Just come across Bendix King's Products page
They are listing the KX155 (not even the 155A) as a current product!
KAP140 - 1996
KCS305 - a relabelled KCS55 - c. 1978
KI825 - c. 1998
KVG350 - c. 1995
KFC225 - 1998 (smoking servos never fixed despite a decade of failures close to 100% of installed systems)
KI229 - c. 1980
Very obviously the new boss (Gould) went around the place, trawled through the piles of 1980s/1990s junk, and called a meeting to ask which bits of it they can sell. A bit like you might go through the box of old 1 megapixel cameras and see what you can stick on Ebay.
The sales of KI825s and KVG350s are going to be zero.
They even list the EFIS-40 as a current product. I know of TBM700 owners who got totally shafted when King dropped that range. Fortunately people like South East Aero can still flog you an overhauled part, for loads of $$$...
Reading their 1970s and 1980s maintenance manuals shows a lot of electronics expertise, but it is "old expertise"; the sort you would expect from really good design engineers who cut their teeth on Apollo, etc. They could also write... I used to build pirate radio transmitters in late 1960s (we powered them from 700V DC train rails, among other sources) so I am old enough to relate to this, but obviously all those people are long retired now.
Reading the smoking servos page... What is the point of all these regulations and certifications if that type of mindboggling crap just sails on through and can be sold supposedly as fit for purpose year after year? The £35 servos on my RC helicopter are more reliable!
...but it is "old expertise"...
Because the new expertise ran away in 1989 and founded Garmin. I think it would be a problem for every company if their best people not only left but started a competing business.
Provided the price of entry into this industry would be lower = no stupid certification demands, the market with those things would be open to serious competition and we would have several companies with much more advanced products. Not to speak about reasonable prices.
What is the point of all these regulations and certifications
Yes, I often wondered that, too. Or is it that the certificating authorities lack the will/requirement/budget to hire competent people? Small surprise I fly a "permit" plane, or kind of. AND took a very solid training on maintenance and repair of the same.
More generally: more stupid the regulations become, more people will be tempted to operate outside. Who is clamouring for that to happen? Not the proper correct aviators, I am sure.
Yes, I often wondered that, too...
There are some useful ones (regulations that is). Everything that transmits must do so in a very precise and monitored manner. A malfunctioning transponder can block a whole ATC sector and an imprecise radio transmitter can block several radio frequencies at once. These things must be built to strictly controlled standards, which can never be cheap. Then there are very useful regulations regarding flammability and toxicity. It's a stupid way to die from inhaling toxic fumes of a smoldering piece of avionics or cabling. There are useful regulations regarding the demonstrated and continuously monitored precision of navigation equipment and database integrity. When I fly in IMC down to heights that are lower than the trees around our house, I really appreciate these "stupid regulations". Safety is never cheap.
There have been (and there will be) quite a few manufacturers of "cheap" avionics on the market (I only mention one of them: Narco - I can safely mention this name on a public forum becuase they won't sue...). Few of them survived. And they were not killed by regulations and certifications, but becuase pilots/passengers/people in general hate it when they together with their aircraft are frequently grounded by cheap crappy pieces of electronic junk!
I always thought that certification and to a certain extend regulation aren't so much about making sure things work properly, but rather to cover one's ass when they don't.
Might be a very jaded view of the world, though...
Absolutely agree - should have made myself more clear - avionics, and more especially those that transmit in one way or another - should be rigidly monitored and verified periodically. That is an easy process, the criteria straightforward, the cost controllable.
It seems probable, at least, that the frustration at the root of this thread originates in a maximum of certification attention at these - arguably primary - criteria, whilst very much neglecting all other areas of importance. Such as autopilot servo's power draw getting out of bounds - in my eyes a much more immediate source of potential disaster.
"Everything that transmits must do so in a very precise and monitored manner."
This is something a designer is responsible for. Some government employee is not needed to assure the proper function of a radio. Neither he (nor his stamp on a piece of paper) will prevent a radio from malfunctioning. Technical problems are statistically unavoidable and some sort of "certification" won't eliminate them.
"regulations regarding flammability and toxicity" "useful regulations regarding the demonstrated and continuously monitored precision of navigation equipment"
The origins of those are usually internal standards of a leading producer in the particular industry. They are certainly not puled out of thin air by some clerk.
"When I fly in IMC down to heights that are lower than the trees around our house, I really appreciate these "stupid regulations". "
Nothing to do with regulations. The cleverness/knowledge of the designer and yours of course, is allowing you to come down safely to those minimums. Certifying authority merely rubber-stamped a paper on which that designer put down the guaranteed parameters (deliberately oversimplifying here).
Let's not exchange certification, regulation and rules. Rules are logical, necessary, based on experience and generally good for mankind. Regulation is an attempt of a clerk to catch the rules on a paper and set the penalties for ignoring the rules - the bad things start here. Certification (completely bad) is only a bureaucratic process needed by the clerk to make his job important and by the producer to rise the barrier of entry for the competition. And of course to cover producers ass if something goes wrong (the thing was certified, I am not to blame). Very precisely formulated by Dooga before.
To be precise, I am 100% for the rules because they are necessary. Certification is completely bad, it's a brake on the technical advancement.
Design is one thing, manufacturing another.
I know of may consumer products which started life as well designed bits of engineering, but due to the substitution of "equivalent" parts over the production life turned into dodgy unreliable stuff. This problem is endemic in some sectors of manufacturing in China; some companies regard it as their right to increase profits by changing things left right and centre.
To ensure this doesn't happen takes a lot of effort and costs money.
We do OK out of these problems, quite a few products are being moved back to Europe due to the twin pressures of quality and inventory reduction requiring just in time production.