Category Archives: News from the web

News from various sources around the web.

Tennessee’s new official state rifle is so powerful it can ‘destroy commercial aircraft’

Widely used in the military, its rounds can “penetrate light armor, down helicopters, destroy commercial aircraft, and blast through rail … widespread availability of these guns. In 2006, the General Social Survey found that 85 percent of Americans …
Source: bingTennessee’s new official state rifle is so powerful it can ‘destroy commercial aircraft’

iPad legal briefing – what pilots need to know

legal briefing 2016

AC 120-76B is the most detailed guidance for Electronic Flight Bags, but it probably doesn’t apply to you.

Each year we publish a plain-language review of the FARs and Advisory Circulars pertaining to the use of iPads and electronic flight bags in the cockpit. This is great information for pilots looking to make the transition from paper charts to an iPad, but should also be reviewed by experienced iPad pilots as well. We like to think of it as another step in maintaining pilot currency by staying up with the legalities of using digital devices in flight.

The number one question we get on using an iPad for charts is whether it is “legal” for aviation use. The definition of “legal” depends on what type of flying you do and what you’re using your iPad for, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Here we’ll cover the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and Advisory Circulars (ACs). But first one suggestion: don’t get caught up in all the minutiae. The short answer is that the iPad is absolutely a legal replacement for paper charts in the cockpit (at least for most Part 91 GA flying).

When we say “most” Part 91 GA flying, we’re referring to operations in piston or turboprop aircraft with a max gross weight less than 12,500 lbs. If you’re flying a large, multi-engine turbojet however, you’re also governed by FAR Part 91F (Large and Turbine-Powered Multiengine Airplanes), and you’ll want to pay close attention to the new AC 120-76C outlined below.

Here are some regulations and documents that cover electronic devices and iPads:

FAR 91.21, Portable electronic devices (PEDs)

  • This applies only to air carriers and IFR flights
  • Covers almost all electronic devices–not just EFBs
  • Pilots must determine that the PED won’t interfere with the navigation or communication systems
  • The determination must be made by the PIC or operator of the aircraft

AC 91-21.1C, Use of Portable Electronic Devices Aboard Aircraft

  • This Advisory Circular is a complement to FAR 91.21
  • It reinforces that the PIC can make the determination (meaning the renter-pilot if it’s a non-owned aircraft), “without the need for sophisticated testing equipment.”
  • You can self-certify that your airplane is not adversely affected by the iPad.

AC 91-78, Use of Class 1 or Class 2 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)

IMPORTANT: This is the advisory circular that states it’s legal for FAA Part 91 GA piston aircraft pilots to use the iPad with current data as a paper chart replacement.

  • Aimed at Part 91 operators, VFR or IFR
  • EFBs can be used in all phases of flight in lieu of paper when:
    • The EFB is the functional equivalent of the paper material
    • The EFB data is current and valid
    • The EFB app meets the AC 120-76C definition/limitations of a Type A (precomposed information) or Type B (interactive) application–see below
  • A backup data source is suggested, but is not required. Note that this backup can be another electronic device.
  • Users should undergo an evaluation period to make sure they know how to use the EFB before eliminating paper charts.

AC 120-76C, Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness and Operational Use of Electronic Flight Bags (EFB)

IMPORTANT: This advisory circular does not apply to FAA Part 91 GA piston aircraft operations, but should still be referenced as guidance when using the iPad as a paper chart replacement. Pilots flying large, turbine multi-engine aircraft (FAA Part 91F) must adhere to the EFB testing and documentation requirements listed below, but DO NOT need FAA approval before using an EFB as the sole source of charts and aviation data in the cockpit.

  • The AC starts out with who’s required to comply with the guidance and who needs authorization:
    • “Aircraft operated under part 91, except for parts 91F and 91K, require no EFB authorization or compliance with this AC, provided the EFB does not replace any equipment or operating information required by the regulations.” This is the line that shows most general aviation pilots are not affected by this AC.
    • “For all aircraft, PED regulatory compliance is required. ” This refers to FAR 91.21 above.
    • “In order for a PED to be considered an EFB, its functions must conform to the guidance in this AC.”
      • Must meet at least one of the functions listed in the appendices. Appendix 2 of the AC lists “Precomposed or dynamic interactive electronic aeronautical charts” as an example application, which is the reason most pilots will be using the iPad as an EFB (e.g. ForeFlight Mobile)
      • Meet the additional evaluation criteria detailed in the AC (listed below)
    • A lot of this AC applies only to Part 121 and 135 operators, not private pilots. Here are some specific Part 91F requirements for pilots/operators of large turbine aircraft (must document this and keep on board the aircraft):
      • “EFBs used in part 91 operations in lieu of paper reference material are authorized for the intended functions provided the EFBs meet the criteria set forth in this AC. The evaluation and suitability for in-flight use of an EFB in lieu of paper reference material is the responsibility of the aircraft operator and the PIC. Any Type A or Type B EFB application, as defined in this AC, may be substituted for the paper equivalent. It requires no formal operational approval as long as the guidelines of this AC are followed”
      • “When the EFB replaces aeronautical information required by part 91, then a secondary or backup source of aeronautical information…must be available to the pilot in the aircraft…may be either traditional paper-based material or displayed electronically by other means.”
  • 3 classes of EFBs
    • Class 1 EFBs are portable and not attached in any way to the airplane (kneeboard is still Class 1)–think iPad.
      • Must be secured or stowed during critical phases of flight
      • If it’s running a Type B application, it must be secured and viewable during critical phases of flight (defined as taxi, takeoff, landing and under 10,000 ft. other than cruise)
    • Class 2 EFBs are portable and non-certified, but attached or mounted to the airplane.
    • Class 3 EFBs are certified.
  • 3 types of applications
    • Type A are intended for use on the ground or in cruise, with precomposed information (PDF versions of print documents, for example). Specific uses might include operations manuals, SOPs, OpSpecs, weight and balance manuals, flight logs, SBs, VOR checks or even the FAR/AIM.
    • Type B must be accessible in the cockpit during flight, and is interactive in nature. Examples include power setting charts, runway calculations, charts, checklists, weather or a weight and balance spreadsheet. Popular apps like ForeFlight, WingX and Garmin Pilot are Type B applications.
    • Type C are FAA-approved applications.
  • Testing/compliance required (this must all be documented and kept on board the aircraft, but is only required if replacing paper with an EFB – having paper charts as a backup would be an acceptable alternative to the testing/compliance requirements)
    • Interference testing
      • The AC provides a process (listed as Method 2) by which you can self-test the device
    • Lithium-ion battery
      • Requires safety and testing standards to be in the cockpit (UL, IEC)
      • “Operators should have documented maintenance procedures for their rechargeable lithium-type batteries…These procedures should address battery life, proper storage and handling, and safety.”
    • Decompression testing (pressurized aircraft)
      • This is not required to be completed on your actual EFB or iPad; you just need proof that a representative device has successfully completed this testing
      • “When using only Type A applications on the EFB, rapid decompression testing is not required.”
    • Stowage and mounting of EFB
      • When the device is not secured or on a mounting device, consideration needs to be given on where to stow the device to prevent unwanted EFB movement when not in use
    • Develop policies for EFB use
      • They’re mainly looking for how you’ll use the EFB in all phases of flight, and a documented plan of action in the event of EFB failure
  • Geo-referencing is allowed, with restrictions
    • “The display of an own-ship symbol limited to the airport surface is identified by this AC as a Type B software application and limited to functions having a failure condition classification considered to be a minor hazard or less, and only for use at speeds of less than 80 knots (kts).”
    • “Airborne and surface functions with a failure condition classification of major hazard or higher, which includes depiction of own-ship position in-flight, require approved software (refer to AC 20-173).”
    • Remember, this does not apply to Part 91 operations
  • Validation period
    • “Operators transitioning to a paperless or reduced-paper cockpit should carry paper backups of all the information on the EFB during a validation period. The backup information should be readily available to the crew. During this period the operator should validate that the EFB is as available and reliable as the paper-based system being replaced.”
  • Battery requirements
    • “Useful battery life must be established and documented for battery powered EFBs.”
    • Battery backup must be available. The AC offers three ways to meet this requirement, the easiest of which is to allow charging in flight.
  • Database update procedures
    • A recent addition to version C of the document, the FAA is worried about the accuracy of navigation and chart databases.
    • “Database errors can have a significantly greater impact on the flightcrew than other elements of the EFB system. With this in mind, the EFB system should have a database with appropriate quality control (QC) systems, and should be based on accuracy standards to avoid the potential presentation of hazardously misleading information.”
    • Two standards documents, RTCA/DO-200A and RTCA/DO-257A, are suggested means of compliance with this section.

Confused yet? You’re not alone. The FAA was attempting to consolidate all applicable information in one place with AC 120-76C. But the end result is a lengthy, complex, 38 page document that is often difficult to follow and requires a good deal of work for 91F operators to fully comply with. If you’re flying a large multiengine airplane and are looking for assistance in complying with this AC, check out Sporty’s iPad EFB Approval program.

In the end, the key point here is that you as PIC are responsible for ensuring that your iPad (or other PED) does not interfere with your airplane and provides a reliable source of data. This does not have to mean lots of tests and paperwork.

Our suggestion? Take a safety pilot and go flying with your tablet on a nice VFR day.

Check out our Flying with the iPad Quiz to further test your knowledge.

Source: Ipad appsiPad legal briefing – what pilots need to know

Becker Avionics celebrates 60th anniversary

Becker Avionics logo

MIRAMAR, Florida — Becker Avionics is celebrating 60 years in business this year.

Becker Avionics logoThe Becker Avionics story started in 1956 at the edge of the airfield in Baden-Baden in the Southwestern part of Germany by Max-Egon Becker. Becker’s passion for aviation and his flair for revolutionary technical solutions identified the corporate culture right from the beginning, company officials noted.

Now 60 years later, Becker Avionics designs, manufactures, sells and supports a range of navigation and communication equipment for Airborne, Air Traffic Control, Mobile and Search and Rescue applications.

Becker Avionics’ customer base includes: AgustaWestland, Airbus, ATR, the Austrian Army and Police, British Aerospace, CASA, the Dutch Police, EADS, the Egyptian Navy, the German Air Force, Navy and Army, the German Border Patrol, the German Police, the Indonesian Navy, Pilatus, the Irish Air Corps, the Portuguese Air Force, RUAG, the Swiss Air Force, the US Army, US Air Force, US Navy and US Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol, and many more including firefighting, law enforcement, border security, search and rescue operations worldwide.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comBecker Avionics celebrates 60th anniversary

Blue Sky Innovations Group appoints Tubbs Chief Technical Officer

Jimmy Tubbs

PLANO, Texas — Blue Sky Innovations, an international business and general aviation consulting firm, has appointed aerospace engineer Jimmy Tubbs Chief Technical Officer.

Tubes will be responsible for developing engineering plans and serving as a Designated Engineer Representative (DER) to facilitate modifications and certifications for global clients.

Jimmy TubbsHis expertise will streamline processes for aircraft and power plant design and development to TC, and FAA STC management for power plant, airframe and avionic modifications and upgrades, according to company officials.

In addition, he will be involved in working with government regulatory agencies around the world to obtain the proper certifications required for BSI clients to sell beyond their borders.

Tubbs has been in the general aviation industry for more than 50 years as an aerospace engineer, A&P mechanic, FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER), accident investigator and licensed pilot. For much of his career, he has developed modifications and certifications to build and convert piston engines and component parts.

He spent 17 years as an civilian engineer and engineering supervisor for the US Air Force where he developed the SUU-21A training bomb dispenser, conducted the F-102 compressor stall program and led the development of the T-38 Lead-Ion Fighter. He left the Air Force when he purchased Daily Tubbs Aero,  a company that sold aircraft piston engine component parts and developed modifications to general aviation airplanes.

After operating the company for six years, Daily Tubbs Aero was sold to a predecessor company of Danbury Aerospace. Tubes was the VP of Engineering for Danbury Aerospace for 31 years before Danbury was acquired by Continental Motors.


Source: http://generalaviationnews.comBlue Sky Innovations Group appoints Tubbs Chief Technical Officer

Here We Go Again? House Republican Leadership Prepares CR For FAA

AIRR Act May Be On Life Support The FAA reauthorization bill is unlikely to make it to the full U.S. House of Representatives in its current form, as the Republican leadership in the house is reportedly preparing a short-term extension … known as Continuing Resolution … to continue funding the FAA past the end of March.
Source: aero newsHere We Go Again? House Republican Leadership Prepares CR For FAA

Senate Prepping Alternate FAA Bill

Commerce Committee Chair John Thune Says They May Mark Up A Bill Soon Saying that the Senate was “not going to wait that much longer,” Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune (R-SD) indicated that his committee may soon start work on an alternate FAA reauthorization bill that is being developed after the House bill appears to have stalled over ATC privatization.
Source: aero newsSenate Prepping Alternate FAA Bill

AeroSports Update: Coming In June?Airman Certification Standards

Practical Test Standards Are Being Replaced With Airman Certification Standards For Private Pilot-Airplane And Instrument Rating For many years pilots have used the Practical Test Standards (PTS) for guiding them through testing for pilot certification. The PTS ultimately determines the level of training because of the requirement for new pilots, or pilots obtaining additional ratings, to comply with the standards. In June of this year, private pilots being tested for an airplane rating, and instrument rating applicants will be tested under a new system.
Source: aero newsAeroSports Update: Coming In June?Airman Certification Standards