Garmin GTR 200 vs ICOM IC A220

Discussion in 'Electrical & Instrumentation' started by DLAirway, Nov 1, 2018.

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  1. Nov 1, 2018 #1

    DLAirway

    DLAirway

    DLAirway

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    I see a number of you are really happy with the Garmin GTR 200. Does anyone have any experience with the ICOM IC A220?
     
  2. Nov 2, 2018 #2

    IanJ

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    I know that my avionics installer (Cannon Avionics at KAWO) was pretty unhappy with the A210. Apparently the install/remove procedure to get the radio out of the panel involves removing the faceplate and exercising some very weak and likely-to-break connector between the two. I asked him about the A220, and he was emphatic that the Garmin GTR225 was a better choice (and is what I ended up with, since the Champ requires* a certified radio), though he hadn't seen an A220 to see if it has the same problem as the A210. Not the direct experience you're looking for, I realize, but perhaps a useful bit of bias on his part. ;)

    I quite like my GTR225, and would recommend it. It replaced my old radio and intercom. I'm not using the GPS feature, where it will suggest local frequencies (requires database updates if you want to use it).

    * I've seen some debate on whether you need to install a TSO'd radio in a certified VFR plane, and a call to the FSDO didn't really clear it up for me.
     
  3. Nov 2, 2018 #3

    TFF1

    TFF1

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    If it has the face like the A210 that detaches, stay away. The ribbon cable that attaches it is not suppose to be disconnected and it has no connectors on the ribbon, just ribbon into connection. If it comes loose 50/50 the radio will work when you put it together. I don't know if they are the same face or not. Garmin are better, but cost if you need repair down the road.
     
  4. Nov 3, 2018 #4

    PittsDriver68

    PittsDriver68

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    On the topic of of needing a TSO-ed radio in an airplane operated under part 91... If that were true, all of the airplanes with King KX-170B's installed would have been illegal. To operate under Part 135 those folks would have had to upgrade to a King KX-175, which was essentially the same radio TSO-ed and slid into the same tray.

    Typically a FSDO has only one inspector that covers radio and other electrical systems and likely that guy is only trained for, and cares about, Part 135 and 121 stuff. So asking the question to anyone who answers the phone at the FSDO is a crapshoot. That inspector will likely assume that someday your airplane will be on a Part 135 certificate so the best advice is to go with a TSO-ed box. Which is to say that the inspector will likely have no idea what your airplane is....

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
  5. Nov 3, 2018 #5

    taildraggerpilot

    taildraggerpilot

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    I installed a GTR-200 in an S2A last year. When I called the FSDO about using a non-TSO radio he asked about the make and model of the airplane. I said a Pitts S2A; his response was “Is that a pressurized airplane?” (true story). He was the avionics inspector.

    He ultimately couldn’t answer my questions regarding this radio install and whether it was a minor alteration. He added another inspector on the call who started telling me the radio needed to be TSO’d. I responded with “I thought a radio only needed to be built to TSO standards, but not TSO certified (which the GTR-200 is). He then agreed with me and I installed the radio with a logbook entry.
     
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  6. Nov 3, 2018 #6

    TFF1

    TFF1

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    At work the FAA let us replace the second radio with a non TSOed radio. Hence working with the A210. They would not sign a 337 if the non TSOed was the only type. With FSDOs if you get them to sign it, run with it.
     
  7. Nov 3, 2018 #7

    Yankandbank

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    How did the GTR-200 hold up in the S2A? They still like it?
     
  8. Nov 3, 2018 #8

    taildraggerpilot

    taildraggerpilot

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    It’s working great and the owner is really happy with it. The intercom works amazingly well in the high noise environment.
     
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  9. Nov 4, 2018 #9

    Yankandbank

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    Thanks, I’ve heard a bunch of crop dusters like them too. I was worried about the high noise and built in intercom.
     
  10. Nov 4, 2018 #10

    NDTOO

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    I've flown four summers now with the GTR-200 in my Starduster and am very pleased with it. I flew formation a few times this summer with a couple friends and they said communication was always very good. Intercom has been excellent as well. I have never used an A220 so can't compare.
     
  11. Nov 5, 2018 #11

    Pietdriver

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    We went through hell and back with the I-Coms over that ribbon cable, they need to be changed almost every time. The cables are cheap, like a $1 or something. The Garmin is great but anyone here using the MGL V-6? Cheaper, lighter, great performance.
     
  12. Nov 5, 2018 #12

    Cameron

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    I’ve got a V6. It works fine but if I had to do it over again I’d get the GTR200.
     
  13. Nov 5, 2018 #13

    cashflyer

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    I used a FL-760 radio in my Skybolt and was quite happy with it. It was easy to wire, works on 12 or 24vdc, has a built-in intercom, and fits in a 2.5" round hole (2.284").

    As for TSO stuff, there is a lot of info out there but none of it seems to be in one place. And a lot of the info is opinion and discussion. I found nothing from the FAA that constitutes a definitive ruling.

    Below is an email that I sent to one of my customers who wanted to use a non-TSO radio in his Stearman. The material was gathered from several resources (some you can google for yourself), and you're welcome to offer corrections if you feel I am wrong on anything. Hell, I encourage further discussion of the topic!


    Mr. Pilot,

    Here is some material I gathered from various resources, and my opinion.

    FAA Order 8900.1, Vol 4, Ch 14, Section 2, para 4-1378:
    GENERAL. Requirements for aircraft system and equipment are listed in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Subchapters F and G. The rules for aircraft and operators conducting operations under 14 CFR parts 91, 125, and 129, state that specified required systems or equipment must be Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved to meet applicable standards. The rules for aircraft and operators conducting operations under 14 CFR parts 121 and 135 state that all required instruments and equipment must be approved to meet applicable standards.


    The key point here is that for Part 91, only SPECIFIED systems need to meet applicable standards - while Part 121 and 135 requires that ALL equipment meet applicable standards.


    91.205 says: ...no person may operate a powered civil aircraft with a standard category U.S. airworthiness certificate in any operation described in paragraphs (b) through (f) of this section unless that aircraft contains the instruments and equipment specified in those paragraphs (or FAA-approved equivalents) for that type of operation ...

    So my opinion is that only the primary instruments listed in 91.205 need to be TSO'd, or have an STC, or a field approval.

    And even that is kind of debatable... keep reading.


    For what it's worth, Joe Norris at EAA says NOTHING in FAA regs says a radio needs to be TSO'd, or even "meet requirements of TSO'd", so long as it is legal per FCC to operate as an aviation radio (ie, correct frequency spacing), then it's legal to install in any aircraft, even certificated aircraft.


    You probably don't even need a 337 for many installations. A 337 form addresses the installation process, NOT the radio itself, and are only needed IF the installation involves a "major structural change" OR "an appreciable effect on the certificated weight or balance".

    Another thing to consider is electrical loading. FAA likes to see electrical loading calculations when adding equipment, and they could possibly say that you are altering the electrical system (337) - but your plane has a defective radio that you are replacing, so I don't think this applies.


    Now keep in mind that this discussion is only for Part 91 VFR operations.
    And keep in mind that there are a few specific items that MUST meet or have a TSO per Part 91... such as:

    -Transponders
    -Altitude Encoders
    -ADS products (coming to an airspace near you soon)
    -IFR en-route devices (RNAV/GPS)
    -Flight recorders.


    From what I can gather in reading some internet discussions, part of the problem that creates confusion around whether items are approved or not is FAR 3. FAR 3 regulates the way products are advertised, and states, "When conveying information related to an advertisement or sales transaction, no person may make, or cause to be made, a material representation that a type-certificated product is airworthy, or that a product, part, appliance, or material is acceptable for installation on a type-certificated product in any record if that representation is likely to mislead a consumer acting reasonably under the circumstances."

    In other words, if the item does not have a TSO or PMA, then they can not say that it is legal for installation. They have to leave that up to the installer to determine. Instead they may call it "experimental" or they call it "non-TSOd". In reality, if you read the regulations about parts and appliances, there is no such thing as an "experimental" part or "experimental" radio. There is only approved or unapproved. And unapproved does NOT mean unacceptable. It means that the FAA did not sprinkle their holy water on it and issue paper. The part may be perfectly acceptable and FAR 43 gives the A&P the authority to determine if many items are suitable for installation.


    Here is another thing to keep in mind. Some people mention meeting Part 23 regulations. Well... your plane is NOT a Part 23 airplane. It is a CAR 3 airplane. It never had to meet any Part 23 regulation.

    Example: My Cessna 182 was certificated under CFR-3 as TCDS 3A13. The airplane was equipped with basic instruments (altimeter, airspeed, VSI, etc) that were NOT TSO’d. The TSO or PMA standard and requirement for certified aircraft did not even exist at the time.

    CAR § 3.652 Functional and Installational requirements. Each item of equipment which is essential to the safe operation of the airplane shall be found by the Administrator to perform adequately the functions for which it is to be used, shall function properly when installed, and shall be adequately labeled as to its identification, function, operational limitations, or any combination of these, whichever is applicable. Items of equipment for which type certification is required shall have been certificated in accordance with the provisions of Part 15 of this chapter (or previous regulations) and such other parts as may be applicable.


    Two phrases stand out to me: 'Each item of equipment which is essential to the safe operation of the airplane' and 'Items of equipment for which type certification is required'.

    A radio does not fall into either of those descriptions. I.e., a radio is not needed for the safe operation of the aircraft and radios do not require a type certificate nor are they required for your plane to have a type certificate.

    In summary - I feel that if you want to install a FL-760 radio in your CAR 3 airplane, there is no reason not to. Since your airplane has a radio that is being replaced, just log the change in the your logbook and truck on.


    It you really think you may need a field approval, a reference to look at is FAA Order 8300.16, which discusses Field Approvals and Forms 337.
    https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/8300_16_CHG_1.pdf

    There is also some Field Approval guidance in FAA Order 8900.1, Vol 4, Chapter 9.


    Regards,

    Your friendly A&P guy.
     
  14. Nov 5, 2018 #14

    IanJ

    IanJ

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    Now I wish I'd installed an MGL V6 into my champ. :D
     

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