Wingtip ADS-B Solution Receives FAA TSO

Wingtip ADS-B Solution Receives FAA TSO
Source: AIO / Matt Thurber – September 5, 2018                          

The uAvionix skyBeacon incorporates an ADS-B Out transceiver, GPS, antenna, and LED position and anti-collision lights all in one unit.


The FAA has granted technical standard order (TSO) authorization for uAvionix’s skyBeacon wingtipmounted ADS-B Out system.
Retailing for $1,849, the skyBeacon should receive an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) “within just a few weeks,” according to uAvionix. The skyBeacon incorporates a GPS receiver, altimeter, and ADS-B Out transceiver in a wingtip-mounted unit that contains an LED position light and LED anti-collision light.
The skyBeacon replaces an aircraft’s existing left-wing red position/anti-collision light, a simpler installation than installing an ADS-B Out system inside the flight deck or cabin.
The STC will cover multiple Cessna and Piper airplanes. According to uAvionix, “The STC data and installations satisfy FAA requirements and will enable subsequent skyBeacon installations to be performed on any ‘suitable aircraft’ without an STC as a minor alteration. A ‘suitable aircraft’ is any aircraftallowing installation of the skyBeacon without airframe modification.”
Installation of the skyBeacon takes about 10 minutes, with no airframe modifications required, and connection of three wires. The skyBeacon is fitted with its own antenna, so there is no need for a separate antenna, and it works with any Mode-C or Mode-S transponder, according to uAvionix.
The company is also developing an ADS-B In skySensor, so aircraft owners can install an ADS-B Out unit on the left wingtip and ADS-B In on the right wingtip. A tailBeacon is also in the STC process and will replace the white tail position light with an ADS-B Out-equipped position light unit. The uAvionix ADS-B products were developed initially for the experimental and light sport aircraft market.

Patent Complaint
A dispute between uAvionix and Garmin is ongoing and may be headed for trial. Garmin filed a complaint against uAvionix on June 19, accusing it of patent infringement. According to uAvionix, “Garmin alleges the uAvionix echoUAT and skyBeacon’s method of obtaining an installed transponder’s Mode 3/A code and altitude infringes their U.S. Patent No. 8,102,301 (the ‘301 Patent’). We do not infringe the 301 Patent. UAvionix has our own patent-pending method for using Mode 3/A and altitude information that differs from the method in the 301 Patent.”
In its complaint, Garmin explained, “In 2009, Garmin developed and patented a low cost and easy-toinstall self-configuring ADS-B system. Garmin’s invention—seen in U.S. Patent No.8,102,301 (the ‘301 Patent’)—reduces or eliminates much of the expense and burdens associated with transitioning aircraft to an ADS-B compliant system and radically improves communication and safety for small [aircraft].
Garmin currently sells its patented invention—including a feature it refers to as AutoSquawk—as part of its GDL-82, GDL-84, and GDL-88 systems. This patented technology allows aircraft owners the ability to easily afford and install the essential ADS-B systems that were previously too expensive. Garmin’s patented technology also eases the burden on pilots by automatically collecting and broadcasting the required ADS-B information from an aircraft’s pre-existing transponder system.”
In the uAvionix patent application, the company’s technology is explained as follows: “The ADS-B radio extracts Mode transponder data from parasitic oscillations on the aircraft power line induced by transmissions of own-ship radar transponder reply signals. The radio is configured for replacement installation of an aircraft lighting assembly, and connection thereby to legacy onboard power sources without resorting to wireless or wired radar transponder, or pneumatic connections.”
In a statement about the lawsuit, uAvionix wrote: “Ultimately the court and industry will decide whether we are innovators or infringers.” The lawsuit will not impact uAvionix’s ability to ship the SkyBeacon, according to the company