AEA Pilot's Guide 2018-2019 - 38

PILOT'S GUIDE

A BRAVE NEW
WORLD OF
AVIONICS

APPROVED
SANS TSO

F

STORY

BY

DAVE

or years, many owners of type-approved
aircraft enviously eyed the digital flight
decks that started flooding the panels of
experimental, amateur-built aircraft filling the spaces
at shows around the country, and on home-field ramps
everywhere.
Initially, approved equipment comparable to what
EAB flyers enjoyed simply didn't exist for most Part 23
aircraft; within the past two decades, however, avionics
makers developed and won approval for similar
equipment to be installed in Part 23 panels - primary
flight displays, multifunction displays and engine
monitoring instruments.
While the appeal of these type-approved systems
closely paralleled that of systems found in EAB aircraft,
costs put the gear out of reach for a majority of aircraft
owners. One aspect of this problem stemmed from the
fleet itself.
With an average age approaching 40 years, the
average value of most of the general aviation fleet
paled compared to even a simple panel upgrade to
modern avionics. Sure, a small percentage of owners

- 38 -

HIGDON

could - and did - spring for avionics improvements
worth $35,000 (and up) to airplanes with hull values of
$30,000 to $50,000.
Most owners, however, couldn't justify such costs.
For some, it was a matter of their low usage habits;
they flew too little to justify the expense for so little
flight time.
For most pilots, however, simple cost inequities
stopped their progress. These owners flew enough to
make the investment appealing, but couldn't rationalize
the costs against the low value of their aircraft.
Enter the Aircraft Electronics Association, Aircraft
Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental
Aircraft Association, and an ASTM rule-writing effort
aimed at simplifying the process of winning approval
for avionics and safety-enhancing systems. Combine
this with the Federal Aviation Administration's
recognized safety continuum approach to certification
of aircraft, parts and production, and you have an
avenue for new low-cost, safety-enhancing technology
at a price point that encourages even the most costconscious consumer.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AEA Pilot's Guide 2018-2019

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AEA Pilot's Guide 2018-2019 - Cover3
AEA Pilot's Guide 2018-2019 - Cover4
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