AOA Indicators Eligible for Easier FAA Approval

 - March 5, 2014, 1:05 AM

In recognition of the benefits of angle-of-attack (AOA) indicating systems, the FAA has revised its policies to allow simpler certification and installation approval for the devices. This applies only to aircraft in which an AOA system is not required, according to the FAA memorandum that outlined the change. “Preventing loss of control in general aviation (GA) is a top focus area of the FAA and the GA community. Installation of an AOA system may aid in preventing loss-of-control accidents,” the agency says in the memo. Unlike current certification processes for supplemental AOA systems, under the new policy AOA manufacturers can apply for a letter of approval from the FAA’s Chicago Aircraft Certification Office and submit a statement of compliance with the design requirements of ASTM F3011-13 standards. These AOA systems can’t fail and affect the safety of the aircraft and must be isolated from other aircraft systems (such as pitot-static or stall warning systems) and not interfere with the pilot’s view of primary flight instruments. A cockpit placard is required, stating: “Not for use as a primary instrument for flight.” Pilots may not use these types of AOA systems for reduced approach speeds and shorter landing distance operational credit, according to the FAA. The news that the FAA is allowing this process may bode well for installation of other safety-related equipment. “The FAA believes this streamlined policy may serve as a prototype for production approval and installation of other add-on aircraft systems in the future,” the agency stated.