Avionics News June 2020 - 19

mechanical signal, say from the pressure side of a pitot-static
system, into an electrical or optical signal translatable into airdata numbers for display on the PFD.
MEMS come in a dizzying array of sizes and shapes,
with physical dimensions ranging from several millimeters
to less than 1 micrometer, a dimension that is a fraction of
the width of a human hair. Array several motion-sensitive
MEMS properly, each in its own axes, and the array's output
combines to provide all the attitude sensing needed to let a
PFD indicate roll, pitch and yaw while pressure-sensitive
MEMS give us input for our air-data displays of airspeed,
vertical speed and pressure altitude.
Years of experience using MEMS in certificated aircraft's
TSO'd PFDs helped cement their reputation for reliability and
durability, a critical level of acceptance that helped pave the
way for approving new non-TSO'd avionics under the FAA's
relaxed approval process. And several improvements in display
technology helped expand the use of glass-cockpit components
that use the screens to show air data translated from the MEMS.
AOA, the PFD, then the world
The process the FAA developed in concert with the
EAA, Dynon and other avionics industry players essentially
uses the technical data on the system seeking approval to
develop either an STC for that system in an aircraft, or
parts manufacturing approval as the basis for approving the
system in a given aircraft model.
How that happened remains something of a mystery, and
the announcement at Sun 'n Fun 2016 took the community
by surprise. But here is what we learned then: Dynon and
the EAA partnered with the FAA to develop STCs enabling
installation of non-TSO'd avionics in certified airplanes
by forgoing the costly and time-consuming TSO and PMA
processes.
The first STC under the partnership covered Dynon's
EFIS-D10A with a blanket approval applying to: Cessna's
150, 152, and 172; and Piper's PA-28 and PA-38 models.
Additional aircraft quickly followed.
The EAA holds the $100 STC for the installation of the
EFIS-D10A, which retailed for $2,200 for the experimental
market version back in 2016. Dynon intended the EFISD10A as a glass-display technology replacement for the
conventional gyro-based AIs.
This move by the EAA, Dynon and the FAA opened the
hangar door on a wave of non-TSO'd avionics that have
become available for a growing list of certified piston
airplanes. Back in 2016, EAA President Jack Pelton said
other STCs could cover engine monitors, fuel systems,
autopilots and more. And indeed, avionics makers seized

on the availability of this path to expanding their markets
to owners of aircraft for which going glass via the old TSO/
PMA exceeded the market value of the aircraft.
What made this suddenly so appealing to owners of those
old basic airplanes like Skyhawks and Cherokees and Tigers
and more? A pilot facing the need to overhaul or replace an
ADI or HSI now had the option of replacing that expensiveto-keep instrument with a digital alternative for a price close
to that of overhauling or replacing the analog version.
With pilots embracing these new digital options, the FAA
upped the ante in 2017 by allowing approval of non-TSO'd
autopilots in Part 23 airplanes. Now the owner of an aging
piston airplane like the popular entry-level Cessna and Piper
singles enjoyed the option to upgrade to state-of-the-art glass
displays and autopilots from a half-dozen manufacturers - at
prices that did not put the value of the aircraft under water.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. In this case,
we can glean the embrace of these new options by looking
at retrofit avionics sales, which, according to the Aircraft
Electronics Association, exploded in the years since.
Everybody in avionics seemed to ride on this new wave
of options - and few avionics makers got more out of this
opening than Dynon and Garmin.
Dynon
The EAA, Dynon and the FAA collaborated to develop the
new approval path that led to allowing installation of Dynon's
EFIS-D10A in certificated aircraft. Dynon followed the D10A
approval with the same process applied to its EFIS-D100 -
again, without the traditional TSO or PMA requirement.
Instead, Dynon's product was also verified against the new
ASTM 3153-15, Standard Specification for Verification of
Avionics Systems. Physically and electronically, both the
EFIS-D10A and EFIS-D100 are the same commercial products
embraced for years by customers with experimental, amateurbuilt aircraft and LSA customers.
The EFIS-D10A is a full 4-inch primary flight display, while
the EFIS-D100 was initially the only 7-inch widescreen PFD
available for type certificated aircraft. Dynon equipped both
products with attitude, airspeed, altitude, turn rate, inclinometer,
G-meter, up/down timers, clock, and voltmeter.
Other optional capabilities include angle of attack, magnetic
heading, OAT, true airspeed, winds aloft, and density altitude.
And a standby battery provides backup power in the event of
aircraft electrical system failure.
Under the EAA STC, aircraft owners may install
a modern Dynon EFIS in their type certificated
Continued on page 77
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Avionics News June 2020

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