AEA Meets with US House Small Business Committe – AEA

AEA Logo, Property of AEA
AEA Logo, Property of AEA

LEE’S SUMMIT, MO., Oct. 3, 2013 — On Thursday, Oct. 3, Aircraft Electronics Association Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs Ric Peri met with several members of the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee, along with other general aviation leaders, for a round-table discussion on the biggest challenges facing the industry.

Despite this week’s federal government shutdown, the event took place this morning at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., and was hosted by Congressman Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee and co-chair of the House General Aviation Caucus.

The purpose of the meeting was to identify and seek solutions for the most critical issues currently facing general aviation.

Peri communicated the AEA’s concerns regarding the upcoming ADS-B mandate looming in 2020, along with certification and installation challenges facing Title 14 CFR Part 145 avionics repair shops. He was joined by various other aviation association executives in the invitation-only meeting.

“The AEA is grateful to Congressman Graves for offering a forum with other Congressional leaders to discuss a variety of issues facing the industry,” Peri said. “It’s important for these elected officials to work together in a bipartisan fashion to develop a regulatory and legislative framework to assist the industry. General aviation produced nearly $6.3 billion in worldwide avionics sales last year alone according to the AEA Avionics Market Report, and it’s an industry that annually contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy and employs more than 1.2 million people.

“It’s easy to focus on ADS-B and new technology, but there is a root cause that lies beneath the challenges the industry is facing with NextGen, as well as the low-cost installation of safety-enhancing technologies in the cockpit of general aviation aircraft. The issue is one of fundamental organizational leadership. Every organization needs leadership to make the ‘final’ decision; the hard decisions; the compromise decisions. Organizational leaders take input from each expert and make the best decision, but the AEA feels that the Federal Aviation Administration lacks this ability as an organization.

“While the FAA employs some extremely talented individuals, its inability to make a decision is paralyzing the organization and, as a result, the avionics repair shops that rely on a helpful, responsive and consistent agency. Currently, any one individual within the agency can, and routinely does, derail a project, and the leadership doesn’t have the necessary tools to collect the best data and simply make a decision.

“When identifying challenges that most impact the industry, we often compare the 7,000 safety inspectors and engineers the AEA membership interfaces with as 7,000 independent contractors. These 7,000 individuals do their best to make a perfect decision about absolute safety. Unfortunately, a decision by one representative of the FAA administrator means nothing to the other 6,999 independent representatives. If he or she believes, without substantiation, that another safety inspector or engineer is incorrect, they will simply ground the aircraft, refuse certificates or threaten enforcement action until the small business capitulates to their demands, without management oversight and without any opportunities to reasonably dispute the person’s opinion in a timely manner.

“A decision made at one FAA district office will often be second guessed at another district office, and the product or project will be held ransom until the small business capitulates. There is no organizational leadership to intervene.

“As a result, many avionics repair shops simply accept the highest level of approvals in order to minimize the impact of inspector second-guessing, which increases costs, reduces profits and compromises safety by discouraging, rather than encouraging, new safety-enhancing technologies. Ultimately, these increased costs are passed along to the end users and aircraft owners.”

Click here to view the AEA’s written comments to the committee.

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Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents more than 1,300 member companies in 43 countries, including government-certified international repair stations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of avionics and electronic systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of avionics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.

For more information, contact Geoff Hill, AEA director of communications, at 816-347-8400 or geoffh@aea.net. Visit www.AEA.net for more AEA news.

The Hidden Dangers of Chop-Shop Electronics – IEEE Spectrum

Photo: Adam VoorhesOn 17 August 2011, Boeing warned the U.S. Navy that an ice-detection module in the P-8A Poseidon, a new reconnaissance aircraft, contained a “reworked part that should not have been put on the airplane originally and should be replaced immediately.” In a message marked “Priority: Critical,” the company blamed the part, a Xilinx field-programmable gate array (FPGA), for the failure of the ice-detection module during a test flight.

How could this have happened? Xilinx, based in San Jose, Calif., is a highly respected manufacturer of FPGAs, and Boeing bought the ice-detection module containing the suspect part from BAE Systems, a reputable British defense company. The trouble occurred somewhere in the supply chain upstream from BAE, which wound through companies in California, Florida, Japan, and China. However, retracing that FPGA’s path led not to Xilinx but to a Chinese company called A Access Electronics. It apparently had turned a quick profit by selling used Xilinx parts as new. BAE ended up purchasing about 300 suspect FPGAs, many of them untested. Fortunately, most had not yet been installed on planes.

To a suspicious buyer, a number of clues might have suggested that the parts were not brand new. For example, parts stamped with the same manufacturing lot code had different ceramic package shapes and four different date codes. Some of the pins were shorter than the length specified in the manufacturer’s data sheet. Some packages themselves were chipped. But somewhere along the supply chain, someone accepted used parts as new, and they ended up on U.S. Navy airplanes.

This incident, described in a hearing held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services in November 2011, is only the tip of the iceberg. The global trade in recycled electronics parts is enormous and growing rapidly, driven by a confluence of cost pressures, increasingly complex supply chains, and the huge growth in the amount of electronic waste sent for disposal around the world. Recycled parts, relabeled and sold as new, threaten not only military systems but also commercial transportation systems, medical devices and systems, and the computers and networks that run today’s financial markets and communications systems.

Usually, it’s good to recycle electronics products. Ethical recycling companies properly dispose of the toxic ingredients in discarded computers, printers, mobile phones, and other systems and harvest the precious metals they contain. But not everyone in the electronics recycling ecosystem acts ethically.

In theory, with proper screening, electronics components could be safely reused in some low-cost applications, such as calculators and remote controls, where tolerances aren’t particularly demanding. But given the low cost of electronics parts for those products, such reuse wouldn’t usually be worth the trouble. There’s far more economic incentive to use recycled components as replacement parts in more expensive systems with long service lifetimes.

But sometimes old components are misused. Some companies have built a business model based on pulling old parts from cast-off products and reselling them as new. Relabeled or otherwise altered parts masquerading as new can fail prematurely in critical systems, such as those in airplanes and cars, with potentially catastrophic results.

For the FULL STORY >>

Boeing, South African Airways | Aviation Biofuel – Avionics Intelligence

Boeing, South African Airways partner to develop, implement sustainable aviation biofuel – Avionics Intelligence.

CHICAGO, 11 Oct. 2013. Boeing (NYSE:BA) and South African Airways (SAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop and implement a sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in Southern Africa—the first such project in Africa, according to a company spokesperson.

Read full article >

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Happy Birthday SEA Blog!We are very excited to be starting the official Southeast Aerospace blog! Happy Birthday, SEAerospace Blog!

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