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IFD540 Certification Status

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AviJake View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Oct 2012 at 8:45pm
I hope to use this new thread as a location to provide periodic updates on the IFD540 product and specifically on it's progress toward FAA certification.

I'd like to ask that any product specific questions on features and the like are asked in other pre-existing or newly-formed threads and we keep this particular thread focused on the cert progress.

In this thread, I'll cover hardware and software progress as well as flight test and lab test milestones reached enroute to TSO and STC approvals.  To the extent that it makes sense, I'll post target dates and readers can use this thread to independently assess progress towards certification.

At this point, we have 12 IFD540 units under test that are used in our four test aircraft, three integration test labs (ITL), and in the environmental test lab that we're renting time in.  I personally fly the units 3-5 times per week and use them in an ITL every day.    This is going to be a great product when we can get it in your airplane.
Steve Jacobson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2012 at 7:28am

Steve, I appreciate your effort in being as transparent as possible without exposing too much information to your competition.  I think all of us who have invested in this development would like to share in the excitement.  Is your plan to get the hardware qualified first, so you can gear up the factory to make those initial deliveries to people like me with the software qualification to follow?  Or will both the hardware and software be certified as a unit?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2012 at 9:06am
Hi Tony,

It's a little of both.  By that I mean there is no notion of FAA certification for a hardware unit without accompanying software for a product like this.

Hardware qual has two principal elements to it.  If the hardware contains what are called "Programmable Logic Devices" (ours does) or other similar types of equipment, then there is a standard that we must show compliance with (DO-254).  That is a rough analog to the software standard (called DO-178).  The second part of hardware qual is the environmental qualification.  Environmental qual is governed by a standard called DO-160.  DO-160 will drive us to various vibration, heat, cold, altitude, humidity, RF emissions and susceptibility, etc types of tests.  We are running both the DO-254 and DO-160 hardware qual efforts in parallel.  The environmental one is typically several months long (lots of tests, some with long durations) and the outcome of each is that we produce two Hardware Qual Reports that are submitted to the FAA as part of the overall compliance data package.   We'll turn those reports in before the final software and flight test reports and while the FAA will likely review and comment on them, they won't likely "sign off" on them without the accompanying software reports.

I'm also not sure how well understood the overall cert process is but we talk of it in terms of "TSO" and "STC" efforts.  Each of the TSO and STC cert efforts  have elements of hardware and software data to them but the easiest way to think of that is:

TSO - take this to mean the equipment has been shown to meet various instrument technical standards (e.g. Moving map, traffic display, lightning sensor, FMS, etc).  In the case of TSO, we have demonstrated compliance to the three hardware and software standards too (DO-254, DO-160, DO-178).

STC - this is the approval for installation in an airplane.   You can have TSO for a product but if you don't have STC, you have no approved basis to install that gear in an airplane.

I expect to report on all of those milestones in this thread (254, 160 and 178 tasks, TSO, STC and flight test milestones, etc).

So that was a long-winded way of saying that for all practical purposes, both the hardware and software get certified as a unit.  But, that doesn't mean we won't be building up a bunch of units in the factory.  We'll be sufficiently through the hardware qual far enough ahead of the software qual that even though we'll technically build up the units at risk, the risk of having to disassemble and redo some hardware element will be very low.   That way, we have a slew of built up units awaiting the final TSO and STC approval such that the day after we have those certs, we can be shipping units.

Make sense?
Steve Jacobson
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tony View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2012 at 9:40am
Perfect sense!  Thank You.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Victor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2012 at 1:30pm
Steve,

Can we have an update please?  Its been almost 3 weeks.

Thanks,

Victor
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2012 at 7:48pm
you still on schedule to complete by the end of the year?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Nov 2012 at 9:28pm
IFD540 Development Status (29 Nov 2012):

We've made very significant progress in the last few months but we have a few more months of work ahead of us.  Here are a few updates on our status:

  • We have about 12 units built up that are being used for various purposes to include flight test and software development and hardware environmental qualification;
  • We are flying the units in multiple aircraft.  I know I'm personally logging about 30 hours per month in-flight with the IFD540 and I'm just one of a few test pilots.  Most of our flying is based out of our Lincoln MA location and our Melbourne FL location;
  • There are 174 external, 3rd party devices the IFD540 must integrate with.   We're complete with about 115 of those devices, partially complete with another 35 or so and haven't started on the rest but we believe most to either be simple or rare in the field;
  • We are extremely happy to have retired two of my top two technical risks - we are pulling about 20% less current than we had estimated based on our design (this was one of the two risks) which means we are generating a proportionally smaller amount of wattage, which in turn means our unit is meaningfully cooler in temperature than we had anticipated (this was the other risk).   In fact, at maximum wattage (e.g. max map depiction, VHF transmitting much longer than typical, etc) still means our unit is the same as ambient temperature.  This is huge and much cooler than all surrounding units and much cooler than the G-530s that it may be replacing;
  • We begin official, for-credit environmental testing on Dec 15th.  This is the last meaningful task left on the hardware side of the product.  We have conducted in-house risk mitigation dry runs of all that testing and passed with flying colors;
  • A key member of our flight test/development team just received his DER ticket from the FAA and they (the FAA) are delegating more approval authority to Avidyne - this should help with end-game schedule control;
  • In addition to the actual software creation/functionality, FAA "certification" includes showing compliance with the DO-178B software development standard.   This has "gobs" of effort associated with it that only a true software engineer can appreciate (and in some "sick" cases, actually enjoy).   This is where the majority of the remaining work and schedule impact reside.  In other words, once we go "code complete", we still have man-weeks of process compliance/artifacts work to complete; 
  • The crew is working in a full-court press manner and we're completely heads down trying to finish the product.  We understand it is in our extreme best interest to get this done and shipping as soon as feasible.  This is an all-consuming effort so any apparent radio silence on our part is due solely to that intense focus.  I wouldn't read any more into it than that but please don't hesitate to use this forum to press for updates if you think you need to hear more.
Steve Jacobson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edanford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Dec 2012 at 7:14pm
How close is the Simulator to release to early adopters?
Ed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2012 at 7:10pm

So Steve, if one was planning a cockpit upgrade around your 540 deliveries, hypothetically of course, when would be a good time to plan on taking one’s airplane being down?  Feb?  Mar? Apr?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brou0040 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2012 at 7:42pm
When future releases with new features are certified, what is the upgrade process?  Will we have to take the plane to a dealer or can we install the update?  Will any (flight) testing be required?  Will there be any associated costs to upgrade?

Thanks,
Jayson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 9:50am
Hi Jayson,

The upgrade process should be a breeze.  Every bit of software in the IFD540s are field loadable via the USB port on the front of the bezel/unit.  That means the software can be uploaded using a USB thumb drive.  We do it all the time during development and the whole process takes about 5 minutes.

This next part is not a done yet but, it is trending very nicely.   The FAA has just issued updated guidance about what types of actions the individual owner can perform on their aircraft and it appears that software updates, if using an approved Avidyne-supplied service bulletin, may (and I stress the word "may" right now) be permitted.  We are seeking clarification on that one but if that's true, that would even save the time/effort of you having to fly to an approved dealer to have that work done.  If, this new FAA-allowed owner update effort is not permitted for software updates, then it is still a simple process but involves your dealing loading, and signing off the software in accordance with the service bulletin.

The need for flight  testing before update signoff will depend on the nature of the update or functionality added.  The vast majority of the envisioned updates would not require a flight to sign off.

As for cost to upgrade, that too will depend on the nature of the new content.  Generally speaking, a bug fix load is no cost but a feature add load may have some cost associated with it.
Steve Jacobson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 3:19pm
Thats awesome!!!  You guys do seem to focus on customers.  Please dont stop. 
Will the 28 day nav updates be loaded using the same port?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Dec 2012 at 5:50pm
Yes, the Nav, Charts and Obstacle data is all loaded through that USB port on the front of the bezel.

Why we don't encourage it at all, the system will also let you fly with expired data, it just puts an "Expired" watermark on out of date charts.
Steve Jacobson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Dec 2012 at 9:35pm
With only one more week left in 2012, has all the test been completed and has all the data been submitted to the FAA, such that we are only waiting on approval?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Dec 2012 at 9:48pm
No.  We still have a bunch of work still to go.  That being said, we are very confident we'll have cert and be shipping in 1H 2013.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2013 at 5:27am

Tomorrow is the first day of the second month of 2013; I thought this would be a good time for all of us to get a heading check. Steve would you please provide us status where we stand  in the certification process? Did we get all of our flight testing completed? Have all the reports been written and submitted?  What’s left to do?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2013 at 1:59pm

IFD540 Status Update (31 Jan 2013):

We are making terrific progress but we are still a few months away from being done.   There are a lot of ways to slice this up but in general, here is a breakdown of the various efforts underway to get the IFD540 certified and installed in customer airplanes:

Hardware Qualification:

We are still undergoing the official for-credit hardware qual of the units.  This consists of three sub-categories.  We have to conduct all this testing on the fully assembled and representative units.  Accounting for potential snags, I bet we have 8ish weeks ahead of us on this effort.

1.       Environmental Qual (DO-160) – this is progressing well.  This part of testing in which the unit has be to subjected to all kinds of environmental testing to include extreme heat, and cold, altitude testing, humidity testing, RF emissions testing, RF susceptibility testing, vibration testing, salt spray, dust, dot, dot, dot.  This testing gets conducted in a special environmental test lab and the test results get submitted as part of the FAA approval process.  We’ve been in that testing since early December and have a few more weeks of that effort ahead of us.

2.       Complex Electronics Qual (DO-254) – we have conducted our own not-for-credit testing to ensure we have no problems but have not yet started the formal qual testing yet.  When we do, it should take a few weeks until completion.  For the techies in the audience, Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLDs) is where a lot of the embedded logic is conducted and we just have to show nothing unexpected or nefarious happens in that hardware/firmware.

3.       Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) testing – so far so good but not quite done.   The FAA specifies minimum performance requirements for hardware (e.g. GPS, VHF, etc) and each one of those standards comes with pages (and sometimes pages and pages and pages) of tests that are specified and must be run and shown to meet published pass/fail criteria.

 

Software Qualification:

I think the simplest way to think of this is a two-part effort – Development and Formal Qualification.  Both are governed by an FAA-written software process called DO-178.    This is a requirements-based process that involves all aspects of software development and cert starting with top level product definition and decomposing that into smaller and smaller and more detailed and more detailed written requirements, then the software coding to embody those requirements and then a lot of different kinds of testing designed to validate all the requirements are correct and fully embodied by the code, and conversely, the code doesn’t have anything in there that isn’t governed by the requirements.  A related type of testing is to show that every possible path the code can take results in a known or deterministic end state.  This is man-years of effort for a product of this size and complexity.   It is also an iterative process in that inputs from flight test and the FAA and sometimes the customer base, can be cause for rework and then a lot of those steps must be re-performed to re-validate the changed code.

We don’t run this in a serial manner.  In other words, we don’t wait until all the code is done before we start the validation testing.  We are well into the formal qualification of the code but some parts of the code are still changing as we fly it a lot and find things that simply must be changed.  The closer we get to the cert finish line, the higher the bar is that a potential code change must clear before we put it in.

This effort is running in parallel with the hardware qualification.   It’s all relative but flight test is still finding a number of areas that need to, or we want to, change in order to deliver a truly kick-ass product.

Past experience says it’s wise to be conservative on estimating the impact of these changes on schedule so I would estimate we have a few months of work still ahead of us before we declare the code to be 100% done.

 

Flight Testing:

Of course I find this to be the most enjoyable part of the effort by a long shot.   We have two dedicated airplanes for flight test and two other aircraft that we periodically use when we need to perform special tests or temporarily ramp up flight test intensity.

One thing that has slowed us down over the last 5 weeks is that one of our test airplanes has been undergoing a major modification in which a lot of sensors and 3rd party boxes that the IFD540 integrates have been installed.  We did this to ensure we had a truly representative environment for testing in case our lab configurations couldn’t adequately represent certain flight conditions or corner conditions.   We can also fly the airplane regularly “in the system” by filing IFR and flying in real airspace dealing with real flight scenarios day in and day out.   We get that airplane back this weekend and we’ll be back into full intensity flight testing.

One side note, while I would love to show off our stuff and let people take their own personal evaluation flights in these planes, we have created a self-imposed “no flights for outside people” rule and we’re staying disciplined on adhering to it until the system is “done”.  Sorry.  (I will make periodic posts of pix on my Twitter feed however)

 

FAA Involvement:

For better or worse, this one has us worried.   The crew that we work with in the FAA are all good guys trying to do a good job.   However, I’m sure no one will find it surprising to note that it is a big organization with lots of disparate parts and heavy workloads, all leading to a burdensome bureaucratic environment.   There are two specific areas that will result in real schedule uncertainty.   The first is that the STC project has been put into “sequencing”.   This is an FAA term that means the level of FAA involvement in the cert process is large enough that the regional office is not permitted to slip it in to their normal work flow.   Until it is out of sequencing, no one in the FAA can work the certification approvals and the big unknown is no one in the FAA can tell when it will pop out of sequencing, and which regional FAA office will perform the certification approval tasks.   The other event that is very disruptive to knowing with high confidence when the unit will be certified/approved is an FAA task called a Multi-Pilot System Useability Evaluation (MPSUE).   This is a FAA-run evaluation of the system in the lab and in flight in which they conduct a human factors analysis of the safety and certifiability of the unit.  For anyone following the R9 SynVis cert effort thread, you have some sense of the MPSUE saga that is likely to unfold.  And unlike in the case of SynVis which was an “abbreviated” MPSUE, the FAA has informed us that the IFD540 will receive a “full” MPSUE.   That is likely to involve at least 10 FAA flight test pilots and flight test engineers and human factors folks (and maybe more) and coordinating all those schedules and viewpoints is a non-trivial task.  It is a safe assumption to say something will need to be changed in the code as a result of that FAA input and therefore we can’t declare we’re 100% code complete until the MPSUE has been conducted and any changes implemented.  And of course, they can’t even start scheduling the MPSUE until the project comes out of sequencing.

The rest of the FAA involvement is just par-for-the-course types of tasks and are in the noise when compared to the above two challenges.

I view this area as the single biggest schedule wild card, by far.

 

Launch Readiness/Pilot Program:

Let’s try to end on a high note.   Despite all that work noted above, we are also running a parallel launch readiness effort so we’re as ready for prime time as we can be.   This has all kinds of sub-parts to it like ramping up our production line at the factory, having ship kits all ready to go, having simulators and user documentation ready to go (we don’t plan to release those until just before certification) and a lot of other typical product launch types of tasks.

One big part of our plan is to run a “Pilot Program” that will start the day after we receive TSO and STC approval/certification.  This “Pilot Program” is intended to run long enough (I’d guess 4-10 weeks) for us to be confident there aren’t any must-fix gotchas before we open the flood gates to full-rate production and installations.   I am planning on installing TSO/STC units in 20-30 customer aircraft and collecting installation and flight behavior input as required.    I have many more details on the Pilot Program that we’ll share in the coming next few weeks in which I explain the types of aircraft configurations and patterns of flying we’re looking for and seeking volunteers to participate in that program.  I wouldn’t call it a “Beta Test” program since we’ll be fully certified by that time (and by the way, we have no plans to install pre-certified gear in people’s airplanes) but it will definitely be in the veins of an early adopter kind of phase.   That explanation and solicitation for volunteers will come in the form of an email to all those customers who have already signed up for one or more IFD540s but if you want to get a headstart on throwing your name into that hat, don’t hesitate to send an email to sjacobson@avidyne.com.

Steve Jacobson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2013 at 7:46pm
Steve, thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oskrypuch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2013 at 9:00pm
Wow, thanks much for the update.

* Orest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2013 at 5:59am
Could sequestration effect the amount of support from the FAA causing this effort to just fall off the FAA's to do list? or do you think this program is big enough in the eyes of the FAA to continue staffing it?

Edited by tony - 01 Feb 2013 at 6:06am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2013 at 7:54am
That's a good question and one I don't know the answer to.  I asked the explicit question to our local FAA certification office and wait to hear back the response.  Will post update when I get it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2013 at 2:02pm
Just wanted to follow up on the Sequestration question.

I asked about sequestration and the effects it may be having on the FAA now.  As you may recall, the current date for sequestration is 1 March.  The official FAA policy right now is 30 days prior to that, changes start happening so we’re already in that window.

As of 1 March, all non mission critical FAA employees are to be furloughed.  There seems to be some confusion on what this even means but I believe the current plan of record is that every member of the FAA, at least in the offices that we deal with, may be affected several days per month.  I don't understand this to be a full-time furlough.  Still ugly but not as ugly as it might have been.

30 days prior, all non mission critical travel is cancelled and employees are encouraged to clear as much work off their to-do lists as feasible.

We surely don't want sequestration to come to pass but it seems like some impacts are already being realized.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SB Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2013 at 7:59pm
Any news?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2013 at 7:48pm

IFD540 Status Update (7 Mar 2013):

We've moved 6 weeks closer to cert since the last big update.   I'll use the same way to slice this up as the late Jan update, albeit in an abbreviated manner:

Hardware Qualification:

We are still undergoing the official for-credit hardware qual of the units.  We had one glitch with the VHF performance at low voltage testing and have subsequently tweaked the design to address that problem and are back in qual - that put a few week dent in the hardware qual schedule. 

1.       Environmental Qual (DO-160) – I didn't really mention this in the late Jan update but we front end loaded the tougher and riskier tests so we minimize the likelihood of late-in-the-game surprises.  As I noted above, the tests uncovered a design issue that we found and fixed and are back at it now.  I'd be willing to bet we have more of those ahead of us this spring.

2.       Complex Electronics Qual (DO-254) – we have conducted our own not-for-credit testing to ensure we have no problems but have still not yet started the formal qual testing.  When we do, it should take a few weeks until completion.  For the techies in the audience, Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLDs) is where a lot of the embedded logic is conducted and we just have to show nothing unexpected or nefarious happens in that hardware/firmware.

3.       Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) testing – so far so good still but not quite done.   The FAA specifies minimum performance requirements for hardware (e.g. GPS, VHF, etc) and each one of those standards comes with pages (and sometimes pages and pages and pages) of tests that are specified and must be run and shown to meet published pass/fail criteria.

 

Software Qualification:

We have a very specific punch list of items and we're systematically checking them off one-by-one.  The pace is definitely accelerating but there is still a small mountain of work ahead of us.  No show stoppers and we've hired up to augment our software testing crew.  Many of the formal software tests are written and more are done every day (there are almost one thousand tests to create/review/run/document).

I left this paragraph in from the Jan update since it's still relevant - Past experience says it’s wise to be conservative on estimating the impact of these changes on schedule so I would estimate we have a few months of work still ahead of us before we declare the code to be 100% done.

 

Flight Testing:

The airplane that I'm principally flying is a workhorse.  We upgraded it last week to ops test more of the systems we interface to in a real world situation.  The result is that the plane has a crazy antenna farm on the roof and I feel like Lily Tomlin in front of her switchboard as I change connections real-time in flight.  

I do have a minor fuel leak in a wing root which will require me to put the plane down for a little bit but aside from that, it's a reliable steed.

The FL-based test aircraft is equally as busy and that gets flown all the time by our Chief Pilot and our CEO.   We're bringing another test bird up in FL shortly.

 

FAA Involvement:

For better or worse, this one still has us worried.   We are still in sequencing and it's still not clear how the sequester-generated periodic FAA furloughs will impact the program.

 

Launch Readiness/Pilot Program:

I had a huge response in the solicitation email to all the pre-buy customers a few weeks back asking for volunteers to participate.  I haven't spent enough time pouring through all the data yet to down-select the best configured airplanes operated by eager to help owners.   I bet there are still a few weeks before that settles out.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2013 at 8:06pm

Steve, Thank you for the update....

So now I'm going to put on my program manager hat. What are the estimated completion dates for the above tasks? In other words, when are you going to be done with your effort? I know you can't predict the FAA's support, given all the furlough notices today, but when will your development team be finished?

 

.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2013 at 8:15pm
June or July.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SB Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Apr 2013 at 12:03pm
Jake,
 
Time flies when you're having fun. Another month has passed.
 
How goes it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2013 at 8:39am
It's going well (IFD540 development that is).  I'm currently on a 6-day XC to exercise the dual IFD540 aircraft "in the system" and will provide a more detailed post when I return.  Our rate of closure to the finish line hasn't slipped at all in the last month so that's encouraging.

The FAA, despite the effects of sequester and the fact that the IFD540 cert program is still in sequencing, is pressing ahead with scheduling the MPSUE (Multi-Pilot System Usability Evaluation) human factors evaluation and flight test in May. 
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Bravo.

* Orest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SB Jim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2013 at 11:15am
Jake,
 
Good news.
 
Plus they pay you to go flying? What a horrible job! <g>
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Apr 2013 at 1:18pm
It isn't perfect.  They pay him to go flying, but on the ground he has to put up with us.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote glassanza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2013 at 3:33pm
Got to turn knobs as well as pinch and poke a 540 at S&F yesterday....Super Impressed. I feel the finish line is in sight and its goning to be well worth the wait. Special thanks to Jonathan Pelletier for showing me some of the functionality.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2013 at 5:04pm
Good to hear about the demo at SnF.

One more piece of encouraging news - the FAA has officially pulled the program out of sequencing and we had an extensive meeting with them this past Monday with respect to planning the details of the FAA participation in the cert program.

I also happened to bump into one of the principal FAA test pilots who will be part of the MPSUE while on my XC and we got to do some good familiarization training on the real gear in the aircraft on Tuesday.

I'm sure it'll go slower than we all want but it's all coming together nicely.

When I get a few minutes, I'll type up some of the highlights of my 5 day XC trip with the gear.  Put about 29 flight hours on the gear during those 5 days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oskrypuch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2013 at 5:08pm
Very, very good to hear.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jperryfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2013 at 11:18pm
Hi Steve,
So the 440 should be ready about this time next year?  Any hopes for earlier than that?
I would be installing it in place of a 430w in an experimental would that get me an earlier date?
John 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2013 at 8:06am
Hi John,

For planning purposes, you should expect the IFD440 to come out 6 months after the IFD540.  But, yes, there is some reason to hope that it will be faster.  We already have the hardware and the software is virtually identical to the IFD540 and the FAA is aware of both.

That being said, I'm afraid that it'll be done when it's done and that having an Experimental category airplane won't help speed up delivery for you.  Frustrating I'm sure, but it's our reality.

Steve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wsh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2013 at 4:47pm
what is the schedule for the 540?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2013 at 5:42pm
Not clear.  Here's what I do know:

1.  FAA has officially cleared the way to work the program;
2.  We have scheduled FAA fam flights for week of 29 April;
3.  We are working toward a week of 20 May FAA Human Factors review - we're ready, just waiting on the FAA to coordinate the schedules of all their participants;
4.  Our development team will be done by June or July.

From there, there are too many variables to declare a release date - clarity will be much more likely as #4 approaches.   The team here can't be working any harder on this project than we are and we are extremely motivated to get it done as soon as feasible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wsh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2013 at 6:29pm
Tx

may we conclude august at the earliest?

P.s. we definitely appreciate all the hard work and opennes. We just want to understand where we are approximately

Edited by wsh - 16 Apr 2013 at 6:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2013 at 6:58pm
Yes, I think August is the earliest based the June/July completion by the development team.  It *may* not be much later than that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tony Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Apr 2013 at 8:15pm

Steve, I'm not sure I share your optimism but it doesn’t matter;  it’s going to be what it’s going to be and its out of our control.  I know how its ilmost impossible to predict how long the FAA will take.  What I would be interested in hearing is the feedback from the “pilot program”.  Let’s call it a quick look from a customer’s point of view.  Would that be possible?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Victor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2013 at 5:26am
Wouldn't it be fantastic if the release date was announced in time for Oshkosh.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2013 at 7:28am
Tony,

Yes, I'll publish results of the Pilot Program but we won't start that until we have a certified product.  We anticipate the Pilot Program to run between 3 and 6 weeks after we receive certification.

Victor,

Yes, that would be fantastic to have cert by Oshkosh and while there is some chance of that happening, it does not look likely based on the various back-and-forth tasks that have to be accomplished once the development team is done.  I expect that at Oshkosh, assuming we do not have cert, we'll have a much better idea on when it may be (perhaps that's what you were suggesting).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wsh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2013 at 4:48am
Hi

@Aero Friedrichshafen people apparently were told that delivery is now expected for december??

I may hope, especially now that you are out of sequencing and the FAA is ack from the furloughs, that we may expect that it rather be july/august?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MysticCobra Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2013 at 7:50am
I don't think "the FAA is back from the furloughs".  FAA flight controllers are back from furloughs, but it's not clear to me where the money came from.  I've seen some reports that it came from other FAA projects like airport improvements.  There could still be sequester impacts to non-flight control FAA functions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chflyer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2013 at 8:17am
Steve's note above indicates to me that first customer deliveries (outside of the pilot program) could be expected in Q4. Anything earlier would be wishful thinking.

Earliest possible certification August plus pilot program brings us to mid-end September. I expect customer deliveries will be in the sequence of pre-order, and not all will be filled on day 1. Avidyne won't likely start mass production until the end of the pilot program to ensure any easy fixes are included in the first shipments.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phkmn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2013 at 4:53pm
"2.  We have scheduled FAA fam flights for week of 29 April;"

So... is this happening as planned?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2013 at 7:18pm
This serves me right for spending all day flying the IFD540 - come back and there are a bunch of questions posted......

The FAA did indeed stop the furloughing of some employees but that was only the Air Traffic Controllers.  The guys who do aircraft and avionics certifications (i.e. the crew we deal with) are still affected by the sequester-induced furloughs.  They are forced to take one day every two weeks off without pay.   It is having some, but so far not too much impact on what we're seeing.

Yes, we are still flying with the FAA this week for their first look/fam flights.  I'm specifically flying with two of the guys on Thursday and they are expecting about a 2 hour (120 min) sortie.  We're ready.  They have also gotten their evaluation pilots all signed up for the week of 27 May for the official evaluations.  They are being very creative in funding that effort - I don't ask questions on how they are pulling that off.....just really happy they are.

The development team does remain on track to complete all development in June or July.  We have a very specific punch list of remaining items and it gets smaller every day.  Nothing on the remaining list looks like it has any meaningful likelihood or potential to result in a miss of that June/July milestone.

Aside from the May FAA evals, we are still in negotiation with how much of the other cert tasks they will delegate to us.  The results of those negotiations will directly affect the duration of the cert end-game.

And yes, as soon as TSO/STC is issued by the FAA, we absolutely still plan to run that pilot program to ensure we don't have (or quickly eliminate) any introduction-to-service types of issues.  I still expect the duration to be at least 3-4 weeks long and may be longer depending on the intensity of the flying during the pilot program and if any issues pop up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oskrypuch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 2013 at 8:47pm
Very good, keep it rollling.

* Orest

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AviJake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2013 at 4:47pm
(IFD540 Status Update - 2 May 2013):

Flew the IFD540 with FAA today.  I would characterize the flight as going well to very well.   This was the first real familiarization the FAA has had with the unit and they did a comprehensive evaluation of the system using our test 182 equipped with dual IFD540s.   While all aspects of the system were looked at, the emphasis was on touch screen operations.  To be clear, this was not a for-credit evaluation of the system by the FAA, it was just a fam flight and a dry running of the MPSUE profile they will fly later this month.  That being said, they did identify two specific areas that likely would produce a cert problem.  I think they were right and we will address both issues prior to the official MPSUE later this month.

One other side note - the FAA cert group that we work with were informed that they too are no longer on furloughs as of this week so that should help with keeping the ball rolling on IFD540 cert.
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