tailBeacon Install

Items I needed that are not included in the tailBeacon box:

  • 2 x #4 hex nuts (nyloc good)
  • mail/female crimp connectors to allow a removable connection to the 12V power wire.
  • 3D printed spacer to allow the tailBeacon to mount to the Grimes mounting plate with enough clearance to clear the tail cone metal work.
  • Printouts of documents from https://uavionix.com/support/tailbeacon/
  • A friendly IA to approve return to service!

Tools used:

  • Rotary file for power tool.
  • Various files for cleaning the hole you need to widen.
  • Wire cutters & crimping tool.
  • Screwdrivers, etc.

1) After removing the Grimes light holder (two screws), you can see that the Grimes light mounting plate hole aperture is too small for the body of the tailBeacon to pass through. So we have to widen that central hole to 29mm.

2) Marked out a 29mm hole around the existing hole.

3) Widening out the hole with a rotary file:

4) Hole now widened to the correct aperture, cleaned up, and two new bolt holes added at the 12 and 6 O'Clock positions for the wider spaced bolt holes for the tailBeacon adaptor:

5) Now I have to wait to get a 3D printed plastic spacer before I can bolt it all together. Will update once I have that.

6) 3D printed plastic spacer for use until the metal 'official' spacer is available. Works very well!

7) Insert bolts through the supplied tailBeacon adaptor, and through the holes in the spacer.

8) I put the supplied bolts through the adaptor, through the spacer and the holes my IA drilled into the Grimes mounting plate in the tail cone. Then I was able to reach through the open end of the tail cone, and hold nuts onto the bolts while screwing the bolt until tight.

9) After the bolts are snugged down, you can install the tailBeacon with a twist, and tighten the two included allen head screws into the side. Complete!

10) Test! I tested the connectivity (with a multimeter) from the metal adaptor to the aluminium of the tail cone and found a good connection. I elected not to use the grounding strap from the tailBeacon. uAvionix state that you do not have to use it, and I did not.

11) And... Reinstall the tail cone to your flying machine, put the supplied placard near your Nav Light switch, and add the pages specified in the STC to your POH. Now your friendly IA can sign off the log book entry and 337, and you can fly the certification flight. The only non obvious part of the software config was that I had to search my FAA tail number registry entry on the FAA website to get my 6 digit transponder hex code.

12) Fly with your device. I flew at a constant altitude in controlled airspace, talking to ATC with flight following. I flew two 15 minute legs, without abrupt maneuvers. After landing, visit: https://adsbperformance.faa.gov/paprrequest.aspx Enter your details, and request the report. If you see no red entries on the report (it will be emailed to you within 30 minutes or so), you are good to go. If you see red entries, that indicates problems with your transmissions. Fixing that is beyond the scope of this guide, sorry.

If you are confused as to how we can install the tailBeacon TSO on an Ercoupe, the answer lies on the uAvionix website. uAvionix have an AML STC for the C172. To quote: "Under FAA Memo titled “Installation Approval for ADS-B OUT Systems,” the FAA explains that after an STC is achieved for ADS-B OUT equipment, additional installations can be accomplished on aircraft not listed under the AML STC by an A&P with Inspection Authorization (IA) so long as the installation does not require airframe modification. This process requires completion of a two page FAA form known as a 337. We are providing a mostly complete sample tailBeacon Form 337 here. Once the form is completed your installer will mail it into the FAA office in Oklahoma City. The process is normal for many ADS-B installations and your installer is likely familiar with the process. If your installer has questions please ask them to contact us."

James Good