Best lightweight com

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crbnunit
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Best lightweight com

Post by crbnunit »

OK, opinions wanted. What is the best light weight, com only radio out there. My 9lb KX175b with MAC1700 face went up in smoke last weekend. Literally. Glad I was on the ground when it happened!

Also, to all of you AP's and IA's out there... There is some debate whether a non-commercial aircraft that is VFR only needs a TSO'd radio. Since a radio is not really even required, some contend that a non-TSO'd radio is OK and can be installed with a weight/balance/current draw calculation and a log book entry. Thoughts?
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by asa »

GTR200

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onfinal
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by onfinal »

Hi Crb
You might take a look at Trig Avionics' TY91... 460 grams.
Remote radio unit with panel mount controller head.
Tuning is a bit 'marmite' (you either love it or hate it)
It is TSO'd
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by 1:1 Scale »

I don't know what the all up weight is, but depending on what you have for an audio panel and intercom, you could probably save a fair bit of weight with the PS Engineering PAR200B, since it integrates the audio panel and intercom into one panel slot, and operates a remotely mounted Trig radio...

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montana maule
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by montana maule »

There is a discussion on this topic at https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/communi ... ft.104981/. It's a long read but by the end I would say it is possible. It really comes down to if your A&P will sign it off as a minor alteration.

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crbnunit
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by crbnunit »

I was eyeballing the Becker Ar 6201 but the GTR 200 is looking pretty good. Northern Lights Avionics said they have installed a bunch of the TY 91's. I'm leaning toward the Becker just because it takes up less panel space and has a built in 4 place intercom where the GTR only has a two place. Right now, I have a separate intercom system I am also having problems with so it would be nice to replace both radio and intercom. Don't have an audio panel so that isn't a worry at the moment.
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Andy Young
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by Andy Young »

My interpretation is that, while you don’t have to have certain equipment in the (certified) plane, if you DO have it, it must be certified as well. Think this through: If the other argument was true, then you could put a non-TSOed autopilot in, since an autopilot isn’t required. Why would there even be TSOed radios if the TSO wasn’t required?

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crbnunit
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by crbnunit »

I don’t think the discussion includes structural, engine or actual control of the aircraft. At least not for me. However, I don’t see requiring a tso for a radio that is not even required in the first place. This is just for discussion purposes, I’m likely to install a tso’d com anyway. However, my personal feeling is that it is MY aircraft, I don’t fly for hire and I don’t fly IFR. Unless I’m trying to sell it, it is really none of the FAA’s business.
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Andy Young
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by Andy Young »

Crbnunit,

Certainly no criticism of that perspective was, or is, intended. I was just attempting to answer your question about what is legal (vs reasonable, which are often not the same thing).

As far as I am aware, there is nothing that limits the requirement for certified equipment to “Structural, engine or actual control”. Likewise, no distinction in this case for IFR vs VFR use, nor for commercial vs personal use. The requirement applies to everything “permanently installed”, which has typically been defined as anything attached the aircraft with bolts, screws, rivets, etc. It even applies to electrical items wired in with crimp or eye connectors. So, for example, if you Velcro a portable radio to your panel and power it via a cigarette lighter plug, it does not have to be certified, but if you bolt it to the panel, and/or put eye connectors on the power wires and screw them to a panel breaker, it’s a permanent installation and must be certified or otherwise approved (STC, field approval).

One area where the FAA has chosen to turn a blind eye is GoPro mounts. Technically, those require approval when bolted to the aircraft, but no one seems to care (so far).

There are other examples, such as the letter they published a few years ago, encouraging the installation of updated seat belts and other safety-enhancing mods, waiving the more stringent paperwork requirements.


Again, this has nothing to do with my opinion on what is reasonable; just what I interpret the rules to be. These are often not one and the same.

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montana maule
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by montana maule »

The link I cited above is along read and the thread wonders. But if you are talking radios to me it looks possible in a Part 91 aircraft. Many things are excluded like autopilots. I am reminded of the wisdom of a First Sargent I knew. Opinions are like a** h***s everyone has one.

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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by Kirk »

Quite a few years back, I was having some avionics work done at a certified Repair Station. Either the transponder or a nav indicator was non-tso’d and they installed it with all the required docs to the FAA.

I don’t remember the exact explanation, but it was legit and a required item for instrument flight. Wish I could cite a definitive ruling etc but just throwing my 2 cents in.

Kirk

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crbnunit
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by crbnunit »

Hey Andy, it there was "TONE" in my reply, none was intended! LOL! I really have no agenda. I am just asking opinion and I value yours!

I am really doing my best to get the FAA out of my life. Starting with Basic Med. Best thing I have ever done. So far I am legal and will likely keep it that way but I am gong to push here and there! Nothing that is going to affect safety for sure but some things are just too silly to exclude because the FAA has no sense and refuses to join the 21st century... They have made progress recently and so far, I haven't had any problems getting things field approved!

One of my neighbors is former FAA and quit because he got fed up with the bureaucracy and silliness. He recently installed an unapproved part that has been flying legally for years on other aircraft. He filed paperwork for a field approval, backed up by rule and regulation and basically told the FAA to fly a kite. It can be done.

Montana Maule posted a good link that is worth the read. Long but informative. https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/communi ... ft.104981/Skip to the last page if you get bogged down.
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Andy Young
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by Andy Young »

I just finished reading through that whole long thread that Montana Maule gave the link to. It’s an interesting read. It just about had me convinced that non-TSOed equipment was fine to install, then there was the plot twist at the very end! So now I’m not so sure. How did that guy’s case with the FAA turn out?

One of the things I’ve seen in cases where a manufacturer sells TSOed and non-TSOed versions of the same model, is that the non-TSOed units usually have paperwork that says “Not approved for use in certified aircraft”. Hard to get past that, I would think, if the question ever came up.

And there’s the critical part: Will the question ever come up? For those of us who are A&P/IAs, and you’re installing this yourself, who is ever going to know or care? For folks who rely on someone else to sign off their annual, it’s another story. It seems like there is still a lot of disagreement on this topic. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you can convince your IA to sign off on.

Another random thought: If it’s really legal to use non-TSOed stuff in certified aircraft, why would the manufacturers bother with the TSO process? And why would they not use this ability to install non-TSO stuff as a selling point to move their products?

There are some interesting points made about old airplanes coming from the factory with non-TSO equipment. Maybe that was ok because it was all rolled up in the type certificate. Or ok back then, but not now.

Interesting point about marine and CB radios: no TSO versions of those available, I’m guessing, yet plenty of them installed...

I’m more confused than ever, I have to admit.

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crbnunit
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by crbnunit »

I’m guessing this subject will always be clear as mud. It is an interesting topic though! My plan is to pull the old navcom and transponder out and replace it with a lightweight com only radio. The iPad I’m currently typing on may find its way into the panel as well…
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Re: Best lightweight com

Post by riverbuggy »

I installed a PS Engineering PAR 200A several years ago. It includes an audio panel with a 4 place intercom. Very satisfactory com only solution.
It is my understanding for com equipment that a TSO rating is required for IFR operations, but not VFR operations. I am as confused as others on this topic, but that is the best I could decipher from the regs.
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