February 5, 2014 - The FAA today released a new, less-restrictive policy for installing Angle of Attack (AoA) systems in GA aircraft. The policy allows aircraft owners to install AoA systems that are manufactured and certified by ASTM standards, rather than part 23 certification, as a minor modification in type-certificated aircraft.
The policy comes as a result of a General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GA JSC) push to make AoA indicators available to aircraft owners at lower purchasing cost and fewer regulatory burdens for their installation. EAA is a longtime member of the GA JSC. While AoAs have been on the GA market for type-certificated aircraft for years, the costs and hassles associated with purchasing and installing them caused the vast majority of owners to simply use an airspeed indicator as a reserve lift reference.
"That the FAA is cutting red tape for aircraft owners who want to install safety equipment is excellent news," said Sean Elliott, vice president of EAA advocacy and safety and a member of the GA JSC steering committee. "AoAs are proven, reliable instruments that enhance information available to the pilot, especially in critical phases of flight. We believe that widespread use of AoAs will have a measureable impact on loss-of-control accident totals, and we are pleased that the FAA created an easy route for widespread, easy installation."
Approved AoAs must be stand-alone units that meet ASTM design requirements, must not interfere with certified stall-warning devices, and must be placarded "Not for use as a primary instrument for flight." Installation will not require a field approval, but will require a change to the aircraft's operating limitations.