Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2015-16 Edition - 40
Avionics that meet a homebuilder's operational and economic needs
S T O R Y
S C O T T
t's been more than 30 years since the
McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and Boeing
757/767 introduced glass cockpits to aviation.
The succeeding generations of these systems give
pilots an ever-growing ratio of capabilities to cost.
Digital avionics and their displays are standard
equipment on most aircraft manufactured today,
and many of the airplanes that preceded them are
Photo by S.M. Spangler
The Sonex Aircraft JSX-2 SubSonex single-seat jet
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S P A N G L E R
updating their analog systems with glass.
Pilots who are amateur builders of experimental
aircraft have the same needs and desires as
those who fly store-bought airplanes. But because
they assume some of the risk addressed by the
certification requirements production aircraft
must meet, homebuilders have more freedom
in designing avionics systems that meet their
operational and economic requirements while
ensuring the desired level of reliability and safety.
Redundancy is one of the hallmarks of aviation
safety. If the primary system fails for whatever
reason, the backup will sustain safety through
the precautionary landing. When it comes to
the instruments essential to flight, tried-and-true
analog and steam gauges are the go-to backups.
But two builders, an individual and a company that
designs experimental aircraft kits, have taken the
next step by relying on digital redundancy.
David Halmos -
Van's Aircraft RV-10
" Avionics technology is at a level where we
have enough redundancy and ways to build
the system so that we don't have to have
steam-gauge backups," said David Halmos, a
prosthodontist (a specialist in prosthetic dentistry)