of cert. Do you have ADSB-Out? If so I don’t think you have to have your transponder checked unless you have made changes to the system. There was a discussion about this over on VAF forum a while back and that seems to be the consensus.
What the consensus is on VAF is meaningless. Neither 14 CFR Part 91.413 , 91.215 or 91.217is invalidated due to having a working ADS-B system. If you can point me to some regulation that says what you claim the folks on VAF have reached some incorrect conclusion about, I'm happy to read it and admit error.

Now, as you say, no one would know, and about 1/3 of the aircraft I perform CI's on have out of date transponder checks, and about 20% of the folks don't even realize it's required every 2 years.
 

edwisch

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2020
Messages
115
There's a lot of stale advice here, based on the old rules for ferrying with a stale transponder certification. The new ADS-B rules have essentially no provision for ferrying with a stale transponder certification, and the if you want to do that, the paperwork is onerous and requires a long lead time. AOPA is aware of this -- two guesses who told them -- and hopefully this will be fixed.

So if you want to be legal, the answer is no, no, and what part of no do you not understand. In my case, the plane sat in the hangar for a month, waiting for the tech to come by.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
17,314
Location
Memphis, TN
If think everyone understands what is legal and what is not. Personal responsibility for what happens if something happens has been the discussion.
 
Joined
May 30, 2011
Messages
9
Location
Valley Center, KS, USA
Interesting conversation. Transponders and ADSB out are not required to fly in most airspace and under most VFR operations. So, if the shop where you are going to get your transponder fixed does not reside within airspace requiring a transponder, it is perfectly legal to fly there with yours turned off. 91.413 tells you that, if you are going to operate within airspace requiring a transponder or another operation, such as flight following where you need a transponder in order to followed by radar, your transponder must have been checked within the preceding 24 months. 91.215 Tells you which airspace you must turn your transponder on and further gives you what ATC authorized deviations you can request including operation with an inoperative transponder. It's not a big deal to fly to the repair facility or to continue to operate with an out of date transponder, simply don't turn it on and don't fly in airspace which requires it until you've had it checked. If that repair facility lies in a Class C or above then you can call ATC and get authorization prior to flying in. If the repair facility is at a non towered airport or Class D then there isn't anything you need to do.
 

BJC

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2013
Messages
15,382
Location
97FL, Florida, USA
He needs a transponder and ADS-B out to legally fly. The transponder because he will depart from an airport within the Mode C veil, and the ADS-B out because it is installed in the aircraft.


BJC
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
10,882
Location
CT, USA
Even the transponder must be turned on if installed... if it's out of date, it can be off but should be placarded "inoperative".

Often I'm glad I have neither in my plane.
 

pfarber

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
1,002
Location
Dollywood
What certification are you talking about? There is none for VFR flight.

There is no requirement for a transponder in E or G airspace.

Where is your shop located? You may be overthinking it.
 

SpruceForest

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2022
Messages
124
If I understand correctly, the flight originates from a non-tower airport within the 30NM Mode C veil, and terminates to an airport in Class D, but outside the Class B and associated Mode C veil.

The transponder requirement is not a VFR/IFR thing...if you have one installed, it must be checked every 24 months for compliance, and if not checked or found non-compliant, cannot be operated (14 CFR Part 91.413). This is a legacy requirement that originated with analog cavity tube transponder which exhibited a very predictable degradation in performance near end of life. Modern digital transponders do not show this sort of gradual decline towards minimum performance spec, but we are stuck with the requirement for the foreseeable future (blame TCAS and all those older cavity tube units that may remain in service until they can no longer be repaired... an unintended consequence of separate, ADS-B rule-compliant UAT-based ADS-B units).

If you are equipped with a separate ADS-B and transponder (such as a Mode A/C or S transponder and a separate UAT-based add-on unit), just placard the transponder as inoperative and comply with 91.215(d) by contacting the TRACON associated with your departure airport with your request... get the authorization from the TRACON and move the aircraft. I doubt there will be anything said, and you'll have the logged request and approval just in case you are ramp checked at destination.

If your ADS-B is integrated with the transponder, it may not be operated, so the sole procedure for requesting a deviation from the ADS-B Out requirement via the ADS-B Deviation Authorization Preflight Tool (ADAPT) is not permissible (use of the tool requires - amongst other things - an operable Mode A/C or S transponder with supporting 100' increment altitude encoder... yours is not operable). As mentioned above in another post, you'll need a waiver to the equipage requirement and that will take time and effort.

You may be able to remove your transponder and take it to your servicing avionics shop, or see if an inspected unit is available as a loaner. For an ADS-B capable transponder loaner, keep in mind that the aircraft personality module or internal aircraft-specific data (ICAO unique ID, tail, etc.) must be reprogrammed, and the flight check required for ADS-B out compliance may have to be redone (your avionics shop will have the current spin on policy available), but if the transponder side of the house is working, you meet the requirements to use ADAPT to obtain a deviation from the ADS-B requirement to exit the Mode C veil. You may also be able to find an avionics tech with an on-aircraft box tester and pay the bill associated with what looks like a house call. Ouch. Not an avionics tech - just an avionics engineer - check with your avionics shop and possibly the FSDO (if feeling particularly feisty) for more ideas. Also, 91.413 discusses integrated systems testing, so that may preclude a loaner depending on what the interpretation of that policy might be.

Obviously, the Class D is not an issue related to the transponder or ADS-B, assuming it resides outside of Class B/C and Mode C veil, etc.
 
Last edited:

Built2Fly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
151
Location
San Diego, California, USA
@SpruceForest, most complete answer to the situation.:) Thanks.

You are right. Class D is not the issue. I am under Mode C veil. So I have transponder and ADS-B out (Uavionix ADS-B requires a working transponder). Once I have that, my understanding is that it has to be turned on all the time (even out of the Mode C veil in the middle of nowhere) unless some sort of deviation request is filed.

Option 1 - Do it all on the ground. Pay a avionics technician to come to my hangar. It is doable for a fee. Taking transponder out (mine can be slide out of the tray) to the shop is not a valid option. They need to test it working with the antenna.

Option 2: Fly without transponder and ADS-B. Folks from my local EAA told me just get in the air and call the ATC telling them that you are flying without a transponder in order to get to the shop. It is probably not 100% compliant with all the letters of the rules, but I guess it is probably also not a big deal.

Option 3: Just fly. Just do the short 20-min hop without a word. As "inspired" by ideas here.

Here is my rationale for choosing Option 3. Flying with a working transponder (and my ADS-B is good) with an expired cert is a much smaller issue compared to flying with no transponder, no ADS-B, and not complying with all the ADAPT requirement. Plus filing for this and calling for that is just drawing attention to the issue. I don't think that "I called ATC in the air" would be a good defense if they really want to get you.

Everyone has different philosophy and risk tolerance. We can worry ourselves to death if we want to follow every single letter written from the authorities. On my way to the airport I probably drove over a few lines that I should not drive through on paper. So evaluate and pick the route with the lowest risk.
 

SpruceForest

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 23, 2022
Messages
124
Yeah... dependency on transponder for 4096 code setting or alt coding is something that ties you to an operable transponder IF the flight manual supplement or basic function (ADS-B message construction and transmission) requires it. That also implies that your transponder is a legacy Mode A/C box, so that's when I'd look for a loaner from your avionics shop.

I did not propose the 'just go fly' path because a) I took the question as a request for a legal method to accomplish the flight, b) a public statement of intent re: 'sneaking Sally through the alley' is unwise in a connected environment, and c) I am certain all those folks urging the 'fuggedaboudit' approach were just kidding. Seriously... they were just kidding.

On a totally unrelated note: One thing all those email and video and text message dumps in the news should suggest is that - if you are contemplating doing something a little hinkey - stay as far away from a touchscreen, a keyboard, and that Siri chick as possible.
 

Toobuilder

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Messages
5,706
Location
Mojave, Ca
No kidding! You have the information you need from post #17... DO NOT formulate and then LAND ON an illegal decision on the internet! You realize the internet is about the best tool the FAA has to investigate violations today, right? Its almost as bad as doing a You tube video of the illegal flight with the title "I Got Away With A FAR Violation - See How I Did It Here".

But just curious, why not slide your old transponder out and install a known good unit for the flight? There must be several stashed away on a dusty shelf somewhere on your airport or your avionics guys shop. After all, transponders are almost like obsolete 360 chanel radios - EVERYONE has a few kicking around.
 
Top