Maintenance - Page 5 Aviation Articles

Are You In or Are You Out?

ADS-B In VS. ADS-B Out

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

Avionics at Elliott Aviation

 

Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast, or ADS-B, is a system put into place by the FAA that promises to make the skies safer for everyone. ADS-B signals use GPS technology, which is far more reliable than radar and will allow air traffic control to reduce separation minimums. As an upcoming mandate, each aircraft will be required to transmit ADS-B to ground stations by January 1st, 2020. While the mandate to aircraft operators only requires ADS-B out, this technology can give you some highly beneficial information by utilizing ADS-B in. I’ll explain the differences below:

ADS-B Out

When you hear about mandates from the FAA, they are talking about ADS-B out. ADS-B out is a WAAS GPS based signal that broadcasts your aircraft position, vector, altitude and velocity to ADS-B ground stations. This will allow air traffic controllers to more efficiently route traffic to reduce congestion, emission and fuel consumption. To ensure safety, ADS-B needs to broadcast WAAS GPS data from a highly accurate source. Your two options are the dedicated 978 MHz universal access transceiver (UAT), or a 1090 MHz Mode S “extended squitter” transponder with an approved WAAS GPS navigation source. If you already have a WAAS GPS on board, you may just need your transponder updated.

ADS-B In

While on the surface, ADS-B may just seem like a mandate, you can take advantage of ADS-B technology by utilizing the highly-beneficial ADS-B in. ADS-B in gives you free datalink traffic and weather that can be show on select displays and mobile devices. With a dual-link receiver, ADS-B in allows you to see all ADS-B equipped aircraft in your vicinity because it receives signals for 978 UAT and 1090 MHz ES transponders. In addition, when you are in range of ground stations, you see a traffic picture similar to what the air traffic controllers are seeing.

ADS-B will give pilots and passengers many long-term benefits, however, ADS-B in gives you a more immediate return on your investment. If you have any further questions on if your aircraft will comply or how you can take advantage of ADS-B in, contact your certified avionics installer.

Mark Wilken is the Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation, which employs over 40 avionics technicians at their headquarters in Moline, IL. Mark began his career at Elliott Aviation in 1989 as a bench technician repairing radios and quickly became the manager of the department. Mark helped launch Elliott Aviation’s Garmin G1000 retrofit program in which the company has installed more King Air G1000’s than all other dealers in the world combined. Recently, he has headed STC programs for the newly launched Aircell ATG 2000 system for Hawker 800/850/900, Phenom 300 and King Air 350/B200/B200GT. Mark is a licensed pilot and holds an associate’s degree in avionics and a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Southern Illinois University.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

 

New Cost Effective Solutions for Upcoming Mandates

Garmin is Now Offering Standalone ADS-B Solutions

By Conrad Theisen
Avionics Sales Manager for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

Earlier this year, Garmin announced a cost-effective, stand-alone Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) solution for Citation V, Hawker 800A/XP, Hawker 400A/XP, Learjet 60 and Learjet 35A. Their solution, which utilizes Garmin’s GTX 3000 Mode S Extended Squitter (ES) transponders, satisfies upcoming global ADS-B mandates without making costly Flight Management System (FMS) and cockpit display upgrades. What this means for owners and operators of these aircraft is that you now have a much more cost-effective solution to meet your NextGen requirements.

Not only does this solution satisfy upcoming NextGen mandates but paired with the Garmin GDL 88 ADS-B datalink and Flight Stream wireless gateway it gives you the capability to wirelessly receive the benefits of ADS-B In on your mobile device. While not a requirement, the addition of ADS-B In allows you to receive traffic and weather on your mobile device, which in these aircraft, currently do not have any other way of displaying the information.

Elliott Aviation is currently working on an STC to install Garmin’s new ADS-B solution in Hawker 800A/XP and Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP, while Executive Aircraft Maintenance is working on the STC for the Citation V and Butler National is pursuing an STC for Lear 60 and Lear 35A. With thousands of these aircraft currently in service, owners and operators now have a way to meet NextGen requirements and get added benefits of ADS-B In without the cost of a full cockpit retrofit.

Conrad Theisen has been with Elliott Aviation since 1996. He started his career as an Avionics Installer and was promoted to Avionics Manager in 2001. In 2009, he led the Customer Service and Project Management teams for all in-house aircraft. He joined the Avionics Sales team in 2012.

 

Can You Buy Replacement Aircraft Data Plates on the Internet?

The internet can be a wonderful thing. From the convenience of your computer you can buy most things aviation. Whether you are looking for pilot supplies, aviation paraphernalia or even an aircraft, it is quite likely that you can locate, and complete, your purchase via the internet. But, the convenience of buying through the internet doesn't always mean that you are really receiving the item for which you paid, or that you will be able to actually use the item as anticipated. A recent Legal Interpretation issued by the FAA's Office of the Chief Counsel illustrates this point.

This particular Legal Interpretation responded to a request from an individual regarding an advertisement on an internet auction site promoting the sale of "high quality reproduction aircraft identification plates." Specifically, the individual wanted to know how to determine "whether a reproduction plate is 'eligible for installation on a type certificated product.'"

The Interpretation initially notes 14 C.F.R. § 21.8 states that a part which must be approved by the FAA, such as an aircraft data plate, must be approved for production under a parts manufacturing authority (PMA), a type supplemental order (TSO), in conjunction with type certification procedures, or the catchall: "in any other manner approved by the FAA." It goes on to observe that, not surprisingly, when it comes to installation of data plates on aircraft, the FAA usually relies upon the original aircraft manufacturer to install the data plates on its aircraft.

According to the FAA Chief Counsel, the FAA views the aircraft manufacturer's installation of the data plates as a declaration or representation that the aircraft conforms to its type design. If for some reason the aircraft manufacturer refuses to issue or install data plates, the FAA assumes (yes, the Legal Interpretation actually uses the word "assumes") the aircraft does not conform to its type design.

With that background, the Interpretation then addressed several situations in which the aircraft owner may not have original identification plates issued by the aircraft manufacturer. First, if the data plate is lost, stolen or damaged during maintenance operations, the Interpretation states that the aircraft owner should "seek a replacement from the aircraft's original manufacturer." Unfortunately, since product liability exposure is always a concern for manufacturers, they are reluctant to issue a new data plate and expose themselves to additional potential liability for an aircraft whose condition they have been unable or unwilling to verify. As a result, that option is seldom successful.

Next, the Interpretation addressed the situation in which "the aircraft's original manufacturer is no longer in business or is otherwise unable or unwilling to produce a replacement plate for reasons unrelated to the condition of the aircraft. It observed that FAA Advisory Circular 45-2D, Identification and Registration Marking provides a means of compliance. Referencing Section 6(i)(3) of AC 45-2D, the Interpretation states than an owner or operator may only buy data plates from an approved source after "going through the process" of contacting the local Flight Safety Standards District Office (FSDO) or Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) for assistance and approval in obtaining a replacement. Unfortunately, neither the Interpretation nor AC 45-2D provide any explanation for what this "process" involves or requires from the aircraft owner or operator, nor does it state what the FSDO or MIDO are obligated to do in assisting or providing approval of a replacement data plate. As a result, it is unclear whether this is truly a practical or viable option.

Finally, in addressing the specific request before it, the Interpretation concludes that "[a] reproduction identification plate sold on an online auction website would presumably be produced by neither the manufacturer nor an FAA-approved alternative source (such as a PMA holder for the article), and therefore it could not indicate to the FAA that an aircraft conforms to its type design." And without an approved data plate to "prove" conformity with the type design, the aircraft would be ineligible for a standard airworthiness certificate.

So, the moral of the story: Simply because you can buy replacement data plates on the internet (or anything else for that matter), that doesn't mean you can use them. At least the individual in this case asked the question before, rather than after, spending good money on "reproduction" data plates. But, as with most purchases, some degree of "caveat emptor" is almost always a good thing.

Beechjet/Hawker 400XP Garmin G5000 Retrofit Program

Breathing New Life into a Timeless Airframe

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

At NBAA this year, spectators had the opportunity to see the Garmin G5000 first-hand in the Beechjet. This is exciting news for Beechjet/Hawker 400XP owners and operators alike as it further affirms the longevity for this aircraft. Because avionics parts obsolescence is becoming a prevalent issue in older airframes, the G5000 retrofit rids any obsolescence issues and further enhances the capabilities of this magnificent airframe.

Garmin recognized the importance of the G5000 program, as over 700 Beechjet/Hawker 400XPs/Jayhawk T-1A are currently flying, with many of them older and rapidly facing avionics parts obsolescence issues. However, this viable airframe is still a leader in the light jet segment. The aircraft features 450 Knot speeds with a 1,300+ NM range. Additionally, this airframe is based on a squared oval design with a flat floor, allowing a superior cabin cross-section for ultimate head and shoulder room.

Paired with the G5000, the useful load increases by 150 lbs or more. The G5000 is not just a partial avionics upgrade leaving much of the 1980’s technology but a complete replacement of the entire avionics suite including a new Garmin autopilot system. The G5000 instrument panel consist of three 12” LCD displays that provide the pilot and copilot with all the latest technologies including Synthetic Vision, Electronic Charts, XM Weather, WAAS/LPV, ADS-B, Engine Indication, MFD Range Rings including Reserve Rings, and more.

The 2nd half of this decade will see the Beechjet series aircraft facing CRT Display obsolescence, AHRS obsolesce, WAAS/LPV upgrades, ADS-B out upgrades and a rising cost per hour for avionics repairs. The G5000 will take care of all of these issues in one short downtime, making it a true upgrade that will keep this aircraft flying for many years to come.

With the G5000 officially flying in the experiential stage, customers are looking at this retrofit beginning late 2015. At Elliott Aviation, we are looking forward to installing the Garmin G5000 in Beechjet/Hawker 400XP’s from all over the world. We will be striving to achieve the same milestones that make our Garmin G1000 King Air retrofits such a success like a 15-day downtime, all new wiring, and industry-leading checkout instruction.

About the Author

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

 

Having an AMT on Staff makes Financial Sense

Having an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) on staff can be invaluable to a business aviation flight department. Some operators will whole-heartedly agree with this, and others may not be so sure. Lets take a look at the numbers.


Reduction in unscheduled maintenance. Prior to trips, the AMT can perform a more thorough pre-flight than the pilot can do. When the aircraft is not flying, the AMT will be doing minor tasks and cleanup items versus waiting to have them done during a scheduled check. A little TLC can help keep an aircraft reliable.

Higher rates of dispatch reliability. The response time of an in-house AMT is immediate. A flat tire or burned-out landing light can delay a trip by many hours when waiting for the local FBO to send someone over to look at the plane. Plus, they may not have the tire or bulb needed.

What is the cost of a delayed or missed trip? It isn't easy finding a last minute charter. A minimum delay needed to find, book and have a charter aircraft on hand may be four to eight hours, if you are lucky. If there are three senior executives cooling their heels in the pilot lounge, how much is their time worth? If they have a combined salary of $1 million, their worth to to corporation can be 5-10 times that. So $5 million annually could be costing you $2,500 per hour in waiting time for those executives! A four-hour delay can cost $10,000 in lost productivity of the passengers.

The cost of the charter itself is not inconsequential. Assuming $3,500 per hour for a mid-size business jet, and an 8-hour round trip, the charter cost is $28,000. You avoid the operating cost of your own aircraft. Accounting for that variable cost, assuming $2,000 per hour, still results in an increased cost for the trip of an added $12,000 (more if an overnight and waiting times are needed).

What if the trip is cancelled? What if the cancelled trip results in a delayed opening of a new factory, or a lost opportunity to land new business? There is no way to easily calculate this lost opportunity cost, but it can be huge. It was important enough to have an aircraft and schedule the trip.

It isn't too hard to see a single lost or significantly delayed trip can easily cost a company $100,000 or more. One trip saved by your in-house AMT can be the break-even point!

Other areas the AMT is well worth having around is in the ability to save money on scheduled maintenance. Turbine aircraft maintenance facilities charge around $85 to $125 per hour shop labor. The AMT typically has the tools and facilities to do much of the minor, routine checks. If that capability is outsourced to a facility an hours' flight time away, the travel time and costs are higher.

When major maintenance is being performed, the AMT can monitor the progress of the tasks and represent the aircraft owner. This "babysitting" of the aircraft can result in an on-time, on-budget completion of the maintenance task. A great service center will make every effort to get the job done right, and having your AMT on hand will enable them to do just that.

Lastly, a good AMT knows his or her aircraft better than anybody else. I've seen maintenance manuals with pages of handwritten notes in them. Those notes represent the knowledge of your AMT with respect to your aircraft and are much more valuable than the manuals themselves.

If your flight department has more than two aircraft, the decision to hire an AMT is an easy one. Even for a small, turbine flight department, the AMT can make sense from both a financial and effectiveness perspective. When considering hiring an AMT, look at the benefits and you will likely agree the cost is worthwhile. 

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