View Full Version : Avionics installations and approvals
10-18-2003, 10:21 PM
Am concerned as to what is the lastest on installing radios, transponders here in Alaska (newly recognized third world country by FAA) and what is the procedure in the lower 48.
Will soon be selecting what to install in this project Cub of mine but am getting nervous as to what I can do.
My last experience was 3 years ago when I installed a transponder and encoder in my Cub and then found that I could no longer just do it myself with simple 337/ weight & bal change etc. (like I had for years) and must now get it field approved as all installations were now classified as a major alteration. I called the local FAA guy who handled that sort of thing and the whole process went smoothly (except for the frustration of getting used to the idea).
Now with the lastest "field approval" fiasco going on up here I'm hearing horror storys of the Feds wanting engineering done. One fellow said he was quoted 1200 to do the engineering for a simple com radio.
Also hearing rumors of the "Alaska Only" label being put on the installation if this isn't done. Does this mean that my radio won't talk east of Northway?? And Illegal to use through Canada and heaven forbid in the lower 48 cause it is unsafe??
Surely this isn't required everywhere else; as it would sure cripple the Avionics shops.
Is this is all just wild rumors ?
10-19-2003, 05:18 AM
In alaska I think power would be important. Many radio/gps combos are low output. I prefer the King silver Crown series. The Kx155 navcom and the KY 197 are Highout put units. I put the KY197A because it's a TSO'd unit with a 10 watt transmitter and its slim. (2 in. or less) It is expensive though, but a tough radio. Buy new if you can. For nav I bought an older (mid90's) ARNAV 5000 GPS for about 800.00. It's one of easiest gps I ever used. And Center on top of my Dash I use a Garmin 295. But Power would be the priority for me on the transceiver part.
10-19-2003, 06:19 AM
I think the Becker Combo is perfect for installation in a Super Cub. They're compact, easy to install, TSO'd and the Becker quality is second to none. The transponder is latest technology - fully transistorized.
The radio has 7 W output.
I've installed three systems so far with total customer satisfaction.
10-19-2003, 08:25 AM
Now a dumb question.
If I bolt in a tso'd unit, do I just make a logbook entry or ???
10-19-2003, 08:50 AM
If you are replacing a radio it is not a major repair or alteration according to my local avionics shop and FAA Inspector. You are simply replacing a part. My Clipper never didn't come from the factory with a radio. I installed a Com/GPS and Transponder on a 337 using the 43.13. After my accident the FAA nor the insurance company questioned it.
I like the Becker and the Micro-Air radios and transponders. I have had good service with both and they are compact. I hate the rack of radios between your legs in a SC
10-19-2003, 11:19 AM
I would agree that a replacement of a previously approved unit would not be an alteration.
I think they are saying that any new installation is a major alteration and requires approval. I plan to install entirely different radios and in the dash rather then hanging under the panel. It has never had a transponder.
Maybe this is another "Alaskan way" of doing things and as I understand it I will have to get the "holy water" sprinkled on it by the Feds.
What must the shops do for New installations?
Would somebody print the part of the FAR's that makes them think that installing a TSO'd radio in an airplane original equipped with an electrical system is a "Major" alteration. I am too dumb to find such reference and have been for over 20 years now.
10-23-2003, 08:56 AM
Good news update: :D
Been trying to talk to the people "who know". Seams that everyone is out of town or sick. (even the Feds) Did talk to one of the local radio shops here in Anchorage that has been around forever. He said that as of October 1st the Feds changed the rules back to like they used to be. He said that all that is required to make simple installations (comm / transponder etc.) is a log book entry and weight & balance / equipment list revision. (minor alteration) He's been having to get the field approvals for years, but as he said; it is now back like it was 20 years ago. He said that if they hadn't done this there would be no forward movement in the industry.
Funny how something that they felt wasn't safe to do without their oversight is now just fine.
Plan to keep checking until I get it strait from the horses mouth.... FAA
10-23-2003, 11:33 AM
Anyone have any experience / advice on the ICOM A200 panel mount? Seems pretty slim and small. Wonder if it is a good radio and will last/ outlast some of these others discussed here, beckers, kings, micro air. How does depth compare?
10-23-2003, 12:19 PM
Have a friend with the ICOM A-200 installed in his cub and it works fine.
It is about the same dimensions as the KY-97A. Works and looks like a king clone. A little cheaper also.
10-23-2003, 02:44 PM
We installed an Icom A-200 in the spam can to replace the Cessna 300 radio/wheel chock. Have had good luck with it. The interesting thing about the Icom A-200 and King KY97 is that you can swap radios in each others tray and they still work.
10-23-2003, 04:26 PM
Icom's website makes it appear that the TSO'd A200 is a relatively new product, can you install a non TSO's A200 and still get it bought off?
10-25-2003, 12:49 PM
I've always done new avionics installations on a 337, referencing AC43.13-2A. There is a whole chapter of approved data to use there, never had a problem. It's the "structural" installation that could be a major alteration. Not so much with stick airplanes, but in yoke types, avionics have broken loose from panels, jammed controls, and caused crashes.
One thing to remember when installing new avionics, King, for instance, and I'm sure other manufacturers, void any warranty unless the installation is accomplished by one of their "authorized service centers". I'm not one of their "authorized service centers", so I have done the physical nut and bolt installations on some, then sent it to the radio shop who is a "authorized service center" for them to finish the wiring and sign it off so the warranty will still be valid. Too many big bucks in those little boxes, and I don't want to be responsible for voiding a warranty if the thing smokes.
10-25-2003, 02:35 PM
Went to the Aviation North Expo last weekend in Fairbanks. One of the panel discussions there had to do with the "legacy" program for field approvals in Alaska. This is the deal that says most stuff approved on a field approval in Alaska between Oct 1, 2003 and Oct 1, 2005 will be treated different than earlier field approvals and stcs. If you field approve something during that time period, the (sort of) old rules will apply, BUT the FA will ONLY apply in Alaska, and after the latter date, it will even be illegal in Alaska, unless you then pursue some stc approval.
FA's approved prior to Oct 1, 2003 will be considered airworthy, and will require no further ado.
There was a lot of talk reference approvals for avionics, and the FAA types said that they would work with the shops to make as much stuff approvable under "minor alterations" as possible, but it was clear that not everything was going to fall under this category.
It is yet to be seen what all this means, and it seems to me that there's still a lot of room to wiggle both directions, depending on the bent of the FAA guy looking at the installation. Whether they'll still have that latitude next year, though, is really a question.
I am using the Becker Xponder, and have used the Becker comm. They are both outstanding radios. Period. Further, since they mount in standard instrument holes, they don't require elaborate radio racks, and they keep the radios out from tween your knees, which I am all for.
I suspect that it would be a lot easier to get the installation of these radios approved than just about anything else.
With the advent of all the whiz bang technology that's happening in the world of avionics, ain't it grand that the FAA is doing everything it can to facilitate installation of this advanced equipment?
As a side note on the other side of this arguement: This spring we had an Iridium phone installed in a 206. This fall, I started smelling gas in the cabin. Got worse. Short story: the avionics guy had tie-wrapped some wiring in the door post, forcing the aileron cable into contact with the fuel line. Cable sawed through fuel line.
This was a very responsible avionics guy who did the install. The point is that "just installing a radio" may not always be as simple a game as would first appear.
Glad I'm not a smoker.
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