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Wingtip ADS-B nearing certification Wingtip ADS-B nearing certification

uAvionix to offer tail solution, as welluAvionix to offer tail solution, as well

uAvionix expects FAA certification of its skyBeacon wingtip light and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out transmitter within four to six weeks, Shane Woodson said at the 2018 Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas on March 27. The company also 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.

uAvionix, which said at the 2018 Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas that it is nearing TSO certification for its innovative skyBeacon wingtip light and ADS-B Out transmitter, also showed the tailBeacon--a similar product designed for installation on the aircraft's tail. Photo by Mike Collins.

Although the company originally planned to have its wingtip-mounted product approved for installation in certified aircraft by the February time frame, uAvionix decided to pursue a complete technical standard order (TSO) approval—and to add four white LED strobes to the product to increase flexibility, said Woodson, uAvionix director of sales. The strobes are controllable from the company’s app, which also simplifies configuration of the ADS-B datalink.

The FAA has mandated ADS-B Out for flight after Jan. 1, 2020, in airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today. These uAvionix products are universal access transceivers (UATs), providing ADS-B Out on the 978-MHz datalink frequency.

Among other products, uAvionix last year developed the Scout—an ultracompact, $199 portable ADS-B receiver designed to display in-flight weather and traffic on the ForeFlight app.

The company also has developed the skySensor, a green LED navigation light for the right wing—complementing the skyBeacon's red LED position light for the aircraft’s left wing—that includes a dual-band ADS-B receiver and Wi-Fi capabilities to transmit the data to a tablet computer in the cockpit. The skySensor is priced at $750.

The TSOed skyBeacon will be priced in the $1,750 to $2,000 range, Woodson said, adding that uAvionix really wants to be able to offer the ADS-B Out and In hardware for $2,500. "And you will save a ton on installation" compared to other ADS-B products in the market, he added, with an estimated installation time of no more than one hour. The skyBeacon is available today for $1,499 for installation on experimental and light sport aircraft.

"We feel this will drive some of those people on the fence to equip," he added, with its low price point and low installation cost. He said uAvionix recognizes that the National Airspace System will be safest when all aircraft are equipped with ADS-B.

The FAA has been very cooperative through the certification process, Woodson added. "This is our first manned aircraft certification and it's on a product that's uncharted territory, if you will." He said the company requested several deviations from TSO requirements—not at all uncommon in certification projects—and the FAA seemed fine with those requests.

TSO certification of the tailBeacon will follow, Woodson said. "We're anticipating a pretty fast path to TSO on this," he said, because the skyBeacon should set its path to FAA approval.

Pricing for the tailBeacon has not been set, but Woodson noted that it likely will be a little higher for rotorcraft applications—it will be beefed up to withstand helicopter vibrations, and that will require additional testing.

The company also exhibited the Echo ESX, a very small and lightweight 1090-MHz Mode S extended squitter ADS-B Out solution, which also incorporates a dual-band ADS-B receiver, a fully integrated attitude and heading reference system, and a serial port for displaying data on an EFIS.

Woodson said the Echo ESX will be available at Sun 'n Fun in April for the experimental market. "We're going down the certification path with it, too," he said, with a target of fall 2018 or spring 2019.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: Technology, ADSB, Avionics

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