Avionics News July 2017 - 17
equipment. Redundancy? Yes. Affordable? Maybe.
Practical? Not necessarily.
The common lament among countless owners of
Cherokees, Skyhawks, Musketeers and Mauls: "What
I would give to be able to use this stuff."
That all-glass cockpit sits out of reach for most - as
much due to approval issues as to cost issues. Let there
be no doubt: Costs are a significant barrier for owners
of thousands of entry-level and mid-range aircraft.
Who can spend $25,000 or more to equip with glass
and the airplane barely able to fetch $30,000?
For that matter, replacing or repairing originalera analog gyros and gauges isn't exactly a bargain
- particularly for any items for which a technical
standard order is required. New or overhauled, gyros
of the analog persuasion are costly.
And then there's the whole issue of that life-limited
dry air suction pump, which raised the big issue
behind digital-panel envy: safety.
Few pilots love their vacuum pumps for being
low-cost items, relatively; instead, hosts of pilots
loath suction pumps as ticking failure points counting
down the hours to when it leaves them flying partial
panel ... usually at the worst time possible, of course.
Happily, for these owners, a new day is dawning
on allowing non-TSO'd, non-PMA'd equipment
to improve safety by providing a path to legal
installation and use.
Thanks to years of work by groups like the
Aircraft Electronics Association, the Experimental
Aircraft Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots
Association, ASTM International, and, of course, the
Federal Aviation Administration, the earth has started
to move under general aviation - and it's moving
toward a new level of approvals and a new more-open
attitude by the FAA.
The result: ASTM F3011-13, Standard
Specification for Performance of Angle of Attack
System; and ASTM F3153-15, Standard Specification
for Verification of Avionics Systems. Look for more.
But these are a start - with significant observable
progress already accomplished.
Among the beneficiaries of this new broaderminded approach will be the avionics and
maintenance shops that pick up the business of
installing these newly approved devices in those
myriad panels eligible for the upgrades.
It started with a new angle on the AOA
The ground started to move under general aviation just
more than three years ago. That's when the FAA adopted
simplified design-approval requirements for supplemental
angle-of-attack indicators. It was, in its way, a longanticipated, yet unprecedented step toward allowing
installation of safety-enhancing equipment without
requiring these new AOA systems to first win technical
standard order or parts manufacturing approval.
That was Feb. 5, 2014. At the time, FAA Administrator
Michael Huerta said in his announcement, "We have
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