The FAA has proposed an Airworthiness Directive for Eclipse EA500 jets, which would require incorporating changes to the electronic flight information system and the airplane flight manuals. This proposed AD results from reports of uncommanded changes to the communications radio frequency, altitude preselect, and/or transponder codes. “We are proposing this AD to correct faulty integration of hardware and software, which could result in unannunciated, uncommanded changes in communications radio frequency, transponder codes, and altitude preselect settings,” FAA officials said. “These uncommanded changes could result in loss of communication with air traffic control due to improper communications frequency, autopilot level off at the incorrect altitude, or air traffic control loss of proper tracking of the aircraft.”
The majority of reports consisted of uncommanded transponder code changes, while instances of uncommanded altitude preselect changes have also been noted. The uncommanded radio frequencies settings have only been reported during flight test, FAA officials said, noting the root cause was determined to be a software communication integration issue between the EFIS and associated hardware.
FAA officials estimate the proposed AD would affect 168 airplanes in the U.S. registry. Owners who must update their system 1.3 software are looking at estimated costs between $770 to $1,670. Owners who need to upgrade their AVIO NG 1.5 configuration are looking at estimated costs of $249,000.
The FAA is accepting comments on the proposal. Go to Regulations.gov, Docket No. is FAA-2010-0691; Directorate Identifier 2010-CE-027-AD.