skyBeacon: turning base to final
Most of the turbulence is behind us and we are lining up to shoot the approach.
What is the status of the skyBeacon certification?
When does uAvionix expect to complete the certification?
We will file our TSO by the end of June.
We are on the final stretch having achieved numerous major milestones in the skyBeacon certification process. 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.
We hope to see each and every one of you at AirVenture. We will either bring skyBeacon to sell and install on your aircraft, or a dunk tank for our certification lead.
Thank you for your support and interest in skyBeacon,
The uAvionix Team
TSO Certified product begins shipping in August 2018. We will fulfill orders as quickly as possible. Orders placed today are expected to ship mid-September.
skyBeacon is designed to be a direct replacement for the common navigation light or nav/strobe found on many aircraft. skyBeacon has the form factor and installation characteristics of a traditional Grimes style teardrop shaped wingtip navigation light.
It is recommended that you download the skyBeacon installation and user instructions and carefully check the installation template with the aircraft prior to purchase ensuring that the skyBeacon will fit your aircraft.
The installation manual is available from:
The installation mounting template is available from:
The skyBeacon will work with any Mode C and Mode S transponder. Due to the unique design and technology of the skyBeacon, there is no need to run any new wiring to the transponder.
skyBeacon is eligible for installation on any certified aircraft (part 23), that operates below FL180 (18,000’). In addition to certified aircraft, SkyBeacon is eligible for installation on experimental and light sport aircraft (LSA).
If you wingtips or lighting configuration are not supported by the skyBeacon you have a few options.
The tailBeacon ADS-B out solution is now available for Experimental aircraft. More information on this product is coming soon. The current list pricing is $ 1,649.00 USD. The tailBeacon is a direct replacement for the most common rear position lights.
Install alternate wingtips:
There are several wingtip manufacturers offering Cessna and Piper wingtips to improve performance and support new lighting configurations. In many cases, new wingtips can lower your stall speed and add tangible performance improvements. One such manufacturer is Stene Aviation.
Initially, there will be two STC’s for skyBeacon installation. The first STC is for the Cessna 172, followed by the Piper PA28. These high and low-wing installations satisfy the FAA requirements and will enable subsequent skyBeacon installations to be performed on any “suitable aircraft” without STC as a minor alteration.
A suitable aircraft supports the installation of the skyBeacon without airframe modification.
See mounting template for a 1:1 scale drawing to help you make this determination.
skyBeacon is a direct replacement for the lights shown below (as an example).
After the outer cover screw is removed the mounting base for the lights shown above will have the same 3 hole mounting pattern as skyBeacon. See installation manual for full details.
We do not currently recommend skyBeacon be installed on aircraft with fuel tanks commonly referred to as tip tanks which were popular additions to some aircraft. Tip tanks or other large obstructions on the wing may negatively impact GPS performance. For guidance on fitment and installation submit a photo of your wingtip along with the year, manufacturer and model to mailto:email@example.com
The skyBeacon installation is considered a minor alteration and can be approved by the installer for most aircraft. At this time a form 337 should be completed and submitted along with the proper logbook entries. Please note, the installer must determine if the conditions are appropriate for installation on a specific aircraft. Additional guidance for ADS-B installation, performance verification, logbook entries and 337 instructions have been provided in the FAA policy memo titled “Installation Approval for ADS-B OUT Systems”
The following chart shows the installation path as advised by the FAA, with highlighted guidance as it pertains to skyBeacon.
Experimental Aircraft: Yes
Light Sport Aircraft: With manufacturer approval.
Certified Aircraft: You cannot install skyBeacon unless you have Inspection Authority for your aircraft. We recommend you contact an avionics installation facility or your regular Inspection Authorization (IA). Most IAs, aircraft maintenance facilities, and/or repair stations are also qualified to install skyBeacon. Please note that the installation must be tested to verify proper configuration and operation.
For certified aircraft, the skyBeacon must at the very least be installed by an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic (A&P) and the installation must be reviewed and approved (signed off) by an IA. Part 145 shops and facilities with avionics expertise will optimize timely installation and downtime in addition to reducing overall cost.
The skyBeacon has been designed to be a simple installation. Please see the Installation Manual and Pilot’s Guide for full instructions. The installation process is to first remove the existing left-hand wingtip light. Connect the skyBeacon using the three wires as per the installation instructions and use the three screws to attach the skyBeacon to the wingtip. After the mechanical installation is completed the SkyBeacon must be configured using the SkyBeacon mobile application for Android or iOS.
A typical skyBeacon installation will take an installer around 1 hour – this is the time taken for the physical installation of the skyBeacon to the aircraft and the paperwork needed to sign off the installation. Please note that all aircraft are different, especially older aircraft that have been modified for other STC’s. This can potentially affect the installation time. This is why it is extremely important to discuss the installation with a certified avionics shop or A&P or IA.
To summarize the requirements of AC20-165B (see links below): The performance flight should take place for a minimum of 30 minutes from wheels up. The aircraft should climb to 3,000’+ AGL and perform a minimum of 2 360 degree turns in each direction. Banks in excess of 30 degrees and extreme maneuvers and attitudes should be avoided. Any climb or descent should be a minimum of 1 minute in length. The area of flight should have excellent radar and ADS-B coverage. A map of the current ADS-B coverage at various altitudes AGL is located here: https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/programs/adsb/ICM/
Operational Flight Evaluation. Conduct an operational flight evaluation (OFE) per
section 91.407(b) and request an FAA ADS-B compliance report. Reports are available from:
Flight profile guidance is provided in section 4.3.2 of AC 20-165B: https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_20-165B.pdf
Once the skyBeacon has been installed it is required that the equipment be tested to show it meets the FAA requirements for ADS-B OUT. An Operational Flight Evaluation (often referred to as a performance flight) must be performed and verified by the FAA. Additionally, the installer may verify performance on the ground using an ADS-B ramp test set.
Ramp Test Equipment (ref. section 91.407(c)). Use ramp test equipment (e.g. Aeroflex IFR6000) to verify proper system configuration and compliance with section 91.227 equipment performance requirements.
Operational Flight Evaluation: See next FAQ titled: What does the Operational Flight Evaluation Consist Of?
The ADS-B OUT alteration must be documented in the aircraft maintenance record per section 43.9(a) and include the statement, ·’The installed ADS-B OUT system was shown to meet the equipment performance requirements of 14 CFR section 91.227.”
Yes, the position lights need to remain switched on during all operations. Removing power to the position lights also removes power from skyBeacon and/or tailBeacon. According to 91.225(f) “Each person operating an aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out must operate this equipment in the transmit mode at all times.”
Yes, skyBeacon will meet the 2020 ADS-B requirements when paired with an operational Mode C or Mode S transponder. skyBeacon meets or exceeds all required performance and environmental standards for use in the national airspace. The certified skyBeacon will ship with 5 separate TSO certifications.
UAT Transmitter: TSO-C154c Class B1S
WAAS GPS: TSO-C145d Class Beta I
Altitude Encoder: TSO C88b
Position Light: TSO-C30
No, skyBeacon transmits on UAT (978MHz). The UAT (978MHz) frequency is only approved for use in the United States below FL180 (18,000′). For international travel or flight above FL180, a 1090ES transponder is required.
All skyBeacon products now ship with an LED strobe. Note: Early experimental versions of skyBeacon did not have the strobe installed.
A matching starboard LED light assembly will be available as an option. The starboard assembly is under development and is expected to launch in 2018.
At this time there is not a wingtip mounted version with integrated rear position lights in development.
There is a replacement rear position light without strobe in development under the working name tailBeacon.