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Thread: uAvionix ADS-B service bulletin

  1. #1
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    uAvionix ADS-B service bulletin

    Be advised that uAvionix has come out with a service bulletin,
    mandating an update for the software in their SkyBeacon & TailBeacon ADS-B units.


    tailBeacon Software Upgrade to ADS-B 1.5.1 - uAvionix
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Be advised that uAvionix has come out with a service bulletin,
    mandating an update for the software in their SkyBeacon & TailBeacon ADS-B units.


    tailBeacon Software Upgrade to ADS-B 1.5.1 - uAvionix
    Just points out that the manufacturer is keeping up on updates. This fixes some very minor potential issues.

    These updates are easy to complete.
    MTV
    Last edited by mvivion; 12-08-2020 at 02:30 PM.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Update: Yesterday I uploaded the SB “fix” on a laptop, went to airport, updated the SkyBeacon. Tough job....might have taken three minutes.

    MTV
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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    I wrote to them yesterday to inquire about doing the update with a Chromebook. The answer was that it "must be accomplished by a certified mechanic and a Windows computer". B.S. No help whatsoever. Not impressed. Maybe a phone call would go better. Maybe.
    Gordon

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Me too, nothing to it...and I'm pretty hopeless with computer stuff.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post
    I wrote to them yesterday to inquire about doing the update with a Chromebook. The answer was that it "must be accomplished by a certified mechanic and a Windows computer". B.S. No help whatsoever. Not impressed. Maybe a phone call would go better. Maybe.
    They probably had to say that about the mechanic, for legal reasons.
    And apparently the new firmware package is only compatible with one type of computer system.
    Foreflight only works with ipad / iphone & Avare only works on androids,
    but nobody rags on them.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    but nobody rags on them
    You're right - sorry for the snotty tone. But it's still annoying, and I guess it was the curt tone of their response that got to me.
    Gordon

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Gordon,

    I've had pretty good support from those folks via email. As I'm sure you're well aware, sometimes an email message comes across as a bit terse, when in fact the intent was not.....sorta like this forum at times.

    As to the mechanic has to do so, yes, and a mechanic has to sign off the installation as well.

    I also found it interesting that the update requires a PC, since they have an app that I used on my IPhone to initialize the beacon..... I did check the app on the IPhone after "installation", and it showed that the updated software was installed.

    So, that's a bit puzzling. Maybe they got so much bitching about having to use an Apple device to set it up that....?

    If you call, they will answer, but you'll be on hold for a while, in my experience. Frankly, I'm pretty sure they're a very small company. And, they're cranking out a lot of product right now.

    But, I totally agree, stuff like this is irritating, and not everyone has a PC. For that matter, I set up a few others because our mechanic no speaky Apple devices.

    MTV
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    sjohnson's Avatar
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    Why Windows? I suspect the answer is that Windows has something like 80% share in the desktop /laptop space, and iOS has 13% in phones / tablets. Chrome OS is a simplified operating system designed to run apps on Google's cloud. It is designed for very cheap hardware and explicitly limits user flexibility. It is probably a pain to write an hardware updater for Chrome, and has at most 10% market share. If I had to choose one to support, I'd choose Windows too.

    But why must a mechanic sign this off? I get that the FAA is requiring it, but it looks like form over function. The uAvionix software does all the work. Other than checking that right version is displayed in the phone app, what is a mechanic supposed to do?

    In my case, I'll do the work and have a mechanic sign the logs, but what a waste of time.
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
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    mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    uAvionix ADS-B service bulletin

    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    Why Windows? I suspect the answer is that Windows has something like 80% share in the desktop /laptop space, and iOS has 13% in phones / tablets. Chrome OS is a simplified operating system designed to run apps on Google's cloud. It is designed for very cheap hardware and explicitly limits user flexibility. It is probably a pain to write an hardware updater for Chrome, and has at most 10% market share. If I had to choose one to support, I'd choose Windows too.

    But why must a mechanic sign this off? I get that the FAA is requiring it, but it looks like form over function. The uAvionix software does all the work. Other than checking that right version is displayed in the phone app, what is a mechanic supposed to do?

    In my case, I'll do the work and have a mechanic sign the logs, but what a waste of time.
    Iíve been on Mac since 2008. Last old Windows machine is kept around for making my label printer work. Itís running xp. Apple sends me checks each month. Microsoft never has.


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org mobile app

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    Updating software is considered a maintenance function, not preventive maintenance. Thatís why an A&P or repair station needs to sign it off. It is different than updating a database. That said, yes it is a simple process that the computer does most of the work.

    Kind of falls into the same area of installing a Brackett air filter, super easy to do but requires an IA to sign off and file a 337.


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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    In my case, I'll do the work and have a mechanic sign the logs, but what a waste of time.
    Ditto.

    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    ...I also found it interesting that the update requires a PC, since they have an app that I used on my IPhone to initialize the beacon..... I did check the app on the IPhone after "installation", and it showed that the updated software was installed.
    So, that's a bit puzzling. Maybe they got so much bitching about having to use an Apple device to set it up that....?
    ... not everyone has a PC. For that matter, I set up a few others because our mechanic no speaky Apple devices.
    You don't need an iPhone to set up the Tailbeacon, I used my android tablet.
    And use the Skybeacon app on my android phone to monitor or reconfigure the Tailbeacon.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    Updating software is considered a maintenance function, not preventive maintenance. That’s why an A&P or repair station needs to sign it off. It is different than updating a database. That said, yes it is a simple process that the computer does most of the work....
    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    I get that this is the argument the FAA is making, but it's not a good one. The process to update a GPS database is indistinguishable from the process here. An improperly updated database can case a safety issue. The check of the final results, e.g. checking the version number, is pretty much the same, too.

    But adding artificial obstacles to the update process will cause people to delay the updates, also potentially a safety issue.
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
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    I got the email from uAvionix, did not see anything about A&P sign off; I guess that is in the software on Windows. I don't have Windows anymore for one. I don't care about the FAA getting a better picture of me for two. It does not seem to be mandatory for three.
    I am not in a very congested airspace and being old school, I have a tendency to look out the window/skylight lots to check around me, and make clearing turns as well. These things are not as well indoctrinated by our current CFI's to students as much as the electronic technology of today.
    What am I missing?

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    uAvionix ADS-B service bulletin

    I called them the other day about the update. I am a qualified installer and figured Iíd have many questions directed my way from clients.

    I am not a windows guy so my first question was about the possibility of an iOS/apple based update solution. They said they have submitted that very thing to the FAA and are awaiting approval. We all know that the feds are one of the few entities that still canít spell MAC.

    I would expect an iOS update capability in not too long.




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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    I would expect an iOS update capability in not too long.
    Good news. I'd hope that would apply to Android as well.
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO
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  17. #17
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skysurfer View Post
    I got the email from uAvionix, did not see anything about A&P sign off; I guess that is in the software on Windows. I don't have Windows anymore for one. I don't care about the FAA getting a better picture of me for two. It does not seem to be mandatory for three. ....What am I missing?
    I didn't see anything about who can sign it off, or even that it had to be entered into the logs.
    The SB does have a paragraph that asks you to file an online maintenance report with uAvionix.
    There's a spot on that report for who did it, but it doesn't say anything about A&P or IA there either--
    I just put in my own name.
    My buddy who is an IA supervised & signed off my Tailbeacon installation a year ago,
    he offered to do the same with this update so my update will have an official signature.

    As far as not caring about FAA getting a better look....
    my concern would be that this update is probably to fix a glitch,
    which may or may not affect your unit.
    If it fails to meet performance parameters,
    FAA may end up flagging it & booting you out of the system.
    Then no more flying in rule airspace until you clear that up.
    I believe MTV went through at least the beginning of this process when he first installed his skybeacon.
    So you might want to do the update anyways.
    It's pretty easy, I'm sure you know someone with a PC that you can use.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    FAA considers software as parts. Removing and replacing parts outside preventive maintenance items identified in Appendix A of part 43 requires a certificate mechanic or repair station to return the aircraft to service, and requires a 43.9 record entry.


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    I put the uavionics unit on the wingtip because of the class B down here in Phoenix. Shortly thereafter a service bulletin came out for an update. I have an iPad. Would not work. Called for help. They said the FAA only uses windows and I had to use a backdoor method to update. Things did not go accordingly, and they wouldn’t answer the phone. If the FAA changes, and allows Apple products, I guess I will update things, someday.

  20. #20
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesf View Post
    I put the uavionics unit on the wingtip because of the class B down here in Phoenix. Shortly thereafter a service bulletin came out for an update. I have an iPad. Would not work. Called for help. They said the FAA only uses windows and I had to use a backdoor method to update. Things did not go accordingly, and they wouldn’t answer the phone. If the FAA changes, and allows Apple products, I guess I will update things, someday.

    As someone noted above, find a neighbor who has a laptop with Windows, load the update, take it to the plane, enable WiFi, and install. Takes all of about a minute or so, once you get to the plane.

    My understanding of the update is that it helps improve performance in "fringe coverage areas", etc. While the FAA has assured me that there's no harm no foul for those kinds of errors, I'd prefer not to attract their attention again. They were VERY helpful the first time, but.....

    MTV

    MTV
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  21. #21
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    From: Fulton, Richard D (FAA) <Richard.D.Fulton@faa.gov>
    Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 6:46 AM

    Subject: uAvionix Universal Access Transceivers
    Sensitivity: Private



    Good Morning:

    Some information related to ADS-B performance:
    Please help pass these messages along to anyone you may know that may utilize or service this equipment.

    The Messages are From the ADS-B Focus Team; AFS-340.


    • The uAvionix Universal Access Transceivers (UAT) skyBeacon and tailBeacon units are very common in the general aviation (GA) community. uAvionix has implemented a software update that has proven beneficial to relieving some exceptions that occur with respect to the broadcast of Mode 3/A (Mode A - 4096) codes when not in sufficient coverage of secondary surveillance radar interrogations. We are asking you to be aware of the software updates that are available as you interact with, or do surveillance on these types of aircraft. This software update is not mandatory, nor associated with any Airworthiness Directive, so we ask that compliance be encouraged to the maximum extent possible to aid these UAT’s in their proper operation. More information may be obtained at the uAvionix website at:

    https://uavionix.com/support/skybeacon/


    ∑ A Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) was published by the LA Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), with an original publication date of 8-26-2021. The SAIB was revised (Rev. 1) on 9-16-2021 to correct information related to aircraft type/make/model applicability. The purpose of the SAIB is to address issues that have been discovered related to ADS-B Out functions of the Honeywell RM-855 Radio Management Units. The SAIB makes reference to a Service Bulletin and Service Information Letter as well.


    As we are all aware, an SAIB does not mandate compliance. However, the problem in this case is significant. Under certain conditions, flight crews may believe that their ADS-B Out functions are operating properly. However, if a “power-on” sequence is done improperly, the ADS-B Out functions may not work correctly unbeknownst to the crews. This is why a special effort is being made here to communicate this message. Responses or tracking of aircraft compliance is not required nor requested. This is simply a communication outreach for awareness to gain maximum compliance with the service bulletin. I’ve attached the SAIB, the service bulletin, and service information letter

    Sincerely,

    Derrick Fulton, Principal Avionics Inspector
    Aviation Safety Inspector – Airworthiness
    Flight Standards Service, General Aviation Safety Assurance-Division A
    N1PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    From: Fulton, Richard D (FAA) <Richard.D.Fulton@faa.gov>
    Sent: Friday, September 17, 2021 6:46 AM

    Subject: uAvionix Universal Access Transceivers
    Sensitivity: Private
    On first read of this message I assumed there was a recent firmware update that I needed to install. I found out that the referenced firmware is version 1.5.1 which was available in 2020. The download on my hard drive is dated 10/25/2020.

    I assume FAA is trying to round up those who did not install 1.5.1 when it was released in 2020.

    The beacon can be configured with an Android phone or tablet but these cannot be used for the firmware update. Not what I would call smart systems engineering.
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    On first read of this message I assumed there was a recent firmware update that I needed to install. I found out that the referenced firmware is version 1.5.1 which was available in 2020. The download on my hard drive is dated 10/25/2020.
    Thanks, I don't have one of these gadgets, I was just passing on one of the regular E-mails which arrive from my FSDO. Perhaps Mr. Fulton finally went into the office to find a pile of papers in his "in-file"?
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    On first read of this message I assumed there was a recent firmware update that I needed to install. I found out that the referenced firmware is version 1.5.1 which was available in 2020. The download on my hard drive is dated 10/25/2020.

    I assume FAA is trying to round up those who did not install 1.5.1 when it was released in 2020.

    The beacon can be configured with an Android phone or tablet but these cannot be used for the firmware update. Not what I would call smart systems engineering.
    I updated mine on my 182 but maybe I used the Wi-Fi from my PC, I will have to look. Slept to many times since then.
    Steve Pierce

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I updated mine on my 182 but maybe I used the Wi-Fi from my PC ...
    The only method available for firmware update is to run the updater application on a Windows PC. Configuration of the beacon can be done with an Android phone or tablet. Both require Wi-Fi.
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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    .....The beacon can be configured with an Android phone or tablet but these cannot be used for the firmware update. Not what I would call smart systems engineering.
    Not as convenient having to use your laptop imstead of your phone, I'll admit--
    esp if you don't own a PC type computer!
    But way better than brand G where you have to use a tether to your laptop,
    and I don't think they even supply that--
    as I recall, you have to make up that cable yourself.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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