Avionics News July 2017 - 18
AVIONICS' NEW ALTITUDE
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eliminated major barriers so pilots can add another valuable
cockpit aid for safety."
That was only a few weeks ahead of the 40th Sun 'n Fun
International Fly-In & Exposition, and avionics companies
were already working on systems to submit for approval
under the applicable ASTM standard, ASTM F3011-13.
By the time the 2015 Sun 'n Fun rolled around, its exhibit
halls hosted numerous vendors exhibiting their AOA systems.
In the release heralding the new self-certification and
approval process for AOAs, the FAA said: "The FAA
believes this streamlined policy may serve as a prototype for
production approval and installation of other add-on aircraft
systems in the future."
As we now know, the FAA indeed had more in store.
One year later, in April 2016, that future arrived in the
form of the first supplemental type certificate approving the
installation of a non-TSO'd primary flight display in place of
an approved attitude indicator.
The FAA applied a new more-flexible FAA policy on the
use of safety-enhancing equipment in certificated aircraft as
the basis for approving the EAA STC.
According to the EAA, "Dynon's product is also verified
against the recently developed ASTM 3153-15, Standard
Specification for Verification of Avionics Systems." The first
result of that partnership: EAA's STC allowing installation of
Dynon's EFIS-D10A under a blanket approval covering the
Cessna 150, 152, 172 and Piper PA-28 and PA-38 models,
with more aircraft to come.
The EAA flight tested the Dynon EFIS-D10A in Oshkosh
earlier that year flying its own Cessna 172M, with FAA
observation, according to the association. A short time later,
the EAA added Dynon's D100 to the STC and expanded the
original approved model list for both units.
These early approvals hinted at what has since come:
an ever-widening field opening instrument panels of tens
of thousands of legacy and newer aircraft to the benefits
of modern avionics technologies. With their roots in
experimental aircraft, the costs of these options fall far more
in line with the value of those legacy aircraft than opting
for more-costly TSO'd glass cockpit systems previously
available only under STC.
Happily, the variety of systems in line for these
approvals continues to expand - and the market seems to
welcome the options.
PFDs, autopilots and more, oh my!
The pace of action picked up at Oshkosh during EAA
AirVenture 2016, with progress on several fronts.
TruTrak began working with the FAA on a prototype
"risk-based PMA" approval process last year for the
Arkansas-based company's Vizion flight-control system.
Once the FAA determines the risk level for a project, the
agency scales the PMA requirements it wants to match that
TruTrak and partner Levil are using the same approach
toward winning the new risk-based approval approach for
the Eco, an autopilot the two companies created together.
Low-risk projects translate to faster approval times
and reduced certification costs. "Receiving the STC and
facility PMA gets two of the big steps out of the way in this
certification project," TruTrak CEO Andrew Barker said
at Sun 'n Fun. "Without the new risk-based PMA process,
none of this would be possible. The FAA has been listening
to the problems with PMA and stepped up with a great new
process that is so much easier to understand and follow."
TruTrak Flight Systems flew to AirVenture its Cessna
172 test bed for the company's Vizion autopilot. TruTrak
announced July 16, 2016, plans to win STCs for the Vizion,
a full-feature autopilot system already popular among
experimental and light sport aircraft pilots.
The Vizion provides sophisticated flight-control function
such as emergency level mode, control wheel steering, bank
angle select, altitude hold, vertical speed select, altitude
select, and altitude preselect. If connected to a GPS, it
can offer track select and GPS navigation; it requires a
connection to the pitot-static system for full functionality.
By the time the 2017 Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In
& Exhibition rolled around this past April, the EAA had
another STC to offer members, this one for the kit and
hardware for installation of the Vizion.
In parallel with the EAA's installation-kit STC, TruTrak
began selling autopilot install kits for the Cessna 172 F
through R models and the Cessna 177.
The FAA awarded TruTrak a "low-risk parts
manufacturer approval" on April 3 for the non-TSO'd
Vizion autopilot while continuing its work with the EAA
on the remainder of the autopilot approval process -
anticipated for this summer's AirVenture. At Lakeland,
TruTrak started selling the installation kits priced at $1,000,
with all required mounting brackets, hardware and wire
With a price aimed at about $5,000 for the two-axis
autopilot, the company estimates the installation time at
about two days.
New gear, a new approach to approval, and a new process
to make it happen. Meanwhile, Oshkosh 2016 offered yet