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Don't take panel-mount option out of portable GPS, AOPA tells FAADon't take panel-mount option out of portable GPS, AOPA tells FAA

Don't take panel-mount option out of portable GPS, AOPA tells FAA

Think your portable GPS would work great mounted to your old Cessna 172's instrument panel? If the FAA has its way, you won't be able to mount it. The parts - panel dock and connective wiring - needed to mount your portable GPS would either no longer be available or be too expense to buy.

The FAA's proposal would make it illegal for manufacturers to produce a replacement or modification part if they know (or should know) the part would end up installed in a certified aircraft - that is unless they obtain production approval from the agency. But that costs tens of thousands of dollars, something many companies can't afford.

While AOPA agrees production approval is necessary for critical parts like connecting rods and cylinders, it isn't needed for non-critical parts like a portable GPS panel dock or traffic detector that enhance pilot safety.

"This [rule] would basically require any person who manufactures a part, like a light bulb, smoke detector, entertainment system, or other non-critical part that has not been identified as a 'standard or commercial part' to obtain a production approval from the FAA if the part is to be installed in a type-certificated product," Gutierrez said in formal comments opposing the proposed rule.

Also under the rule, parts listed on the design approval for one aircraft couldn't be used as a replacement in another aircraft.

For example, let's say Cessna installs GE light bulbs in the aircraft's instrument panel and lists the bulb in its design approval. Well, you wouldn't be able to use that same type of light bulb to replace the burned out one in your old Bonanza.

These proposals "would substantially increase the cost of general aviation parts and unnecessarily stifle the development and availability of safety and operational enhancement modifications," Gutierrez told the FAA. "AOPA requests that the FAA revise this proposal to ensure that replacement and modification parts remain affordable and available to GA aircraft owners."

February 1, 2007

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