Avionics manufacturer uAvionix believes it will have FAA technical standard order (TSO) approval for its innovative skyBeacon wingtip position light and integrated Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out transmitter before EAA AirVenture, or someone will walk the plank—figuratively, anyway. “We will either bring skyBeacon to sell and install on your aircraft, or a dunk tank for our certification lead,” said Paul Beard, the company’s CEO.
ADS-B uses satellites instead of ground-based radar to determine aircraft position, and is a key technology behind the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System. The FAA has mandated ADS-B Out for flight after Jan. 1, 2020, in airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today. uAvionx said the skyBeacon, which incorporates a WAAS GPS position source as well as LED position and anticollision strobe lights, when paired with an existing Mode C transponder will meet the requirements of the FAA mandate.
“We are on the final stretch having achieved numerous major milestones in the skyBeacon certification process,” the email said. “Specifically, skyBeacon has seen rigorous environmental and performance testing, exceeding required standards and ensuring compatibility with a wide variety of aircraft. We’ve worked with the FAA to gain a groundbreaking approval for integrating the modern microelectronics necessary to make skyBeacon a reality. Despite these successes, we haven’t yet crossed the finish line. Over the last several months we've quadrupled our team, devoting significant resources to quickly complete the skyBeacon TSO. We are humbled by the response and continued support of our customers who have partnered with us to help shape a unique vision of aviation.”
A non-TSOed version of the skyBeacon is available today for experimental and light sport aircraft.
The company has started sourcing the parts for the first production run and does not anticipate any delays in fulfilling orders, Reed said, adding that uAvionix plans to offer a limited number of installations on the field during EAA AirVenture this summer. The cost will be approximately 15 minutes of shop time, he added.
Dallas Avionics, Inc., a uAvionix distributor, began taking pre-orders June 4 for the skyBeacon. “The skyBeacon offers owners of light aircraft a cost-effective ADS-B solution that is easy to install and also provides nice LED navigation and anticollision lighting as a value add,” said Scott Edwards, a Dallas Avionics sales representative.
An estimated installation time of less than 15 minutes, combined with an introductory retail price of $1,849, is “the lowest cost-of-ownership product on the market for ADS-B compliance, including installation,” Edwards said. The company is accepting preorders by phone at 800-527-2581.
At the 2018 Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas in March, uAvionix displayed a new product it has been developing for several months—the tailBeacon, a white aircraft tail light replacement with integral ADS-B Out and GPS position source designed for aircraft on which the wingtip mount is not practical.
Although uAvionix originally planned to have its wingtip-mounted ADS-B Out product approved for installation in certified aircraft earlier, the company decided to pursue a full TSO approval—and to add four white LED strobes to the product to increase flexibility, said Shane Woodson, uAvionix director of sales. The strobes are controllable from the company’s app, which also simplifies configuration of the ADS-B datalink.
uAvionix also is developing the skySensor—a companion right position light, with green LED lighting and LED strobes, and integrated ADS-B In—to complement the left-wing skyBeacon.