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
- Turn off the power to the Beacon
- Close ALL apps on your device (On Apple devices that involves swiping the app away and Androids require a Force close)
- Turn on Airplane mode (This will turn off Wifi on most devices so you will need to turn it back on. The main reason for doing this is to stop cellular data from being transmitted and interfering with the lower power Wifi signal. If you have a newer Samsung phone, we have seen instances where the Bluetooth also needs to be turned off. )
- Power on the Beacon product (You now have 5 minutes to connect to the Beacon before the wifi shuts off. Once connected it will stay active until you get airborne)
- Open the wifi page of the smart device (Located under Settings for Apple devices and Connections for Android users)
- When you see the Beacon-XXXX wifi SSID pop up, tap it and enter the passphrase EXACTLY as printed on the supplied card or sticker.
- Wait until it shows connected (You will get a note about No internet connection. This is normal)
- Now open the skyBeacon app, it will open to the Monitor page. Enter your aircraft information
- If this is still not working, you may need to have the aircraft outside
Installing the skyBeacon on an aircraft not listed on the AML is approved by the FAA. A field approval is not required. Under the FAA Memo titled “Installation Approval for ADS-B OUT Systems,” the FAA explains that after an STC is achieved for ADS-B OUT equipment, additional installations can be accomplished on aircraft not listed under the AML STC by an A&P with Inspection Authorization (IA) so long as the installation does not require airframe modification.
In some cases with certain devices, the mobile data feature must be disabled to configure the skyBeacon. Some devices like the Motorola Moto lineup frequently display this behavior. We are tracking this issue and working on a resolution. To option to disable Mobile Data is found under Setting on most devices. Refer to your mobile device documentation for more information.
No, you do not need the internet or an internet connection while configuring the skyBeacon. The “Wi-Fi” connection is simply a radio signal that connects the skyBeacon application on your mobile device to the skyBeacon. You will see a warning of “no internet connection,” but that doesn’t matter because you are not trying to connect to the internet; you are using the Wi-Fi radio signal as a connection for the mobile app to communicate with the skyBeacon.
The certified skyBeacon is eligible for the FAA rebate. In order to select the skyBeacon you’ll need to set the data link option on the rebate form to UAT, and choose uAvionix skyBeacon TSO as the ADS-B transmitter. An example of the rebate form is shown below.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 here:
The installation mounting template is available here:
skyBeacon is eligible for installation on any certified aircraft (part 23), that operates below FL180 (18,000’).
STC Information as well as the Approved Model List (AML) for skyBeacon is located here. It is important to note under FAA policy the skyBeacon can be approved on any almost any airplane regardless of whether or not it is listed on the Approved Model List.
In addition to certified aircraft, skyBeacon is eligible for installation on experimental and light sport aircraft (LSA).
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.
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 email@example.com.
What do you mean by tip tank?
There has been some interpretation on forums of what we mean by tip tanks. The image below is the type of obstruction we are referring to:
What about integral tanks in the wingtip?
Wingtips with normal profiles are fine for skyBeacon. The integral tanks on most Piper aircraft are not a concern and should be compatible with skyBeacon.
If your wingtips or lighting configuration are not supported by the skyBeacon you have a few options…
The port (left) 301 fairing is now available. Please note the following list assumes the factory wingtip configuration.
This adapter left-hand (port) (UAV-1002301-001) allows installation of the skyBeacon TSO on the following Cessna aircraft:
|182F, 182G, 182H, 182J, 182K, 182L, 182M, 182N|
|185, 185A, 185B, 185C, 185D, 185E, A185F|
The port (left) 302 fairing will begin shipping early 2019.
This adapter (UAV-1002302-001) allows installation of the skyBeacon TSO on the following Cessna aircraft:
|172L, 172M, 172N, 172P, 172Q, 172R, 172S|
|182P, 182Q, 182R, 182S, 182T, R182, T182, TR182|
|185, 185A, 185B, 185C, 185D, 185E, A185F|
The tailBeacon ADS-B out solution is now available for Experimental aircraft. A TSO version is also planned for release. The tailBeacon is a direct replacement for the common rear position light.
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.
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 and tailBeacon TSO units 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.
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?
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
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 from 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.”
The certified skyBeacon and tailBeacon feature a unique password secured configuration interface via Wi-Fi. A user must enter the password to change the device configuration including the aircraft ICAO and callsign. The password is unique to the device, and once configured, cannot be reconfigured for another aircraft without that password. The password is essentially an anti-theft key, and should be kept secure with aircraft record. There are no external markings or indications on the skyBeacon or tailBeacon to indicate the password.
uAvionix will be able to provide the password if lost provided proof of purchase can be validated.
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
A skyBeacon/tailBeacon can legally be used to enter and exit United States airspace. Pilots must also be familiar with and comply with the destination country’s ADS-B rules if applicable. At this time Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas do not have any ADS-B requirements for light aircraft.
All skyBeacon products now ship with an LED strobe. Note: Early experimental versions of skyBeacon did not have the strobe installed.
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.