FAA Clears Path for AOA Installation in GA Aircraft
February 5, 2014
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  • The FAA has simplified the design approval requirements for angle of attack (AOA) indicator in general aviation aircraft.

    Under the new policy, manufacturers must build AOA indicator systems according to standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM) and apply for FAA approval for the design via a letter certifying that the equipment meets ATSM standards and was produced under required quality systems. The FAA’s Chicago Aircraft Certification Office will process all applications to ensure consistent interpretation of the policy, FAA officials said.

    “We have eliminated major barriers so pilots can add another valuable cockpit aid for safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “These indicators provide precise information to the pilot, and could help many avoid needless accidents.”

    AOA devices supplement airspeed indicators and stall warning systems, alerting pilots of a low airspeed condition before a dangerous aerodynamic stall occurs, especially during takeoff and landing.

    AOA indicators may help prevent loss of control in small aircraft because they provide a more reliable indication of airflow over the wing, FAA officials noted. Although they have been available for some time, the effort and cost associated with gaining installation approval has limited their use in general aviation. The streamlined requirements are expected to lead to greater use of the devices and increased safety in general aviation, FAA officials said.

    FAA officials added they believe this streamlined policy may serve as a prototype for production approval and installation of other add-on aircraft systems in the future.