BAM BLOG

FANS Aviation Navigation: What to Know About Data Comm Systems with FANS 1/A+

Data Comm is a highly complex system development that international and domestic Air Traffic Control organizations and the associated regulatory agencies have undertaken till date. Originally established as a feature for cost-savings, the Data Comm technology has been used in North Atlantic for more than three decades. Canadian and US authorities have established FANS 1/A+ requirement in some North Atlantic airspaces and ATN B1 (Aeronautical Telecommunications Network Baseline) ability in European airspace. In the US, the FAA is employing FANS aviation system Domestic functions by the implementation of CPDLC DCL (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications Departure Clearance) capability to manage airspace, improve safety, and address congestion of communication frequency more effectively.  

Components of Data Comm 

The term Data Comm applies to an expanding set of data communication systems and elements that may be integrated neatly into a single system for transparency of flight crew. In such a case, there may be several CPDLC type systems having remarkably differing ground infrastructure which will largely operate and look the same on flight deck. Some Data Comm elements are almost entirely transparent to flight crew.  

The chief components of Data Comm include: 

  • Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications or CPDLC 
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract or ADS-C (needed for FANS aviation system Oceanic)
  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Out or ADS-B Out (for ATN B1/FANS operations) 
  • VDL Mode 2 data link radio and/or an appropriate SATCOM 

Development of FANS 1/A+ and Data Comm 

For aircraft to operate in remote/oceanic regions of airspace, it was essential to establish a method of surveillance and communication for managing aircraft that are out of range of conventional ground-based radar and VHF radio systems for prolonged periods. 

For long years, HF (HIGH Frequency) radio system had been the sole means of communication in oceanic/remote airspace. An HF radio system uses the atmosphere or line of sight for bouncing the transmissions to recipients. There are some problems associated with HF Radio because of noisy transmissions arising from language barriers and atmospheric conditions.  

FANS aviation system led to an improvement in HF radio communication by employing data link communication via satellite communications. The satellite-based existing ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) was utilized when Data Comm Fans systems were implemented for the first time.  

In 1983, the industry officials were concerned about the increasing air traffic, and tried addressing an ageing infrastructure, not capable of effectively handling increasing congestion. In response to the issue, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) set up the Special Committee for Data Comm FANS. The Special Committee was assigned the task of finding new technologies for development of surveillance and communication in the future which would help manage air traffic under Data Comm FANS infrastructure.  

In 1988, the initial FANS aviation system report was published that laid the foundation for the future strategy of the industry for CNS/ATM concept. Then, work began to develop the technical standards necessary for realizing Data Comm FANS concept.  

The Boeing Company declared the first implementation of FANS aviation system in early 1990s, called FANS-1. The aim of FANS-1 deployment was improving choice of route for operators, and thus, cut down fuel burn.  

A similar technology was later built by Airbus, called ‘FANS A’. The two technologies are today collectively called ‘FANS 1/A’. Minor enhancements have been added to it and is now referred to as FANS 1/A+. Today, Data Comm FANS uses CPDLC and automatic position reporting to communicate with ATC directly over VHF making use of SATCOM or VDL Mode 2 in place of ACARS, so as to facilitate more efficient communication between ATC and aircraft.  

Benefits of Data Comm FANS 1/A+ 

Decreased Separation Between Aircraft 

CDPLC communication between ATC and flight crew reduces communication error possibility drastically and allows diminished separation between aircraft in airspace. Heightened airspace capacity makes more desired routes available for aircraft flying in that airspace. 

Data Link Communication 

The VDL Mode 2 network is a high-capacity and high-speed digital communication network, providing around 20 times the message capacity compared to the commonly used ACARS. Using VDL Mode 2 is also more cost effective compared to traditional VHF.  

Data Comm FANS 1/A+ has a few more benefits other than these. 

FANS Aviation Technology (FANS 1/A+) – A Must-Have for Aircraft 

The future air navigation system (FANS 1/A+) is a highly helpful aircraft navigation system that can help ATCs and pilots identify the most economical and safest flight paths leveraging advanced satellite technology.  ATN B1 update – the latest FANS version – will be a mandate by February, 2020 over European airspace. If you are an aircraft owner, consider getting this latest version of FANS installed in your flying machine promptly.  

4 FAQs Answered About ADS-B Tracking System in Aviation

As something crucial to know for aircraft owners, it has been mandated by the FAA that airplanes flying in airspaces that require a Mode C transponder now must have ADS-B Out installed by January 1, 2020. The ADS-B tracking system is an integral element of NextGen modernization of air traffic.  

The ADS-B Out flight technology transmits information about location, airspeed, and altitude derived via GPS from an equipped airplane to the ground stations as well as to other equipped airplanes in the vicinity. Using this information, air traffic controllers “see” participating airplanes in real time aiming to improve traffic management.  

ADS-B In, although not included in the mandate and needs additional equipment, lets participating airplanes to receive weather and traffic information from the ADS-B ground stations as well as nearby airplanes that broadcast their positions via ADS-B Out. Situational awareness can be improved by displaying this information in the cockpit.  

The ADS-B 2020 mandate has no influence on current transponder requirements, which means airplanes must continue carrying transponders even after getting equipped with ADS-B Out 

Unlike most safety-based rulemaking activities, the ADS-B Out mandate is based on the need to support Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) by the FAA. According to the FAA, the ADS-B Out mandate will not decrease or increase safety significantly but is essential to proceed with NextGen.  

Answers to Some FAQs About ADS-B Tracking System in Aviation 

1. Why is FAA shifting to ADS-B System, moving away from radar? 

ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) is an innovative technology improving efficiency and safety, and benefiting the airlines, airports, controllers, pilots, and the public directly. It is the base for NextGen by shifting from navigational aids and ground radar to precise tracking through satellite signals. 

  • ADS-B flight tracker system allows pilots to see, for the first time, what controllers can see – displays featuring other airplanes in the sky. With cockpit displays, pilots can also get informed about hazardous terrain and weather and receive important flight information like temporary flight restrictions.  
  • With controller and cockpit displays available with ADS-B aviation technology, runway incursion risk is reduced. The controller and cockpit displays provide the location of airplanes as well as equipped ground vehicles at airport surfaces, even during heavy rainfall and nighttime. The newly developed ADS-B applications will help pilots get alerts or indications of potential collisions.  
  • Greater coverage can also be obtained with ADS-B tracking system as it’s far easier to place ground stations than radar. Remote regions that do not have radar coverage, such as parts of Alaska and Gulf of Mexico, have surveillance now with ADS-B.    
  • The use of satellites rather than ground navigational aids lets airplanes fly more directly from one point to another, with reduction in emissions and fuel burn, and savings on money and time.  
  • Satellite signals offer increased reliability, accuracy, and integrity than radar. This would eventually allow controllers to decrease the minimum separation distance safely between airplanes and improve capacity in the skies.  

 2. What are the rules of ADS-B? 

In May 2010, the FAA published the Federal Regulation 14 CFR § 91.227 and 14 CFR § 91.225. According to the final rule, aircraft flying in airspace that’s defined in 91.225 should be equipped with an ADS-B system which consists of a certified position source with the ability to fulfill requirements defined in 91.227.  

 3. ADS-B offers vertical air speed, aircraft number, and altitude. Will it provide horizontal air speed also? 

ADS-B tracking system reports two types of altitudes – geometric and barometric. Geometric altitude is determined by Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) as the aircraft’s height above earth ellipsoid. Pressure or barometric altitude is known best by pilots – it’s the altitude shown on the aircraft’s altimeter. Both the altitudes are different; having both facilitates applications requiring either of them as a source of altitude. 

ADS-B system does not report horizontal or vertical airspeed. Rather, the system reports vertical and horizontal velocity relative to Earth. This velocity helps in air traffic control functions as well as assists ADS-B technology applications.  

 4. When should I equip? 

The mandate requires ADS-B Out installation by January 1, 2020. This ADS-B compliance is required to continue flying in designated airspace. In case you do not need to fly in ADS-B-designated airspaces, then you do not need to equip your aircraft with ADS-B Out 

 

This information may help you get answers to some of your questions about ADS-B tracking system for aircraft. Following the ADS-B 2020 mandate, get your aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out promptly, as without the system installed, you will not be able to fly in US airspace after January 1, 2020.  

6 Types of Finishing Materials Used for Aircraft Painting and Finishing

The purpose of aircraft painting and finishing is not just enhancing the aesthetics of an airplane. Aerospace paint protects an aircraft frame’s integrity and influences an airplane’s weight. Finishing is applied for safeguarding the exposed surfaces of an aircraft from deterioration and corrosion. There is a broad range of finishes and materials available that are employed to protect the outer surface of the aircraft and offer the desired look to the plane.  

Decorative finishing of airplanes includes application of letters, identification numbers, decals, addition of emblems and company logos, and trim striping.  

Finishing Materials Used for Aircraft Painting and Finishing 

Among the broad range of materials used in airplane finishing, some of the common materials are discussed as follows: 

1. Acetone 

A fast-evaporating solvent with no color, acetone is an ingredient in varnish, nail polish, and nail removers. For most plastics, acetone is a strong solvent and is effective for thinning adhesives, vinyl, polyester resins, and fiberglass resin. It serves as superglue remover too. This solvent is a heavy-duty degreaser that’s fit for metal preparation as well as grease removal from fabric covering before doping. Its use as thinner in dope should be avoided due to its fast evaporation that causes the doped region to cool and gather moisture. The absorbed moisture hinders uniform drying and leads to the dope’s blushing and a no-gloss, flat finish. 

2. Alcohol 

Butyl alcohol or butanol is a solvent that dries slowly and can be combined with aircraft dope for retarding the dope film’s drying on humid days, thereby preventing blushing. A dope solvent mixture having 5-10% butanol usually serves this purpose well. Ethanol alcohol and butanol are mixed in ratios that range from 1:1 to 1:3 for diluting wash coat primer in spray applications since butanol retards the rate of evaporation.  

Denatured alcohol or ethanol is employed as a component of varnish and paint remover. Ethanol also serves as a degreaser and cleaner prior to painting.  

3. Methylene Chloride 

A volatile, colorless liquid, methylene chloride is completely miscible with various other solvents. Methylene chloride has wide application in paint strippers, and it’s also used as a degreaser/cleaning agent for metal parts. Under normal conditions, it doesn’t have a flash point and can be employed for reducing other substances’ flammability.  

4. Turpentine 

The wood of certain pine trees is distilled to obtain turpentine. A water-insoluble and flammable liquid solvent, turpentine acts as a thinner as well as a quick-drier for enamels, varnishes, and other types of oil-based paints. It’s also used for cleaning paint brushes and paint equipment used with any oil-based paint.  

5. Mineral Spirits

Also known as petroleum spirits, Stoddard solvent, or white spirit, mineral spirits is petroleum distillate employed as a mild solvent and paint thinner. This is the most broadly employed solvent in paint industry, utilized in varnishes, lacquers, wood preservatives, paints, and aerosols. Mineral spirits are also used commonly for cleaning paint equipment and paint brushes. It finds use in degreasing and cleaning machine parts and tools due to its effectiveness in removing greases and oils from metal. Mineral spirits are less toxic, less flammable, and has low odor than turpentine.  

6. Varnish

A protective, transparent finish, varnish is used primarily for finishing wood. Varnish comes in exterior and interior grades. Compared to the interior grade varnish, the exterior grade varnish dries less hard, and contracts and expands with variations in temperature of the material that needs to be finished.  

Traditionally, varnish is a mixture of a solvent or thinner, a resin, and drying oil. It has no added pigment, is transparent, and has little to no color. The drying of varnish is slower than most of the other finishes.  

 

Every aircraft finishing material comes with its own characteristics. When choosing a finishing material to be used in aircraft exterior painting, determine your needs first and choose accordingly. If you are looking for quality aircraft painting services or weatherproof aircraft painting in Florida, Boca Aircraft Maintenance can provide you the finest quality aircraft painting and finishing services.  

5 Must-Know Aircraft Maintenance Tips

Whether you are an individual or a company owning a private airplane, you need to ensure regular aircraft maintenance as well as inspections so that your airplane stays in a sound condition and delivers optimum performance while flying. An airplane is a complicated machine and needs to be serviced in several ways to ensure that every component of the aircraft is functioning properly.  

Both new and experienced aircraft pilots and mechanics need to realize the significance of properly carried out aircraft maintenance and repair. Tune-ups at regular intervals keep your flying machine free from any potentially life-threatening issues as well as fully operational. Following are some useful tips for proper aircraft maintenance, remembering which would help you keep your airplane at its peak safety status and operation. 

Tips for Aircraft Maintenance

1. Keep a Schedule for Regular Inspection 

According to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules, all airplanes must undergo one inspection at the least each year. In case the aircraft carries people apart from the crew, additional inspections would be required by it, after every 100 hours of flight. Such inspections ensure the aircraft’s safety and airworthiness.  

For airplanes with heavy use, progressive inspections and checks are an option. They shorten the time between the regular inspections, however, the number of checks in the entire year are more. For example, a corporate airplane may undergo inspections and checks after every 25 hours of flight. A special approval is required for this schedule which cannot be transferred.  

Additionally, different inspection schedules may be required for individual components. For example, altimeters and transponders must be examined every 24 months. For emergency locator transmitters, the checking needs to be performed every 12 months, although they may not be inspected at the time of the required annual inspection. Inspections of all types should be considered while scheduling airline maintenance 

2. Determine Aircraft Maintenance Goals 

Aviation maintenance jobs include looking after the aircraft’s components and structure. The goal is balancing the cost of maintenance and inspections with optimizing the safety of the aircraft. Maintenance offers the opportunity to repair or replace worn-out components and parts of an aircraft before they fail. Aviation maintenance also offers chances to improve the aircraft’s design through modifications. 

While performing maintenance jobs, technicians should make sure to stay safe. They should employ a work platform which can help them work efficiently and minimize any risk of falls at the same time. Aircraft maintenance and repair should be a completely safe and secure process for technicians.  

3. Perform Component Maintenance 

Components need maintenance and checking on a regular basis through inspections for preventing failure. The most common reason behind failure of components is not simply age-related wear. It is, around 90% of generic components and parts failing by chance or slowly over time. To ensure the components have the maximum longevity, choose one of the three preventive maintenance methods. 

Hard time maintenance method is the least economical. This method involves replacing a component after it has reached the factory-determined lifespan. Functional inspections examine a certain operation of an aircraft part for verifying that they remain operational prior to replacing them. The most thorough method is functional verification. It examines a component’s all functions, especially the ones that may not be seen by the crew during a flight.  

Several steps must be followed for component maintenance. The primary step is regular repair and lubrication of worn-out parts. Operational or visual inspections can show whether any failure has occurred or not. Functional inspections help find indications of impending failure. The rate of failure should be predictable at this step. If not predictable, the component requires to be replaced or restored.   

4. Perform Structural Maintenance 

An aircraft’s structure is susceptible to damage through standard use and age. As a matter of fact, around 40% of an aircraft’s structural damage occurs because of “friendly foreign object damage” that is caused by ramps or maintenance. Checking for such damage and fixing it, alongside the damage resulting from fatigue and age, is included in structural maintenance program.  

5. Perform Regular Maintenance Checks 

For commercial airplanes, a set of maintenance checks are required by the FAA that include A, B, C, D, overnight, and preflight checks. The preflight check involves a walk around an airplane before each flight. The preflight check is aimed at looking for visual indications of wear and damage, especially to tires, brakes, and engines.  

Between the 100-hour flight inspections, airplanes must be provided with overnight maintenance. The check involved in overnight maintenance is far more thorough that includes checking the fluid levels – including hydraulics and oil – and other types of aircraft-specific maintenance jobs. The A check, conducted every 200 flight hours, needs another period of overnight maintenance. The check is focused on the aircraft’s interior. It ensures correct operation of hydraulics and air conditioning and proper lubrication of every system.  

The B check makes the final overnight aircraft check that involves torque tests and flight control tests. This check occurs every 400 hours. In C checks, the aircraft is taken out of commission for about 5 days. This check occurs after every 13-15 months. The C check includes a thorough evaluation of all flight systems and the engines.  

If more extensive aircraft repair is needed, or there’s a need to carry out the most thorough examination – the D check – the aircraft would be pulled from making any flights for around 30 days. The D check is conducted after every 2-5 years. It includes checking for and fixing any corrosion issues. In extreme cases, an aircraft may be required to be dismantled and rebuilt because of structural problems. If this occurs, the aircraft also needs to be painted again.  

Wrap Up 

Proper aircraft maintenance services, repairs, inspections, and routine checks are crucial for the safety of an aircraft and the people in it. They facilitate safe flying of an aircraft that improves the bottom line of an operator while providing protection and peace of mind to people. Additionally, aircraft owners should ensure that they conduct the mandatory aircraft upgrade like installing ADS-B (OUT) and FANS-1/A+ in their airplanes so that their planes comply with FAA regulations and deliver optimum performance. 

4 Key Operator Benefits offered by FANS (Future Air Navigation System)

As air traffic continues to increase around the globe, the air traffic management system being used currently is experiencing increasing difficulty. As per predictions, air traffic is likely to increase annually at a rate of 5%. In such a scenario, we need a new system for air traffic management that has greater capacity. One viable solution is FANS (Future Air Navigation System). FANS provides an innovative space-based method to handle increased air traffic, which lets operators obtain maximum revenue out of their operations and ensure safe conditions for passengers.  

The FANS system has become an attractive option to cope with current levels of traffic more efficiently and with the heightened levels of traffic anticipated in the future.  

The current system of air traffic management is based on voice communications, radar, and navigational aids, and eventually will be unable to handle the estimated air traffic growth. To address the challenge, Boeing had been trying to create FANS since 1983. This innovative flight navigation system works based on space-based communication and navigation.  

What Benefits do Operators get with FANS (Future Air Navigation System)? 

The benefits obtained by operators with FANS include increased payload capacity for takeoff-weight-limited flights and reduced flight time and fuel burn through direct routing. FANS implementation would let operators take advantage of various necessary improvements, which are as follows: 

1.Decreased Separation between Airplanes 

In cases where FANS flight navigation equipment is not implemented, navigation errors and potential errors in the voice communication between air traffic controller and flight crew are considered when the required airspace separation is determined between airplanes. Due to the uncertainties associated with conventional voice position reporting as well as the delay involved in high-frequency relayed voice communication (20-45 minutes for making high-frequency voice position report), the air traffic controller is required to allow a huge airspace amount between airplanes, which is typically 120 nmi longitudinally and 100 nmi laterally. This results in an airspace of 48,000 mi2 for protecting one airplane and implies that airplanes operate often at less-than-optimal speeds and altitudes.  

However, through satellite data link, FANS equipped airplanes are capable of transmitting automatic dependent surveillance reports at least in every 5 minutes with actual intent and position information. The position information is based on highly accurate GPS (Global Positioning System). Digital data communication between air traffic controller and flight crew reduces the error possibility substantially and allows significantly reduced airplane separations. All the improvements in surveillance, navigation, and communication lets authorities decrease the necessary separation distances within airplanes. This, in turn, facilitates the flying of airplanes at the optimum altitude as well as burn less fuel.   

2.Satellite Communication 

With satellite communication, the response time can be reduced to a few minutes for an aircraft that requests to climb up to reach a new, optimum altitude for reducing fuel burn. Currently, the response time is 20-60 minutes.  

3.More Efficient Changes of Route 

Currently, oceanic operations are based upon weather data which are about 12-18 hours old. However, by utilizing the satellite data link which is a part of FANS (Future Air Navigation System), an airplane can be provided with latest weather data while it’s en route. These data can then be used by flight crews to create optimized flight plans. Alternatively, these plans can be developed on the ground and then transmitted to an airplane. Such a dynamic re-routing might enable airlines to consider lowering discretionary fuel that further lowers fuel burn or leads to an increase in the payload.  

4.No Altitude Loss While Crossing Tracks 

To prevent potential conflict, an aircraft approaching crossing tracks needs to be separated from traffic on any other track by altitude. Consequently, one of the airplanes can be compelled to operate about 4,000 ft below the optimum altitude.  

However, if timely surveillance data is received by air traffic controller, including the projected intent, and an aircraft can control its speed to reach the crossing point at a certain time, the requirement for altitude separation will be less frequent.  

FANS 1/A/+: The Latest in Flight Navigation Technology  

FANS 1/A/+ is an innovative system and the latest in-flight management technology. The FANS 1/A mandate requires all business aircraft to be installed with FANS 1/A/+ system before January 1, 2020. The installation of FANS 1/A/+ can allow your airplane to efficiently and safely navigate airspaces that are highly congested.  

The chief advantages offered by this flight navigation system are: 

  • Continuous updates in real-time on ATC instructions and weather conditions 
  • Globally accepted standard for digital flight navigation system 
  • Allows identification of most efficient flight routes and save substantially on fuel costs 

Wrap Up 

Considering all the incredible benefits offered by FANS (Future Air Navigation System) and the mandate for FANS 1/A implementation before January 1, 2020, it’s smart to get your aircraft installed promptly with FANS aviation upgrade. Boca Aircraft Maintenance, one of the best airplane maintenance companies in Florida, has expert avionics technicians and engineers to install, examine, or update FANS 1/A/+ system.  

An Insight into ADS-B Flight Tracker System in Aviation

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has made it mandatory for any kind of US aircraft to get the ADS-B Out upgrade. By January 1, 2020, all airplanes flying in the US airspace need to have active system of ADS-B Out installed. ADS-B flight tracker – an innovative flight navigation system – communicates automatically with ATC ground installations and satellites during flight. It will relay pre-set data continuously to the ATC responsible, regarding its environmental situation, flight metrics, and position. This new age avionics system does not call for the pilot’s active participation, but still facilitates data collection and vital communication.

ADS-B stands for “Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast”. 

  • Automatic, because the system transmits information periodically with no operator or pilot involvement necessary 
  • Dependent, as the velocity and position vectors are derived from GPS (Global Positioning System) or any other navigation systems (i.e., Flight Management System) 
  • Surveillance, as the system offers a method to determine the identification and 3-dimensional position of vehicles, airplanes, or other assets 
  • Broadcast, because the system transmits the available information to anyone with proper receiving equipment 

With Automatic Dependent Surveillance  Broadcast, radar technology is replaced with satellites, leading to remarkable advantages. Radar depends on antennas and radio signals for determining the location of an aircraft. ADS-B flight tracker, contrastingly, uses satellite signals for tracking airplane movements. 

Overview of ADS-B Out and In Systems  

ADS-B Out 

The ADS-B Out system broadcasts information about the ground speed, altitude, GPS location, and other information to other aircraft and ground stations, once per second. Airplanes with ADS-B In and air traffic controllers can receive this information immediately. This allows aircraft tracking more precisely than with radar technology that sweeps every 5 – 12 seconds for position information.  

Radio waves are restricted to the line of site, which means radar signals are unable to penetrate mountains or other solid objects, or travel long distances. With ADS-B, the ground stations are not only smaller but also more adaptable compared to radar towers. They can be placed at sites not possible in case of radar. The ground stations of this latest avionics system are placed throughout the country, including difficult to reach regions. With ADS-B, better visibility can be attained irrespective of the type of terrain or other hindrances.  

ADS-B In 

ADS-B In aviation system provides traffic and weather information to operators of aircraft equipped properly. Aircraft equipped with ADS-B In can access graphical weather displays in cockpit and text-based advisories, which include valuable weather activity and Notices to Airmen.  

Advantages of Installing both ADS-B In and Out 

While the ADS-B Out aircraft upgrade is mandatory for every US aircraft, a broader range of additional services is provided by ADS-B In. These services include receiving TIS-B and FIS-B data, and direct links with airplanes that are nearby, equipped with active In functions. Moreover, the equipment of ADS-B In comprise all mandatory features of ADS-B Out. Installing a combined unit of ADS-B In/Out provides a highly convenient interface for flight management. 

What happens if an aircraft is equipped with ADS-B In only and not ADS-B Out? 

If an aircraft has ADS-B In only, the traffic information it receives is limited. Although an equipment with great capabilities, ADS-B In flight tracker has certain limitations that pilots need to be aware of. An aircraft can realize all the abilities of ADS-B In only when it is equipped with the ADS-B Out transmitting system on one of the two frequencies that are approved – 978Mhz or 1090Mhz.  

ADS-B In displays targets from three distinct sources – transponder-only aircraft through TIS-B (Traffic Information System – Broadcast), same frequency ADS-B (referred to as link), and different link ADS-B via ADS-R (ADS-B Re-broadcast). To provide your aircraft having ADS-B In with information on the nearby traffic through TIS-B or ADS-R, the FAA ground system needs to have knowledge about your airplane and the airplanes around you. Your airplane needs to have a well-functioning ADS-B Out equipment. For TIS-B, an airplane must be within the airspace in which surveillance radar operates and detects transponder-only aircraft.  

Following is the impact on various configurations: 

ADS-B In Only Dual or Single Link 

If your aircraft has ADS-B In only and no ADS-B Out, and receives on a single link (for example, 978Mhz), you can see only the traffic near your aircraft broadcasting ADS-B Out at 978Mhz. In case your aircraft has only ADS-B In system receiving both the links (dual link), you can see ADS-B Out airplanes on any link directly. Nevertheless, unless your aircraft is near a properly configured aircraft with ADS-B Out, your plane will not receive TIS-B or ADS-R targets.  

ADS-B In Single Link & ADS-B Out 

If your airplane has ADS-B Out (either link) and receives ADS-B In on a single link, traffic will be received on the receiving link from the aircraft directly. When you are visible to FAA ground system, you would receive information on traffic on the other link also via ADS-R as well as nearby transponder-only aircraft through TIS-B.  

ADS-B In Dual Link & ADS-B Out 

If your airplane has ADS-B Out (either link) as well as receives ADS-B In on both links, ADS-B Out traffic would be received by you directly on both links. When you are visible to FAA ground system, traffic information would also be received via nearby transponder-only aircraft through TIS-B.  

Airplanes without ADS-B Out cannot benefit fully from the features provided by ADS-B system. 

Summing Up 

ADS-B Out aviation equipment enhances safety for all aircraft. With this intelligent technology, a standard would also be established for flight navigation equipment, which all US aircraft must use in the FAA airspace. Alongside, the technology would improve protocols of Pilot to ATC communication during international flights. If you are an aircraft owner in the US, get the ADS-B Out equipment installed in your airplane at the earliest, following the ADS-B 2020 mandate for all US aircraft. 

Types of Aerospace Paint for Aircraft Painting and Finishing

Aircraft painting extends beyond aesthetics; paint protects the airframe’s integrity and affects the aircraft’s weight. The topcoat finish protects the aircraft’s exposed surfaces from deterioration and corrosion. Additionally, an aircraft that’s properly painted is easier to maintain and clean as the exposed surfaces have higher resistance to dirt and corrosion, and oil doesn’t stick to the surface as readily. 

A broad range of materials is used for aircraft painting and finishing that provide the airplane with the desired appearance and protect its exterior. The term “paint”, used in general sense, includes lacquers, enamels, primers, and different multipart finishing formulas. There are three components in paint – resin as the coating material, solvents for reducing the mix to reach a workable viscosity, and pigment for color.  

Unexposed components and internal structure of an airplane are finished to safeguard them from deterioration and corrosion. All exposed components and surfaces are finished for an aesthetic appearance and protection.  

Classification of Aircraft Paints 

This post is focused on the classification of aircraft paints. Following are the chief types of paints used for aircraft painting: 

1. Dope 

When fabric-covered airplanes were predominant, the standard finish used for protecting and coloring the fabric was dope. Dope provided several qualities to fabric covers, such as increased tautness, UV protection, weather-proofing, airtightness, and tensile strength. Essentially, aircraft dope is a colloidal solution consisting of cellulose nitrate or acetate mixed with plasticizers to form a homogenous, flexible, and smooth film.  

Dope is still employed on fabric-covered airplanes as part of the covering process. Nevertheless, the fabric type being used for covering the airplanes has changed. Linen or grade A cotton was used for years as the standard covering. It may be used still if it fulfills the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and TSO (Technical Standard Order) C-15d/AMS 3806c requirements. The aviation industry is now dominated by polyester fabric coverings. Especially developed for aircraft, these new fabrics are far better than linen and cotton.  

2. Synthetic Enamel 

Synthetic enamel – a single-stage, oil-based paint for aircraft exterior painting – offers protection and durability. The shine and durability can be increased by mixing it with a hardener while lowering the drying time. Synthetic enamel is an economical type of aircraft finish.  

3. Lacquers 

Lacquer’s origin dates back to hundreds of years. Lacquer originated from a resin which is obtained from certain trees that are indigenous to China. Nitrocellulose lacquer was made in early 1920s through a process using wood pulp and cotton.  

Nitrocellulose lacquers result in a semi-flexible, hard finish which can be polished for obtaining a high sheen. With aging, the clear variety may yellow, and it can also shrink over time leading to surface crazing. In the automotive industry, lacquer was the first type of coating used in mass production, since it diminished the finishing times to two days from about two weeks.  

To resolve the yellowing problems, acrylic lacquers were made. The working properties of acrylics are almost the same, but on drying, the film is more flexible and less brittle than in case of nitrocellulose lacquer.  

Lacquer is an easy paint to spray as it’s quick to dry and its application can be performed in thin coats. Lacquer, however, is not a highly durable paint for airplane painting. Gasoline spills, acid rain, and bird droppings can eat down into it.  

Lacquer’s current use for aircraft exterior coating is almost nonexistent due to environmental and durability concerns. About 85 percent or more of the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in spray gun are released to the atmosphere when lacquer is used, and its use has been banned by some states.  

Some lacquers have been developed recently that employ a catalyst, but these lacquers are mostly used in the furniture and woodworking industry. These are nitrocellulose lacquers with ease of application due to much better abrasion, chemical, and water resistance. Moreover, lacquers with catalyst cure chemically, not through evaporation of solvents only. So, the VOCs emitted into the atmosphere are reduced.

4. Polyurethane 

Polyurethane is the best option when compared to aerospace paint of other types, for its properties of chemical, stain, and abrasion resistance. The wet look was introduced by polyurethane. It exhibits a high natural resistance to UV rays’ damaging effects. Usually, polyurethane is the preferred option for corporate aircraft painting and finishing in the aviation environment of today.  

 5. Urethane Coating 

The term urethane refers to certain binder types used for clear coatings and paints. Urethane is typically a coating in two parts consisting of a catalyst and base, which when mixed, generate a high-gloss, durable finish with chemical and abrasion resistance.  

 6. Acrylic Urethanes 

Acrylic means plastic. It provides a harder surface on drying but its resistance to harsh chemicals is less than that of polyurethane. Most of the acrylic urethanes require the addition of extra UV inhibitors when subjected to the sun’s UV rays.  

These are the key types of aircraft paints. If you need your airplane painted, consider choosing one of the most reliable aircraft paint shops so that your airplane gets the finest quality painting.  

What are the Necessary Inspections for Aircraft Maintenance?

Aircraft inspections are a crucial element of aircraft maintenance to ensure that an aircraft is airworthy, efficient, and safe. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) also requires airplanes to get routinely inspected for them to be qualified to fly. A well-maintained plane delivers peak performance and suffers fewer breakdowns. Postponing or neglecting plane inspections can pose a risk to passengers. Moreover, a malfunction may lead to serious damage to an aircraft. Inspections help in discovering damaged components and worn parts before an issue arises.

Two chief types of aviation maintenance inspections are required for a Part 91 aircraft – the 100-hour inspections and the annual inspection. You are required to do only one inspection or both is determined by whether your aircraft carries passengers for hire.

Both the inspections include the same elements. The difference lies in who is authorized to carry them out and the inspection frequency.

Additionally, various equipment inspections are required besides the 100-hour and annual inspections.

Let’s have a look at the different inspections required for aircraft maintenance.

Annual Inspection

Most of the general aviation aircraft need an annual inspection. However, some airplanes are excluded that:

Possess a provisional certificate of airworthiness

Possess a current experimental certificate

Possess special flight permit; or

Use an approved plan for progressive inspection

The annual inspection must be completed as well as endorsed properly within the preceding 12 calendar months by a mechanic carrying an inspection authorization (IA). If the annual of an aircraft is endorsed on March 15, 2012, for example, the next annual for the aircraft is due prior to April 1, 2013. The aircraft, otherwise, shall require an authorization (like a ferry permit) for flying.

Ferry permit is needed for flying an aircraft that is out of annual, like when an aircraft flies to another airport to get inspected.

100-Hour Inspection

100-hour inspection is necessary for airplanes that:

Carry any person (apart from crew members) for hire; or

Are provided by an individual offering flight instruction for hire

This rule is applicable only to the individual providing the airplane, not the airplane. Hence, if the airplane is provided by a flight instructor for teaching the student, the 100-hour inspection is required. However, in case the airplane is owned by the student and the flight instructor is hired by the student to only fly with them, it’s not necessary to perform the 100-hour inspection.

The 100-hour limit can be exceeded by 10 hours, only in case the additional time is spent for flying the airplane to the site where a mechanic shall work on it. However, for example, you cannot fly for an additional 8 hours and spend the last 2 hours then for flying to the maintenance base. Moreover, you lose the extra time spent in flying to the next 100-hour inspection. Therefore, if an hour was spent in flying to the maintenance base, 99 hours remain until your next inspection.

Additional Inspections

The additional inspections required for efficient airline maintenance are as follows:

Altimeter

The static system of the aircraft, the automatic altitude-reporting (Mode C) system and the altimeter must have been tested and inspected in preceding 24 calendar months prior to flying IFR within controlled airspace.

Transponders

The inspection of the transponder must be performed every 24 calendar months. For a transponder to be qualified for being used, its inspection must be carried out every 24 calendar months. Moreover, any modification to the transponder or the installation of one must be inspected and checked for any data errors.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)

Inspection of the installed ELT’s must be carried out within 12 calendar months following their last inspection for sufficient signal strength, operation of the crash sensor/controls, battery corrosion, and proper installation. While the ELT check is not strictly required to be completed at the time of annual inspection, it’s a convenient time for performing this inspection.

Summing Up

These are the key aircraft inspections necessary for proper aircraft maintenance. If you own an airplane, ensure that all these inspections are performed on time so that your airplane works efficiently and glitch-free.

The Good and Bad of Refurbished Parts and Avionics

No matter the plane, maintaining a well-used aircraft can be a challenge on your budget. Replacing parts, or even making regular repairs can add the costs up quickly. You might start looking to bring the price down by looking for refurbished avionics. These used parts are only a fraction of the price, but you might want to be a little warry of what you might actually be getting from these dealers. The main problem with purchasing these parts is the condition you may find them in. It’s possible you will end up with a part that is in worse shape than the one you currently want to replace. Sometimes when it comes to keeping your plane in top condition, cutting costs isn’t the way to go. Here are things to watch out for when looking for refurbished parts.

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Why Your Aircraft Needs a New Coat of Paint and Regular Aviation Bodywork

Your aircraft is a precision machine. It is much more complicated than an automobile, boat, or a locomotive. Airplanes also face a lot more weather damage than most other types of vehicles. Hence, regular aviation bodywork and aircraft paint jobs are extremely important. However, an end-to-end airplane evaluation should also be a part of the agenda.

Without a reliable aviation company for annual body check-up and repairs, your machine will start developing faults. These may be minor faults to begin with, but they soon pile up. Eventually, your airplane will start showing major issues. The best aircraft maintenance companies like BAM suggest that your aircraft should get at least two check-ups a year.

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