The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Six Continents, 13 Countries & 21 Stops: Duncan Aviation Helps Phenom 100 Get Home

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 @ 01:00 PM


In September 2014, Mr. Vincent Xavier, COO of ZEST Aviation in Ahmedabad (India) took possession of a brand new Phenom 100 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Xavier, accompanied by Airframe Tech Rep Tim Garity, then flew to Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Several days later, it left Lincoln and flew to its home-base in India. All told, the aircraft touched six continents and 13 countries during its 21 stops.  

“At the outset, ZEST Aviation would like to compliment each and everybody who directly or indirectly participated in the project, ‘Ferry Phenom 100 to India.’ It was an adventurous journey, learning more of the aircraft’s capabilities, which included the endurance of the aircraft, too. We experienced extreme conditions—21 stops and four overnight stops. We sincerely thank all of you for your valuable contribution to this project, and we look forward to seeing and meeting you again with some new project,” says Mr. Xavier.

Duncan Aviation completed the Standard Airworthiness Certificate and the Export Certificate to India. The aircraft was schedule to be here for four days, and during that time numerous Duncan Aviation team members met with Mr. Xavier and completed not only the quoted work but also some additional requests.

Regional Manager for India Andy Fernandes and Project Manager Matt Lentell would also like to offer their sincere thanks to the many Duncan Aviation team members whose hard work and professionalism tremendously impressed Mr. Xavier on his first-ever visit to Duncan Aviation.

Andy says, “Mr. Xavier was very pleased with every aspect of his experience with Duncan Aviation. He was also very impressed with our new hangers (G & H) and our facilities on the east and west side of the airport, and he was struck by the can-do attitudes and friendliness of everyone he encountered during his few days in Lincoln.”

Crossing Borders: Importing And Exporting Aircraft

Aircraft buyers, sellers and service facilities are increasingly involved in cross-border transactions, which can go more smoothly with expertise and vital relationships. Read more about it in the Dunan Debrief. Download your copy now

Fall 2013 Duncan Debrief

Tags: International Considerations

Meet A Duncan Aviation Regional Manager

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 @ 04:58 PM


“Every day, I get to do what I enjoy; I work with customers, and do my best to keep the business going.”

Allan Orsi, Regional Manager, South America

How does Duncan Aviation meet the needs of its South American customers, from the northernmost Punta Gallinas, Colombia to the southernmost Cape Horn and everywhere in between?

Meet Allan Orsi.

Recruited in 2008 by a family friend, Allan worked as an agent for Duncan Aviation throughout South America. After four years of hard work and a whole lot of travel, Allan became a Regional Manager in August 2012.

“There are many things I appreciate about working for Duncan Aviation. Ever

y day, I get to do what I enjoy; I work with customers, and do my best to keep the business going.

And Duncan Aviation is honest. Everyone has the same moral and ethical values that I have, and that environment makes for pleasant work conditions.”

Working for a company located in North America and living in Brazil with the entire South American continent as his territory requires quite a bit of travel. In addition to calling on customers, Allan visits the Duncan Aviation facilities in the United States roughly eight times each year.

One way from Sao Paulo to Lincoln takes 13 hours, unless the United States is off daylight saving time—then it takes 15 hours. From early March until November, Campinas and Lincoln, Nebraska, have a two-hour time difference; from November to March, it’s four hours, and the time difference complicates travel and phone meetings and requires careful planning.

Duncan Aviation Regional Managers

Duncan Aviation has 13 regional managers stratigically placed across the world in an effort to better support
our customers. Download the Duncan Aviation Regional Manager map and contact the one in your area. 

Download Duncan Aviation  Regional Managers Map

Tags: International Considerations, Customer Service

Worldwide Business Aircraft Operators Tell It Like It Is

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 12:59 PM

We have customers who fly from Europe to have maintenance completed at one of Duncan Aviation's United States locations. The fact that they're willing to make that trip tells us we're doing something right; their words tell us exactly what we're doing that makes the flight worth it.


Nataly and Ernst Langer, Owners / Pilots of Bombardier Global 5000

Nataly and Ernst Langer are owners and pilots of a large, long-range business jet. Watch and listen all about their incredible paint scheme application.

Air Alsie, Denmark

Klaus Rasmussen

- Klaus Rasmussen, Technical Manager

"Cost control is made easy by the use of Duncan Aviation’s web-based approval system, Milestones can be followed, even if an operator is not on-site. I haven’t seen any other MRO with such a system.

"Duncan Aviation’s state of the art facilities and dedicated experts offer unique service. We receive very good support from Arjen Groeneveld, Duncan Aviation representative in Europe and we appreciate having a dedicated Project Manager with each event.

"At Duncan Aviation, final invoices are complete upon departure and our recent C-checks completed with them have not exceeded original budgets. This is much appreciated by our owners.”

Aircraft Serviced:

  • 2 Falcon 2000EX EASy’s for C-checks, winglets and paint

  • Falcon 2000 for 2C and paint

Sporavia, Spain

Eduardo Jimenez Martin-Ventas

- Eduardo Jiménez Martín-Ventas, Maintenance Manager

"Working with Duncan Aviation is a real pleasure. At Sporavia we feel that it is important to give operators consistent quality, no matter where they are flying or where they are going to maintain their airplanes. Duncan Aviation holds those same values and so we look forward to working closely with them in the future.

"Duncan Aviation’s AOG support is quick and successful. Their European representative, Arjen Groeneveld, is always available to help operators get the services they need. In addition to AOG support, I have great respect for Duncan Aviation’s modifications and technical support.”

Beechcraft Berlin Aviation GmbH, Germany

Edgar Boehlke

– Edgar Boehlke, Managing Director

"We enjoy working with Duncan Aviation because their team is well educated and we always receive professional and competent support. We look forward to working with Duncan Aviation on more projects in the future.

"The friendly and competent sales and support teams at Duncan Aviation are appreciated by our logistics department. Duncan Aviation’s availability of spare aircraft parts and knowledge in international shipments provides us excellent support.

"Extensive projects involving engineering support from Duncan Aviation are handled professionally and there is always a solution oriented team from Duncan Aviation available for answering our questions."

Global Aviation and Piper Parts, Germany and United Kingdom

Dieter Griesel

– Dieter Griesel, Board of Directors Member

"Duncan Aviation’s customer base extends far beyond what I can reach in Germany. They have the opportunity and ability to sell parts that we cannot.

Through Duncan Aviation’s consignment program, operators have a chance to profit from items that they would otherwise consider scrap. I could not have generated this money in sales in Europe. After many years, I find Duncan Aviation to be an excellent partner, serious and fair with everything. Take your surplus inventory, put it in a box and send it to Duncan Aviation today!"

Regional Managers

Duncan Aviation’s Regional Managers are strategically located across the world to better support our customers. 

Each travel throughout their region, meeting with aircraft operators, management organizations and other service providers with the goal of maintaining and building lasting relationships, providing customer service, educating operators and learning more about the region’s regulatory issues and processes while engaging in industry forums.

Get to know the Regional Manager for your region now.

Download Duncan Aviation  Regional Managers Map


Tags: Customer Testimony, International Considerations, Conventions & Exhibitions, Customer Service

Duncan Aviation Updates its Popular “Straight Talk About FANS” Ebook

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 @ 10:43 AM

Straight Talk About FANS

Duncan Aviation recently released an update to its “Straight Talk About FANS” ebook, which gives operators a closer look at the Future Air Navigation Systems involved with the FAA’s NextGen initiative.

Duncan Aviation’s team of experts compiled information to explain FANS 1/A, including what equipment is needed and how it functions, the benefits of the enhanced communications systems and the applicable regulations and certification in an easy-to-read ebook.

Justin Vena, Duncan Aviation Avionics Installations Sales Rep in Battle Creek and others at Duncan Aviation know there are many operators wondering what each of the FAA’s NextGen systems are and how they are used, the costs of implementation and whether there is a datalink system for their aircraft.

“Although there are no easy answers in the retrofit market, our Straight Talk About FANS is meant to help clarify the FANS protocol and how the mandates affect communication systems in various aircraft,” Vena says.

Vena explains that there is no one datalink system that will fit every aircraft, and often it takes a variety of avionics equipment to comply with the new guidelines and mandates. “Our, avionics experts have done the research and can assist customers with any questions regarding FANS,” he says.

To download a copy of Straight Talk About FANS, visit

In addition to this publication about FANS 1/A, Duncan Aviation avionics experts have developed Straight Talk booklets for NextGen and other systems including Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B).

For more information, stop by booth #604 this week at the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) 57th Annual International Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tags: International Considerations, Avionics Installation, ADS-B, FANS

Navigating A Business Aircraft Import While Overseas

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 @ 10:43 AM

Dan Moody

No two business aircraft import and exports are exactly alike. That's when decades of experience come in handy while navigating the process. That’s where Dan Moody steps in.

Dan Moody, MRA project coordinator, spent four extra days overseas working diligently to complete the U.S. import and inspection of a Swiss aircraft as well as issue a Standard Airworthiness Certificate. 

Because the aircraft was registered in Switzerland and was required to be de-registered there, Dan had to inspect the Falcon 7X in country, so he flew overseas to Geneva to serve as the customer’s consultant.

After the aircraft was de-registered and placed on U.S. Registry, Dan needed to obtain a special flight authorization to get the aircraft within the United States to complete the import process.

“I contacted the nearest FAA office in Frankfurt, hoping to simply send the necessary paperwork their way, and they informed me I needed to hire a Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) to come inspect the Falcon and approve the authorization,” says Dan.

Facing an unknown delay based on the DAR’s availability, Dan approached the customer with two options: wait for the DAR to arrive and hopefully approve the flight authorization or Dan could stay a few extra days and complete the entire import process, negating the need for the authorization.

“Experience is the only thing that can prepare you for something like this,” says Dan.

Dan was able to complete the import on foreign soil and issue the Standard Airworthiness Certificate during the extra days he was in Switzerland.

“The customer was overjoyed. In fact, He asked Duncan Aviation to paint the aircraft at its Battle Creek, Michigan, location,” says Dan.

Crossing Borders: Importing and Exporting Aircraft

During the last several years, the business aircraft industry has seen increased numbers of new and preowned business aircraft being sold overseas. As a result, aircraft buyers, sellers and service facilities are increasingly involved in cross-border transactions. Read more about how Duncan Aviation navigates this complicated process in the 2013 Fall Issue of the Duncan Debrief.

Tags: Regulations, International Considerations, Aircraft Sales

Falcon 900B: On a Clear Path to Meet Upcoming Mandates

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Submitted by Gary Harpster, senior avionics installation sales rep

Right now there are approximately 20 to 25 Falcon 900Bs on the market available for sale. In talking with these owners, I’ve learned the majority of these aircraft were placed up for sale over the concern there was no upgrade path to meet the upcoming mandates and essentially rendering the aircraft as domestic use only.

I totally get it. Who wants an aircraft capable of Mach .84 - .87 that can travel 4,600 miles and only be able to fly it in the 48 contiguous states? 

Universal EFI-890

On the Falcon 900B, the engines, airframe and accessories are still highly supported. Therefore, the weak link in this analysis becomes the avionics. However I am hear to tell you, when it comes to meeting the needs of the mandates for both the U.S and abroad, there is a clear path.

With the installation of the Universal EFI-890 solution, a Falcon 900B gains many of the same capabilities of new production aircraft and in some cases, even more. Charts, weather, synthetic vision, electronic engine gauges, camera input, new LED displays, WAAS FMS with LPV and the necessary accuracy to fly in Minimum Navigation Performance Specifications (MNPS) airspace.

Want to fly to Europe and fly in the most favorable tracks doing so? This is the solution.

Want to jump up into the airspace over Europe on the bosses schedule and not when air traffic allows you to depart? This is your solution.

Add winglets, new custom interior and paint, a state of the art entertainment system and you have yourself one heck of an aircraft that will meet the needs of the future for the next 10 years.

Or as an option you could buy a used aircraft with these capabilities for more than seven and a half times what this upgrade would cost you.  Keeping in mind that if you wanted the custom paint, interior and entertainment – that would all be additional.

On Display at NBAA

Falcon 900B with the first EFI-890R cockpit retrofit upgrade.On display at NBAA 2013, Falcon 900B with the first EFI-890R cockpit retrofit upgrade, newly designed interior and new CMS. Click to enlarge. 

Why just read about it when you can come see it. During NBAA at static display #140 on the Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas, I personally invite you to walk through and see a Falcon 900B with the first EFI-890R cockpit retrofit upgrade. I will be on-hand to answer any of your questions, as well as representatives from Universal Avionics.

Also featured on this aircraft is a newly designed interior, new paint and new cabin/management/entertainment system; all completed by Duncan Aviation. 

How weak is that link now? 

Gary Harpster is a member of Duncan Aviation’s Avionics Installations Sales team and is the current Chair on the AEA Board of Directors. He is an industry expert on the subject of Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), co-authoring  the Straight Talk About WAAS booklet and Upgrading to WAAS guide, as well as hosting a WAAS video series. His aviation career began in 1997.

Tags: International Considerations, Avionics Installation, Conventions & Exhibitions, Falcon

Duncan Aviation adds International Certifications to LNK/PVU

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 08:37 AM

Duncan Aviation

Two of Duncan Aviation locations, Lincoln, Nebr., and Provo Utah, have added to their long list of foreign return-to-service authorizations from countries around the world.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority has approved Duncan Aviation’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) location in Lincoln, Neb., as an approved aircraft maintenance organization. While Duncan Aviation’s Provo, Utah, location, has been officially named a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part-145 Approved Maintenance Organization.

In all, Duncan Aviation’s locations in Lincoln, Battle Creek, Mich., and Provo, Utah, hold certificates for 10 different civil aviation authorities around the world. The company continues to work closely with several global aviation agencies to secure more certifications and will be announcing more certificates later this year. To see the latest certifications by facility, click here.

“It’s important to be able to provide service to all of our customers, regardless of location, which is why we’re constantly working to secure new certifications,” says Chris VanderWeide, Chief Inspector of International Airworthiness.

As business aviation continues to grow internationally, we will be looking to add more international authorizations.

Tags: Regulations, International Considerations, Duncan Aviation-Provo, Announcements

Duncan Aviation’s Worldwide Regional Management Team Evolves

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Apr 17, 2013 @ 10:06 AM

Duncan Aviation recently welcomed four additional Regional Managers to support operators worldwide. Richard Gardner, Allan Orsi, Andy (Anand) Fernandes and Rodolfo Rodriguez join Arjen Groeneveld, Regional Manager in Europe, in an effort to better support customers throughout the world. Each Regional Manager travels their region, meeting with aircraft operators, management organizations and other service providers with the goal of maintaining and building relationships, providing customer service, listening to operators and learning more about each region’s regulatory issues and processes while engaging in industry forums.

Rodolfo Rodriguez


Allan Orsi is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has prior work experience with Honeywell do Brasil, Embraer, Bosch and Aerostation. Allan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and an International Trade Technical degree. Contact Allan Orsi.

Arjen Groeneveld


In 2011, Arjen Groeneveld became Duncan Aviation’s first International Regional Manager. Arjen, who lives in The Netherlands, provides support to operators throughout Europe. He has more than 22 years of experience derived from positions in aerospace research, commercial airline and the aircraft leasing industries. During 2013 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland, May 21-23, stop by Duncan Aviation’s Stand #327 to visit with Arjen and other Duncan Aviation EBACE Representatives. Contact Arjen Groeneveld.

Andy Fernandes


Andy Fernandes supports India. He has been with Duncan Aviation since 1999 and will continue his current responsibilities as an Avionics Installations Sales Rep, serving a dual role as he supports operators in India, traveling to India several times a year. Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Maintenance and a master’s degree in Aviation Safety. He has worked for Swiss Air and as a mechanic and project manager for Duncan Aviation in Lincoln. Contact Andy Fernandes.

Rodolfo Rodriguez


Rodolfo Rodriguez supports Mexico. Prior to joining Duncan Aviation, he was a Naval Officer for the Mexican Navy, retiring after 21 years of service. Rodolfo has a Naval Sciences degree in Engineering and is authorized for internal combustion engines and gas turbine engines. Make it a point to attend the Aero Expo April 18-20 in Toluca, Mexico, and stop by Duncan Aviation’s booth #21 to visit with Rodolfo and other Duncan Aviation representatives. Contact Rodolfo Rodriguez.

Richard Gardner

New Zealand

Richard Gardner supports the regions of Australia and New Zealand. His experience includes employment with Air New Zealand and Pacific Turbine and owner of SinglePoint Assist, an international AOG support network. He holds many licenses including an Airframe & Powerplant from the Federal Aviation Administration, Civil Aviation Authority Airframe and Engine license and licenses in New Zealand, Latvia, Trinidad and Tobago. Contact Richard Gardner.

 “With these Regional Managers now located in key areas around the world, Duncan Aviation can continue to provide support to operators and maintenance organizations while learning the industry nuances present in each region,” says John Slieter, Vice President of Sales for Duncan Aviation. “They are a group of enthusiastic aviation professionals. Each one has a strong desire to assist operators in safe and efficient flying.”

Experience. Unlike Any Other.

Duncan Aviation is the largest, family-owned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the world providing complete acquisition sales and support services for business aircraft. We provide premier aircraft services–delivered on time–for a wide variety of business aircraft at our facilities across the United States.

Tags: International Considerations, Announcements, Careers & Recruiting

Customer Letters: International Pre-Purchase Evaluation Done Right!

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 @ 07:42 AM

International Pre-Purchase Evaluation

When purchasing a business aircraft with a foreign registration, select a pre-purchase facility that knows what they are doing.

Our customers have come to expect a higher standard of service from us when it comes to the maintenance and care of their business aircraft. And although we can say that we do it better than any other major repair and overhaul service (MRO) provider in business aviation, our customers say it best. Below is a customer letter written and sent to Monte Reeves, Duncan Aviation’s Manager of Customer Service located in Lincoln, Nebraska, explaining his recent international pre-purchase experience with Duncan Aviation. All customer information has been removed at their request.


I wanted to write you to express my thanks, as well as appreciation, for the recent work Duncan Aviation and your team provided on the pre-purchase and paint of our Falcon 2000 EASy. In order to give you the proper perspective of our experience, here is a little background.

Previous Pre-Purchase Experience

Sixteen months ago, we purchased a German-based Citation Sovereign. Although we have purchased a number of business aircraft over the past 20 years, this was our first experience acquiring one registered in a foreign country. The experience was difficult, tedious and took much longer than we had expected. The process of de-registration and re-registration was cumbersome, as was the pre-purchase inspection that was accomplished in Germany, at the seller’s insistence.

Shortly after taking ownership, we made the decision to have extensive airframe and paint work accomplished and took the Sovereign to one of your competitors where we were told the paint work would take five to six weeks and in actuality took over seven. In the end, the quality of the work and new paint were fine, but the experience was much longer (over six months) and more difficult than we anticipated.

Our Duncan Aviation Experience

When we began the process of acquiring a Falcon 2000, we were very leery about purchasing another foreign-registered aircraft, due to the previous bad experience. However, we found the right aircraft for us based in Belgium and decided to proceed with the purchase. Our only stipulation was to accomplish the pre-purchase inspection in the United States. The seller agreed.

After consulting with several people in the industry, we contacted Duncan Aviation and brought the aircraft to Lincoln, NE. Even though we have been in the aviation business for some time, this would be our first experience with Duncan.

We, like every other operator purchasing a new aircraft, wanted to get it in right away. Our Director of Maintenance talked with Tim Klenke, Falcon Airframe Service Sales Rep, and explained our needs, including bringing the aircraft into the country under foreign registration, performing the pre-purchase inspection, de-registering, re-registering, etc. With this instruction, Tim coordinated everything with your production teams and Duncan Aviation was able to accommodate our tight schedule. I was able to talk with Dan Moody, MRA Project Coordinator, personally and got a good comfort level of how the registration process would happen.

When we arrived, we were met and greeted at our aircraft by our Project Manager Steve Ballard. The next morning we had a briefing with a representative from every department that would be involved in our project. I was impressed that there was not only airframe and engine representatives present, but also interior, documentation and engineering. We were able to review each of the items on the pre-purchase, as well as extra items that we wanted done at our request outside the scope of the pre -purchase. Each one in that meeting was not only knowledgeable, but professional and friendly.

As we took a tour of Duncan’s Lincoln facility, the first thing that surprised me was how busy everyone was. Over the next several weeks, we not only saw a great work ethic, but your people were genuinely friendly and extremely knowledgeable. If we had questions or concerns about the project or our aircraft, they responded quickly and followed up when necessary.

Half-way through the pre-purchase, we decided to add a new paint job to the workscope. Due to scheduling constraints of your very busy paint shop and registration issues, there was some doubt that our request could be accommodated. However, Steve, together with many production people, came together and worked out a plan that included a new paint and kept the project very close to the original schedule.

Exceeding Expectations

The paint process was split into two phases. Dan Moody assured me the new plan would have no impact on his process and the interior shop assured us they could get their work done around the schedule changes. At this point, I should also mention when I first talked to the people in Duncan's paint and design department, I was told the aircraft paint project would be completed in three weeks. Now if I hadn’t already known of Duncan Aviation's reputation for quality aircraft paint work, I would have been very suspicious since we just watched our Sovereign take seven weeks somewhere else.  

The end of the story is that our Falcon 2000 was delivered four days ahead of schedule. The work quality was excellent, including the paint and interior work. And the registration process was so smooth, it was almost a non-issue. All of the Duncan Aviation people on our project worked hard, but not at the expense of the customer relationship. We were always treated with respect and felt they understood how important our aircraft was to us, even though they must deal with the same relationship with every customer. They really did want to get it right.

As our Project Manager, Steve was on top of everything all the way. He and some of the department leaders handled a few difficult situations that arose early on in the project between the seller and buyer with courtesy, professionalism and knowledge; defusing some potentially rough spots in the process. On the occasions when we weren’t on-site at Duncan Aviation, kept us connected and made things understandable and easy.

Whatever You are Doing, Keep Doing It

I could try and list as many people by name as I could to say Thank You, but I know I would be leaving too many out. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Please make sure that everyone from Line Service to the Front Desk; Paint and Design  to Engineering, including Interior, Airframe, Engine, Detailing and any other department that touched our aircraft while at Duncan Aviation, knows what a great job they did and what an excellent experience we had.

You Get What You Pay For

Initially, I was concerned that your labor rate was high. However, it soon became obvious that for every hour of labor I bought, I actually got an hours worth of labor. The end cost was less than when you pay a lower hourly rate and only get part of an hour's work. Imagine that!

Pre-Purchase Services For Buyers & Sellers

Duncan Aviation's only focus during a pre-buy evaluation is to provide the most accurate assessment on the condition of an aircraft to the buyer and seller. Our comprehensive services allow us to correct most discrepancy repairs in-house.

New avionics systems, interiors and industry-leading paint can be updated during the process, providing buyers with a high-quality product with as little downtime as possible.

Business Aircraft Acquisition Services

Locating and purchasing a pre-owned business aircraft is incredibly complex and risky. The stakes are huge. A small oversight can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But a little insight can gain an equally large advantage. Talk to an experienced business aircraft acquisitions expert, to located the business aircraft that matches your needs. Duncan Aviation is the largest, family-owned maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in the world providing complete acquisition sales and support services for business aircraft.

Tags: International Considerations, Aircraft Sales, Customer Service, Pre-Purchase Inspection

Mandate Speculations Surround TCAS 7.1 Upgrade

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 @ 01:38 PM

Contributed by Matt Nelson, Duncan Avionics Satellite Operations Manager


TCAS indicator when aircraft pass dangerously close to each other. Source: Honeywell CAS 67A Pilot's Guide

The recent Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) 7.1 upgrade offers two major safety enhancements, which are significant enough to warrant mandates by more than one international organization. Additionally, an FAA statement has stirred speculation for the possibility of a future U.S. mandate.

As most of you surely know, TCAS involves communication between all aircraft equipped with an appropriate transponder. Each TCAS-equipped aircraft interrogates all other aircraft in a determined range about their position (via the 1030 MHz radio frequency), and all other aircraft reply to those interrogations (via 1090 MHz).

What you may not know is how the TCAS 7.1 upgrade affects aural warnings and TCAS reversals, and other minor enhancements that have caught the attention of international regulatory agencies.

Safety Enhancements

TCAS 7.1 is being offered as an upgrade by all of the major TCAS manufacturers and makes two important safety enhancements.

  1. Aural Warning Change – The current TCAS II aural warning will be changed from “Adjust Vertical Speed, Adjust” to “Level Off, Level Off”.
  2. TCAS Reversals – TCAS 7.1 corrects missed and late TCAS reversals. TCAS reversals were introduced in TCAS 7.0 to adapt to changing situations where the original sense had clearly become the wrong thing to do, in particular when a pilot decides not to follow the Resolution Advisory (RA), or is instructed by Air Traffic Control (ATC) to perform a particular maneuver. The solution in Change 7.1 introduces improvements to the current reversal logic that addresses the late issuance of reversal RAs and potential failures to initiate reversal RAs.

Other Minor Enhancements

  1. Corrects issue when descending through 1000 ft. AGL.
  2. Modifies the “Datalink Capability Report” (Status report sent by the TCAS processor to the Mode S transponder) to tell the systems that the TCAS processor is hybrid-surveillance-capable.
  3. Allows for the transmission of the TCAS processor part number and software level.
  4. Corrects TCAS multi-aircraft logic issues, which reduces the risk of “close-encounters” of multiple aircraft in RVSM airspace.

International Mandates

These enhancements are significant enough to warrant mandates by both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). ICAO has mandated TCAS 7.1 by January 1, 2014 for forward fit aircraft and January 1, 2017 for retrofit aircraft. By comparison, EASA required all forward fit aircraft to be mandated by March 1, 2012, with retrofit aircraft to follow by December 1, 2015.

The U.S. FAA is reportedly a “strong supporter” of TCAS 7.1 and has issued the following statement:

“The latest version of software for TCAS II is version 7.1. To ensure compatibility with international standards, the FAA encourages the installation of this software as soon as practical.”

This statement has stirred thoughts among the avionics manufacturing community that TCAS 7.1 may be mandated in the US.

The certification path for TCAS 7.1-modified units will be accomplished through a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), Type Certificate (TC) or in some cases a Major Repair Alteration (MRA) project with a re-write of the Airplane Flight Manual Supplement (AFMS). To determine the certification path for your aircraft, please have a copy of your AFMS handy and call an avionics professional within the Duncan Avionics satellite network.

Straight Talk About ADS-B also includes a section on TCAS II Version 7.1, with discussion on how the two systems are linked.

Matt Nelson serves as the Duncan Avionics Satellite Operations Manager at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Neb. full-service facility. His aviation career began in 1987.

Tags: International Considerations, Avionics Installation


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