Avionics News July 2012 - 39

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ntil recently, the flight decks of most airplanes were dominated by a traditional “six-pack” of flight instruments – airspeed, attitude, vertical speed, altitude, heading and turn-and-bank. Today, however, it’s rare to see a new airplane – regardless of size or cost – without a modern glass panel, which replaces mechanical flight instruments with one or two primary flight displays and provides moving-map and other functions on a companion multifunction display. Older panels look dated by comparison, and as glass panels become standard, owners are looking to upgrade. This presents avionics manufacturers, dealers and shops with a significant business opportunity – and some equally significant business risks. We interviewed representatives of major avionics manufacturers, dealers and shop owners who have experience with glass panel retrofits to collect information on what makes a successful installation (and happy customer) and the pitfalls to watch to keep the business risk to a minimum. Virtually everyone we spoke with agreed that planning is imperative, and it must begin with understanding the operator’s needs and expectations. According to Joe Mitchell of Aerial Avionics in San Jose, Calif., “Make sure you understand customer needs and budget. Sit down and find what they want to spend, what options they’re interested in.” “Each aircraft is a little different; especially in one-off retrofit cases... a lot of those airplanes are mainly analog,” said Aaron Hall of Avidyne’s tech support department. “Check the existing equipment to make sure it works before making a quote. You need to let the owner know what he or she is getting into, and set realistic expectations about downtime.” “Start by determining the basis of certification: Is it an aircraft-specific STC or an AML-STC,” said Matt Harrah, Garmin’s director of avionics product support. “Look at that data closely, and understand whether the airplane is on that list, and what limitations apply. That requires un-

derstanding all the other avionics and how interfaces will work, especially autopilot and flight director, and backup instrument locations.” According to Ric Peri, vice president of government and industry affairs for the Aircraft Electronics Association, “STCs today are three dimensional. The STC covers not only the aircraft, but also interface applicability. AC 23-22 has specific requirements where deviation from the AML requires explicit approvals for equipment not included in the AML.” Peri also warned that modern avionics are sensitive to noise, which can be a problem in old airframes. Harrah agreed. “Newer avionics have electromagnetic interference and high intensity radiated field/lighting requirements that may not have existed when the airplane was built,” he said. “If you don’t understand those up front, it can make the install very difficult.” Robert Durall, senior manager of customer support for Cobham Commercial Systems, added: “In the last 10 years, the FAA has really tightened down on RFI/EMI issues on installation, especially for new glass installed in old airplanes, which probably won’t have the same bonding as modern aircraft. Power and ground have to be twisted together and shielded, and power must be grounded within 18 inches of the power bus. These requirements didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago. Shielding of digital lines now requires an EMI-RFI connector and all wires must be terminated to that connector, and depending on the system, you may need an over braiding shield – all driven by new HIRF requirements.” Mike Studley, director of field support at Aspen Avionics said certification issues can vary with the size, weight and category of aircraft being worked on. “A heavy twin (more than 6,000 pounds) actually requires a different version of our product with level-B software,” he said. “That can cause a big fire drill, if the shop doesn’t understand it upfront.”
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Avionics News July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News July 2012

Point of Communication
AEA Now
The View From Washington
International News and Regulatory Updates
Going Glass
Member Profile
Extra Avionics
Member Profile
Glass Panel Upgrades
Aviation Aces
Business Basics
Member Profile
A Conversation With...
Making A Difference
Theory & Practice
Legal Ease
Meet the AEA Staff
What's New
Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover1
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover2
Avionics News July 2012 - 1
Avionics News July 2012 - 2
Avionics News July 2012 - 3
Avionics News July 2012 - Point of Communication
Avionics News July 2012 - 5
Avionics News July 2012 - AEA Now
Avionics News July 2012 - 7
Avionics News July 2012 - 8
Avionics News July 2012 - 9
Avionics News July 2012 - 10
Avionics News July 2012 - 11
Avionics News July 2012 - 12
Avionics News July 2012 - 13
Avionics News July 2012 - The View From Washington
Avionics News July 2012 - 15
Avionics News July 2012 - International News and Regulatory Updates
Avionics News July 2012 - 17
Avionics News July 2012 - 18
Avionics News July 2012 - 19
Avionics News July 2012 - Going Glass
Avionics News July 2012 - 21
Avionics News July 2012 - 22
Avionics News July 2012 - 23
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 25
Avionics News July 2012 - 26
Avionics News July 2012 - 27
Avionics News July 2012 - Extra Avionics
Avionics News July 2012 - 29
Avionics News July 2012 - 30
Avionics News July 2012 - 31
Avionics News July 2012 - 32
Avionics News July 2012 - 33
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 35
Avionics News July 2012 - 36
Avionics News July 2012 - 37
Avionics News July 2012 - Glass Panel Upgrades
Avionics News July 2012 - 39
Avionics News July 2012 - 40
Avionics News July 2012 - 41
Avionics News July 2012 - 42
Avionics News July 2012 - 43
Avionics News July 2012 - Aviation Aces
Avionics News July 2012 - 45
Avionics News July 2012 - 46
Avionics News July 2012 - 47
Avionics News July 2012 - Business Basics
Avionics News July 2012 - 49
Avionics News July 2012 - Member Profile
Avionics News July 2012 - 51
Avionics News July 2012 - 52
Avionics News July 2012 - 53
Avionics News July 2012 - A Conversation With...
Avionics News July 2012 - 55
Avionics News July 2012 - Making A Difference
Avionics News July 2012 - 57
Avionics News July 2012 - Theory & Practice
Avionics News July 2012 - 59
Avionics News July 2012 - Legal Ease
Avionics News July 2012 - 61
Avionics News July 2012 - Meet the AEA Staff
Avionics News July 2012 - 63
Avionics News July 2012 - 64
Avionics News July 2012 - 65
Avionics News July 2012 - What's New
Avionics News July 2012 - 67
Avionics News July 2012 - 68
Avionics News July 2012 - 69
Avionics News July 2012 - Marketplace Classifies
Avionics News July 2012 - 71
Avionics News July 2012 - 72
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover3
Avionics News July 2012 - Cover4
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