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Standards for airborne equipment?

Standards for airborne equipment?

Standards for airborne equipment?

Hi, I'm having trouble finding the right information. I want to understand what standards must be complied with if I was to design a camera system for use in small general aviation aircraft. If I understand things correctly, an STC is needed for any modifications to the airframe, though must the equipment used in the aircraft comply with some standard?

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

Equipment can be certified for installation on a non-interferance basis. It's generally reserved for equipment that actually plays no role in operation of the aircraft.

Meeting DO-160 is probably a good starting point.

There are FAA Advisory Circulars that describe the STC application process. At one time, it was possible to do something like that on a Form 337 too.

I don't know if that is still a possibility.

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

Thanks for the feedback.   DO-160 includes things like flammability, fluid susceptibility, etc.   Is it possible to used approved materials, rather than conducting exhaustive, and potentially destructive testing?

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

If you are just going to put a hole in the airframe for a camera, that is the item that needs engineering aproval( STC or form 337)


I do not know of any requirements for the camera itself,other than restraining it from falling out, unless it protrudes into the airstream and can disrupt the airflow around the aircraft.


RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

If you plan to sell this equipment, vs. modify one airplane you operate you'll need to consider aircraft parts manufacturing approval.  

How the aircraft will be operated also matters, operation under CFR Title 14, part 91, Part 135, part 121, as an experimental? It all matters.

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

Depending on the scope of the alteration and the desire to sell the mod to others, it could be done via field apporoval or STC. Also depending on the scope, you may have to go for a Restricted Category Airworthiness Certificate. I've done several such mods for cameras and FLIR systems on light aircraft. It all depends on how much you will be modifying the aircraft, the structural requirements for securing the equipment, and power requirements from the aircraft electrical system. I'd advise you to talk to your local FSDO or talk to a structures and systems DER.

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

a "small GA aircraft" is probably covered by FAR23.

a camera system would be considered non-essential equipment, and probably wouldn't need to be TSO qualified.

some more details would help ...
where are you ? (Europe, US, other)
why invasive is the installation ? (are you just clamping the camera onto a frame, or are you cutting a 2' sq hole in a pressurised plane ? inside the cabin, or outside, in the airstream ?)

if you're not cutting the airplane structure, this could simply be clamped onto the plane and away you go.

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

"if you're not cutting the airplane structure, this could simply be clamped onto the plane and away you go."

I've seen camera mounts mounted on the seat tracks, and the camera attached with "pip pins"; thus making it "loose equipment". Just have to account for the weight differential between the removed seat, and "Not Installed" loose equipment.   

RE: Standards for airborne equipment?

I have done a number of camera installation STCs for part 23 aircraft and helicopters.  For the camera and its supply Kontiki99 is correct.  You do not need to qualify the camera to DO-160 (assuming it is not used for flight), you just have to show that the camera system does not interfere with the aircraft systems.  You also need to show that all your power wires are adequate and have correct sized circuit protection.  Other things that you need to do are show the attachment meets the strength requirements by analysis and testing.  All of this is part of an STC process.  
For the camera installations I have worked on there are some pitfalls to watch out for.  The equipment, such as computers and monitoring equiment, need to have racks or attachments that are made of aircraft grade materials.  It is easy to find a MIL qualified rack, but not for airborne equipment.  There are other things such as egress, interior flamability, cable routing, and weight and ballance that need to be addressed.  
The FAA website has a certification guide at http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/design_approvals/media/CPI_guide_II.pdf
It has a lot of information on how to get started.

Micah Hamley, PE
Aeronautical Engineer & FAA DER
 - Keep those old planes flying! -

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