Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2017-2018 - 51

antennas, (proper grounding) is a big
deal," Brand added.
On the other hand, fabric-skinned
airplanes present the installer
with some unique opportunities.
Since the skin does not affect
radio waves, it's actually possible
to mount some antennas under it.
"You can put a GPS antenna on the
dash or in the empennage," Brand
said. "You fabricate an aluminum
plate and clamp it to the chassis -
GPS antenna on top, transponder
underneath, and a nice wide ground
strap. We've done lots of Aeroncas
and Stinsons that way - properly
done, it will pass all the required
ADS-B testing."
Business-class and other
pressurized aircraft may require
additional work. "Adding antennas
on the pressure bulkhead
requires Designated Engineering
Representative data," Brand
said. "Garmin has some STCs for
pressurized aircraft. A lot of older
airplanes will have extra antennas -
DME and so forth - which you may
be able to re-use. A lot of L-band
antennas can go on the nose or
tail, outside the pressure bulkhead.
GPS antennas almost always have
to go on the pressure bulkhead.
DER data usually runs around $800.
Some aircraft come with doublers
and preapproved data. And if there's
a DER, you're going to have extra
labor. It may require 10 hours of labor
per antenna."
Myers agreed. "For a new antenna,
you're looking at a DER report for
anything that penetrates the pressure
cabin," he said. "If you're installing a
replacement antenna with the same
footprint and hole pattern, it might just
require amending an STC. Anything
else would require a DER."
While not specifically related to
antennas, Myers mentioned several

issues that may be significant for
shops performing ADS-B upgrades.
"The biggest problem is not reading
the manual completely - most
problems are related to configuration
issues, which show up in the
performance reporting, and gets a
big reaction from the FAA," he said.
"Older altitude encoders have given
us problems, and do you really
want to use a 30-year-old graycode encoder when you can get a
brand new one for a couple hundred
dollars? Units incorrectly reporting
on the ground versus in the air is
another problem. Some airplanes
have a squat switch. Since not all
airplanes do, we use a combination
of GPS speed and pressure altitude.
The manual has appropriate
settings that will work if the installer
follows them. Interfacing with other
equipment can be an issue. Do your
homework to get everyone to play
together well."
Brand recommended that installers
and shops do their homework to
avoid expensive surprises. "Do a
comm transmit check," he said.
"People will run into situations where
every time the comm is keyed it
blanks the GPS signal." He also
recommended checking for ELT
signals blanking GPS reception
- and thus, leading to problems
with ADS-B. "It's a particularly bad
problem with old 121.5 MHz ELTs.
The easiest solution is to install a
406 MHz ELT. We catch that on the
preliminary inspection and warn the
customer that it's a possible problem
in final testing. The same kind of
thing can happen with an older comm
radio. Verify that comm antenna and
transponders are properly bonded
- and try to keep away from engine
exhaust - that's a frequent problem
on Maules."
Myers added, "Here in field

- 51 -

service, we often get questions such
as 'how can I install ADS-B on this
model aircraft that isn't on the AMLSTC?' The FAA has provided good
guidance on this topic in the form
of a Policy Memo dated March 2,
2016, subject 'Installation Approval
for ADS-B Out Systems,' written
by AFS-360, and a National Policy
letter, N 8900.362, dated May 9,
2016, subject 'Policy for ADS-B Out
Systems,' written by AFS-300. Both
of these letters specifically address
Part 23, 25, 27, and 29 aircraft and
are publicly available. If shops were
to become familiar with these, it
would answer a lot of their questions
and open additional installation
opportunities. It's also good practice
to go out and fly GPS approaches to
verify acceptable performance." q


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2017-2018

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Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2017-2018 - Cover1
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