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Flypad panel mount in a certified airplane

Would it be legal to install a “flypad” iPad panel mount https://www.flypadmount.com in a certified ELA1 aircraft in EASA land (German register) ?

It probably depends what you would want to use it for / what you would want to replace it with. If you can claim to use it only “to enhance situational awareness” then perhaps it could be done based on CS-STAN CS-SC052a. @Jesse and others will know better.

tmo
EPKP - Kraków, Poland

Thanks! The flypad would not replace any instrument, just fill in some empty space in my panel. The “enhance situational awareness” use case would probably be a good one since the flypad would would give me a convenient access to skydemon on my iPad

Someone here in avionics should know about the EASA position on handheld mounts which are wired into the aircraft.

On an N-reg, this is generally not allowed although there are documented cases where an FSDO inspector signed off a Field Approval for some Garmin handheld to be thus mounted. The general view of various observers is that he made a mistake (a rare mistake in the applicant’s favour ). I think the “illegality” is centred on neither the GPS nor – more importantly – the permanently mounted receptacle for it being TSOd or approved in any other way.

If you could get a TSOd mount then it should be easier; the GPS itself is removable. I see no reason why a mount alone could not be certified, although it would obviously be a p1sstake of the certification regs because everybody knows what will be stuck into it

One previous thread is here

I have never heard of any enforcement so really the risk is in two areas

  • the aircraft will be declared as unairworthy post-crash, i.e. no insurance payout (a very theoretical chance)
  • an anally retarded maintenance company could refuse to issue an Annual, or even refuse to work on the plane at all (plenty of cases of this, some known to me personally, and the owner is usually over a barrel because it doesn’t come to light until his Annual has expired!)
Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

If you can claim to use it only “to enhance situational awareness” then perhaps it could be done based on CS-STAN CS-SC052a.

It is in interesting topic. I would say it can be done, though with some limations and possible additional testing.
First of all, when you would use it as a moving map system you are limited to VFR day. e.g. you are not allowed to use it under IFR or night flights. Else you might need to require another approval.

Another issue which is often overlooked by some installers and customers is that a design still should be made. You should be able to prove that the installation is done in accordance with AC43-13 for example. The design should also have pilot instructions, and also look into safety. For example crash safety and fire safety. Does it meet the requirements of this. I can not find any refference on this on the manufacture website. So additional testing might be needed even before you can install it IAW CS-STAN.

Peter wrote:

On an N-reg, this is generally not allowed although there are documented cases where an FSDO inspector signed off a Field Approval for some Garmin handheld to be thus mounted.

Not sure on that, I would say their are many Air Gizmo docks in use under FAA also in certified aircraft? In the past I have applied for several approvals for panel mounts under EASA and Dutch national regulations and always got these approved. In some case we had to provide some additional testing (wasting a unit) to prove the unit is safe, as the manufacturer didn’t always do that.
If your FAA statement is correct this is again a point where EASA is more liberal then FAA.

JP-Avionics
EHMZ

On the aircraft spruce site, in Q&A section of the air gizmos iPad mini mount I found such a statement:
Can the Air Gizmos iPad Mini Panel Dock be installed in type certified aircraft for non-IFR operations?
Yes. The Airgizmos panel dock can be installed in certified aircraft. Hardwire connections are not approved, only the cigarette adapter can be used for charging
Unfortunately air gizmos do not have a panel mount for a normal iPad and on the other hand I don’t know if the above mentioned statement by the aircraft spruce would be of any value when dealing with EASA

The statement “The Airgizmos panel dock can be installed in certified aircraft. Hardwire connections are not approved, only the cigarette adapter can be used for charging” is an empty one really – a bit like saying “this 100% organic shampoo doesn’t contain any arsenic” when actually no shampoo contains arsenic anyway

You can fix anything in a plane if it is temporary and plugged into the cigar lighter. The problem with that is that the result is usually a mess.

Jesse’s post is interesting. Clearly there are ways to do this correctly.

Regarding my FAA related statement, I think what you (Jesse) are doing is the same thing as the corresponding process under the FAA system which is to show that the proposed installation will work and not affect the aircraft negatively.

However the only route I know of in the FAA system would be to generate a DER 8110 package for the mount and possibly for the GPS too. The former would be easy – maybe as you say you destroy one unit – but the latter would be much more work.

And DERs are expensive. I have never used one myself but have heard of figures ranging from $300 per signed page (everything having been prepared by the avionics shop) to $10k I was quoted for drawing up some wiring diagrams for a Sandel EHSI. Here in the UK a typical DER 8110 is charged to the client at £2k although the avionics shop does the design work.

One can understand why people do these mounts themselves…

However I would not use a cigar lighter connector. They are of rubbish quality and the connection is unreliable. I would get a good quality connector installed (via a CB as usual). I like the circular milspec ones (Amphenol etc).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

when actually no shampoo contains arsenic anyway

I wouldn’t be so sure

LSZK, Switzerland

Robin_253 wrote:

Can the Air Gizmos iPad Mini Panel Dock be installed in type certified aircraft for non-IFR operations?
Yes. The Airgizmos panel dock can be installed in certified aircraft. Hardwire connections are not approved, only the cigarette adapter can be used for charging

It is a strange assumption. You can get al lot of things certified. We have done a lot for special / specific operations. It is not as simple as drawing a sketch or write installed in accordance with CS-STAN.

You must have a design, which can meet the certification specifications for the particulair aircraft. Even if you don’t use a DOA or minor change, just use the CS-STAN route for those specific listed items, you should have a design, showing compliance with the certification specifications. You can not install a GPS and just write, installed GPS in accordance with CS-STAN.

The Airgizmo dock approvals I have done are including wiring and the design was acceptable to EASA.

Peter wrote:

However the only route I know of in the FAA system would be to generate a DER 8110 package for the mount and possibly for the GPS too. The former would be easy – maybe as you say you destroy one unit – but the latter would be much more work.

Destroying a unit can be quite a lot more work, and more expensive. Typically you don’t want to install any equipment which has been used to compliance testing. These units are sometimes driven into limits, and the product may (or may not) age due to this. Clearly you’r not installing a burned mounting. Similair is true for units that have be climate tested, have had vibration testing, or have had electrical tested. Especially ESD testing can be harsh.

The first interesting point would be has this manufacturer tested anything? (specifically vibration and shock testing would be interesting, e.g. does it hold the poduct), how does the product behave in fire) for example.

JP-Avionics
EHMZ

I contacted the aircraft spruce customer service and asked what are the bases of their claim that the air gizmos iPad mini panel can be installed in a certified airplane. Here is the answer:

Because the mount is constructed of soley plastic there is no need for TSO approval. We have had customers install these mounts in certified aircraft with no problems. Again it is for portable use only so no hardwire connections will be approved.

It seems to me, that the logic behind their reasoning is the following: if you do something illegal a hundred times then it becomes a common practice. But unfortunately it doesn’t become legal.

Peter wrote:

You can fix anything in a plane if it is temporary and plugged into the cigar lighter. The problem with that is that the result is usually a mess.

That’s exactly what I want to avoid. But taking into account the circumstances it’s difficult to find a cost effective and elegant solution. Maybe a 3M adhesive?

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