Saturday, July 7, 2018

Technically Advanced Airplanes (Aircraft)

I need some help from all of you. I've just implemented support for "TAA" ("Technically Advanced Airplanes") in anticipation of the new rules regarding commercial training that take effect in August. I'm building off of the existing "glass" definition, which can be defined either in the model (e.g., a Boeing 787 is always glass, no example of a 787 has ever had steam gauges), or at the individual aircraft level (e.g., a C-172S may have come from the factory with glass or with steam gauges, even though almost nobody ever got steam, or a specific aircraft may have been upgraded).

While "glass" to my knowledge has never been formally defined (except perhaps to mean "no six-pack"), the new 61.129(j) does define it. Specifically, to be TAA, you must have:
  1. A continuously visible PFD
  2. A continuously visible MFD with moving map that shows the aircraft's position, and
  3. An integrated autopilot that is capable of 2-axis control
(I suppose the FAA also uses "Airplane" for the second "A" of "TAA", not "Aircraft", so perhaps it must also be an airplane? For now I'm going to allow it to apply to any aircraft...)

The way I see this, I'm mapping the existing "Glass" definition to any aircraft with a PFD, such as the Piper Cub in which I did my seaplane rating (i.e., "a" above); aircraft that meet the tighter definition (i.e., including (b) and (c) above) need to be flagged as such, ideally at the model level, but only if it's impossible to get the model in other than the TAA configuration. So again, a B787 is always TAA, and I *think* a Cirrus SR-22 is also TAA, but I'm not sure if a first-generation SR-20 would be (because I don't know if the autopilot was standard).

So if you can help me by updating any models that can only ever be TAA - per the definition above - that will help a lot, because when the model is so defined, all of its aircraft come along for the ride. (I've already mapped all jets that are glass-only because I can't imagine they had a PFD but no MFD/autopilot. But, say, Cessna Caravans? I've seen them without autopilots...)

And if you have an aircraft where TAA was either a factory option or something you did after market, then please leave the model alone but go ahead and update your aircraft to indicate that it is TAA. Note that if you did an upgrade after-market, you can also add the date of the upgrade and the system will treat flights in that aircraft as being TAA after that date and non-TAA before that date.

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