The FAA has approved the Crane Aerospace & Electronics SmartStem tire pressure management system for use in Part 135 safety checks. In a letter to the system’s manufacturer, the agency stated, “It is our opinion that pilots conducting Part 135 operations may use the SmartStem to perform daily tire pressure checks as a pre-flight task if the system has been properly installed on the aircraft by means of an STC or other FAA approval.”
According to Crane, SmartStem benefits include reduced maintenance costs, improved convenience, pilot autonomy and automatic tracking of tire pressure checks. The SmartStem, containing integral sensors, replaces the existing tire inflation valve stem and communicates tire pressure, temperature and other stored information wirelessly to a handheld reader without the use of an internal battery in the stem. Since this information is communicated wirelessly and does not require removal of the valve cap, no gas is lost during routine tire pressure checks.
SmartStem is currently certified for use on a variety of business jets, and Crane is in the process of certifying the device on additional business, regional and large commercial aircraft.
A company spokesman said it is the only system of its type approved by the U.S. authorities.