A day late (or try six months) and a dollar (or a coupla million) short

Better late than never…
The US FAA today published a list of specials conditions that will be needed to certify the glass panel upgrade in the Symphony Aircraft Industries SA160 single-engine two-seater before it can grace the American skies.

Only problem is, Symphony went out of business on January 19th, in large part, because it had been told by the FAA a few months before, when the company applied for the certification, that the regulator didn’t have the resources to get started on the project right away…and in fact, that it wouldn’t even know which projects would get priority for a few more months, according to Symphony’s largest investor, who asked not to be identified.
Symphony, based in Quebec, had put its eggs in one basket so to speak, and decided to risk the company by investing in a glass panel upgrade for its trainer as a way to differentiate the aircraft from other trainers in the US market, its biggest source for sales.

Ironically, the FAA organized its thoughts quicker than expected and actually started the Symphony panel certification project on January 18th.

Problem is, no one told Symphony’s largest investor. “I’m stunned,” he had said when I broke the news to him back in February. He commented that his financial partners would have been prepared to continue funding the aircraft, had he only have known.

It’ll be interesting to see if anyone offers comments on the special conditions, which are mostly related to high intensity radiated fields and their effect on the aircraft’s Entegra avionics suite built by Avidyne. Deadline is August 20.

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One Response to A day late (or try six months) and a dollar (or a coupla million) short

  1. Paul Hathaway 30 July, 2007 at 10:57 pm #

    Hello John,

    As someone who is still working on the 160 program I felt compelled to write and correct the record on a number of statements in the July 19th blog.

    A notice of HIRF special condition is a routine event for any certification project installing glass cockpit and/or electronic FADEC.

    This is because there is no FAR regulation to covers HIRF levels. Therefore the FAA issues a special condition to the applicant and publishes it for public comment.

    If you go back and search the Federal Register, you will see that every avionics manufacturer goes through the same boilerplate process.

    It is most certainly not specific to Avidyne or related to the Symphony 160 certification in any regard.

    The Entegra-equipped Symphony 160 did receive type certification and the primary creditor Lou Simons announced at Oshkosh his intent to restart production of the Entegra-equipped 160, if possible, which I sincerely doubt would be the case if Avidyne had caused programmatic delays at SAI that led to that corporation’s insolvency.

    I’d be happy to answer any other questions you might have,


    Paul Hathaway
    Director, Product Marketing
    Avidyne Corporation.

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