Avionics News June 2020 - 11

It has been over a century since the world last dealt with
a global disruptive force of this nature, and never before
has there been the technology available to mitigate and
smooth many of the business challenges exhibited by the
pandemic and the resultant physical distancing.

same fundamental aircraft and with similar technologies.
With few exceptions, most of the aircraft we work on
are either fabric stretched over a truss-type fuselage or
a semi-monocoque fuselage. The engines are typically
either a horizontally opposed reciprocating engine or a
turbine engine of some type. Most of the instrumentation
is mechanical or electro-mechanical, while the radios are
early digital. As a result, doing maintenance the same
way regardless of brand was usually acceptable. The
required methods, techniques and practices varied little.
Fast forward and that "doing maintenance the same
way" approach will get you in trouble.
When the aircraft you are working on does not have a
riveted, aluminum-skinned, semi-monocoque fuselage,
your radar needs to go up. I know, we have used the
manufacturer's installation manual, the AML-STC, and
FAA AC 43.13-2B as the basis for the installation, which,
in most cases for light aircraft, is likely permissible.
However, have you read the opening paragraph of the
advisory circular? Following the "This advisory circular
contains methods, techniques, and practices acceptable
to the administrator for the inspection and alteration on
non-pressurized areas of civil aircraft of 12,500 pounds
gross weight or less" limitation, the opening purpose
paragraph concludes with the following:
This data generally pertains to minor alterations;
however, the alteration data herein may be used as
approved data for major alterations when the AC
chapter, page, and paragraph are listed in block 8 of
FAA Form 337 when the user has determined that it is:
a. Appropriate to the product being altered,
b. Directly applicable to the alteration being made, and
c. Not contrary to manufacturer's data.
When working on "different" aircraft like the Cessna
Columbia, Cirrus Design, or Eclipse, is the generic
guidance of the advisory circular still appropriate,

applicable, and not contrary to the OEM's data?
The second area to look toward is the supplemental
type certificate itself. We are using STCs with an
approved model list that often contain a wide range of
Part 23 aircraft. As with most avionics STCs, they are
based on the original design of the aircraft. We now
are getting the aircraft with 10, 20, 30 or more years
of use, modifications, and repairs. Have you read the
limitations and conditions section of the STC? It likely
has language similar to: "Compatibility of this design
change with previously approved modifications must
be determined by the installer." That is correct; just
because the STC is applicable to the make and model
of the customer's aircraft, it may not be appropriate
to this particular aircraft because of its previous
modifications and repairs. This is a responsibility of
the installer and is one reason the customer brings
their aircraft to the professional who can make those
determinations.
Part of determining the applicability and
appropriateness of an installation leads to the type
certificate data sheet. As an example, in the notes
section of the Eclipse Jet TCDS, you will see two notes
of interest. The first note, note 5, prohibits changes to
the integrated avionics system without coordination
with the Certificate Management Aircraft Certification
Office due to the unique design of the avionics system.
The second note, note 6, again may affect the avionics
installer. Here the note directs that "major alterations
or repairs (ref. 14 CFR Part 43, Appendix A) to
fuselage structure that are not listed in EAI Structural
Repair Manual No. 06-117755 must be coordinated
with the Federal Aviation Administration's Certificate
Management Aircraft Certification Office."
Continued on page 44
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Avionics News June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News June 2020

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