On February 18, uAvionix introduced a new ADS-B transponder–the tailBeaconX–to its general aviation and urban air mobility product lineup. The tailBeaconX is a LED rear position-light replacement incorporating a 1090MHz Mode S (ES) ADS-B Out transponder, satellite based augmentation system (SBAS), global positioning system (GPS) position source, and dipole antenna. Like the earlier the skyBeacon and tailBeacon, the tailBeaconX’s installation takes advantage of existing aircraft lighting locations for mounting and access to aircraft power. The new tailBeaconX is also intended to address global air traffic surveillance system requirements for both current and future ADS-B mandates.
The company said in a news release that tailBeaconX is the first transponder to be specifically evaluated by Aireon and Nav Canada, and that early tests show promise toward meeting performance requirements for ATC-quality surveillance data for general aviation aircraft. “A solution like tailBeaconX will expand the proven safety and operational benefits of ADS-B through a space-based service to the general aviation community,” said Cyriel Kronenburg, vice president of aviation services for Aireon. “We’re pleased to collaborate on these types of innovative avionics solutions with uAvionix as various global ADS-B mandates take effect in the coming months and years.” Aireon’s space-based ADS-B ATC system went live last spring.
Another aspect of tailBeaconX is the transponder control compatibility with the company’s AV-20-E and AV-30-E EFIS technology retrofits that maximize cockpit panel real estate and include additional functionality such as attitude indicator (AI), directional gyro (DG), angle of attack (AoA), bus voltage, and others.
The unit is the first commercially available avionics solution developed around the needs of urban air mobility (UAM). Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, powered by batteries and alternative fuels, require radically different solutions than those that exist today. The tailBeaconX weighs only 90 grams, takes no critical volume from an internal avionics bay, incorporates its own antennas, and draws only 3 watts of power. This results in longer flight times and higher payload capacity for the next generation of airborne mobility.
TSO/STC approval for tailBeaconX is expected in Q2 2020. The AV-30-C (C is for “certified”) EFIS with transponder control functionality is planned for supplemental type certification in the same timeframe. Additionally, a skyBeaconX model for wingtip installation is scheduled for introduction in mid-2020.