April 7, 2010
By Dave Hirschman
The huge advancements in lithium battery technology that have improved consumer products ranging from cell phones and laptop computers to electric cars will soon arrive in aircraft.
Mid-Continent Instruments recently certified an emergency power supply known as the MD835, which is designed to keep electric attitude indicators and other critical avionics working when the aircraft systems that power them fail. Mid-Continent is best known as the inventor of the “Lifesaver” attitude indicator—an electric unit with a built-in battery backup that has been installed in more than 4,000 general aviation aircraft.
“The MD835 can power our Lifesaver electronic attitude indicators as well as a broad range of other avionics products,” said Tom Genovese, sales director at Mid-Continent. “We’re getting a great deal of interest among original equipment manufacturers—and each one of them has slightly different ideas about how best to utilize it.”
The new power supply is rated at 4.5 amp hours and weighs 4.8 pounds compared to more than 12 pounds for the lead-acid batteries it replaces. The MD835 is designed to last 10 years, more than three times as long as a traditional battery, and inspection intervals drop to two years from annually. The new batteries carry a retail price of $4,040 compared to $4,500 for the lead-acid variety.
The power supplies can keep a standby electronic attitude indicator running for hours, Genovese said, and adding other avionics such as radios, transponders, and digital flight displays is possible, but the additional current draw shortens battery life.
Pilot Safety and Skills,
Pilot Gear and Services
Your mission: Fly with eight F-15s to the Philippines, rejoin, refuel with air tankers, engage an unknown number of Red Air fighters, refuel again, and then return home to Okinawa. And fly with radio silence up to the first contact with the Red Air fighters.
The Aviation Safety Reporting System is a voluntary safety reporting program that allows airmen to make anonymous reports to the government about issues encountered in aviation, with anonymity allowing the airman to be candid–even when their actions may have been a violation of the regulations.
Five aviation apps developers make their pitch to AOPA members.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.