Tailbeacon opinions

Discussion in 'Maintenance Bay' started by Huckster79, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    I'm just about ready to get a tail beacon in the ol Cessna 140...

    My friend just had a bunch of fancy stuff put in his 150 and I talked to his avionics guy about it. He would do my Transponder Recert but not the tailbeacon, but my local a&p would once transponder is re-certified... My buddy told me later his avionics guys told him he didn't like them that he'd heard of too many problems...

    I guess I've not. What is the grapevine on reliability and such? I don't want to buy one just to find out its known junk and I was ignorant of that...

    I searched the topic, If I missed an existing thread directly on that-sorry...
     
  2. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I can't comment on reliability of the tailbeacon, but does the "transponder recert" (91.413) actually even apply to it? I was under the impression that it did not
     
  3. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm guessing you're referring to the certified version and the tailBeacon in particular. I installed the experimental version of the uAvionix EchoUAT unit. I know a few pilots that used the wing tip and others using tailBeacons. No reported concerns from anyone.

    On the EchoUAT ... it was easy to install and the set up for the software uses a smart phone app. Been working like a charm.
     
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  4. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    The problem with the beacon is that you still probably have an aged transponder. I put an Appareo ESG transponder in my Cessna 140. It gives me a new technology transponder, pad IN as well as AHRS data for the pad. It’s wonderful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2021
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  5. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    I considered that... I know it’s awful but I don’t want modern looking of a setup... I figure 76a’s will be eBay-able for years...
     
  6. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    They are reliant on the existing transponder and mines due for a recert and new alt encoder...
     
  7. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    now ya got me thinking... mypilotstore has the a and p kit with the 3i receiver for $3200 and $200 back for my old transponder! So for 3k plus install I’d be all new... hmmmm...
     
  8. rotormatic1

    rotormatic1 Pre-Flight

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    Why does the tailbeacon needs recertification? It does not contain a transponder.
     
  9. Chilito

    Chilito Pre-Flight

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    I've had mine since 10/19 and has been running without issue, including the recent firmware update. It's paired with an old KT76A which will get switched out eventually but so far no problems. Install was one hour.
     
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  10. Narwhal

    Narwhal Pre-Flight

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    Ours has worked great on an ancient 182B for a few years so far. 1 hour of labor for the on-field dealer to install them.

    Our avionics shop also tried to dissuade us from buying one. I speculate it's because they'd rather sell you on a $5000+ Garmin solution instead.

    Also, if you get one installed, they will probably have to run a new ground wire; odds are the original nav light was case-grounded, which the tailbeacon doesn't support. Still, only took an hour of labor for the installer to do that for us.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
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  11. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    If you’re on a razor thin flying budget as I get onto sometimes, the Tailbeacon is a cheap way to have compliance. More and more people are flying with IN so even if you don’t fly in Bravo or Charley, being seen by others is not a bad thing unless of course you’re doing something bad and afraid of getting caught.
     
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  12. manac

    manac Pre-Flight

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    I put a tailbeacon in my 120 back in 19.
    Very happy with it. It’s a good solution for the plane.
    Had the transponder rectified and the shop said it was working well an would work well with the tailbeacon. I tossed the tailbeacon in and my IA signed it off.
    When my Narco dies I’ll deal with it.
     
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  13. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Tailbeacon + ancient KT76 (not 76A).
    No issues since install in December 2019 - checking PAPRs regularly.

    I'll deal with the transponder when its time is up.
     
  14. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Line Up and Wait

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    I signed off a Tailbeacon for a Bushby Mustang II...it worked fine...passed the PAPR first try. I think the transponder was a KT76A. There are plenty of used transponders on ebay for an easy slide in replacement if yours dies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
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  15. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-Flight

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    I have a tail beacon and a Narco 150. The transponder works, so why replace it? There are bunch out there that people have taken out, I'll buy another one and slide it in the rack when this one dies. I don't need, or want a $5000 transponder.
     
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  16. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    OP, I've heard stories similar to yours, but my installation and use has been pretty good. I was one of the first people in my area to get one, (skybeacon, actually, which works just like the tailbeacon with a different mounting location) and the only problem we had was that it was my A&Ps first install, so there was some learning process to get it to work properly. But now that it's working, it works great with my 76a.
     
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  17. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    I’ve got one in my ‘68 Cherokee 140.
    No problems. It’s paired to a Narco AT-150.
    I did have to replace an AT-50 with an AT-150, as it was very slow to come alive.

    There were numerous early reports of problems, but afaik, they were all transponder problems.
     
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  18. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    As others have mentioned, the problems seem to mainly stem from problematic transponders rather than the tail beacon itself. I had trouble with one installation but things were resolved by making setting adjustments to the tail beacon.

    The main clientele of the uAvionix ADS-B compliance products in my area are the guys on a shoestring budget. If my area is even close to representative of the rest of the country it is no surprise that there are reports of problems, none of which should really be attributed to the uAvionix product itself.
     
  19. Domenick

    Domenick Line Up and Wait

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    I've had a tailBeacon for about a year, and it has been working perfectly with an old Narco AT150 transponder. If I were to ADS-B Out equip now, I'd likely go with the uAvionix's tailBeacon-X.
     
  20. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

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    We have a couple tail bacons on our rentals. They work. I personally would prefer a nice adsb out/in that puts traffic on my gps/ipad. But I don’t get my money for nothing and chicks for free.
     
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  21. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    The tailbeacon doesn't, but my 76a is due...
     
  22. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    +1 on the tailbacon. I have one and my transponder is a GTX327.

    Does its job of ratting me out to the sky police just fine.
     
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  23. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My TailBeacon is in over 1 year and , coupled to my KT76A, no issues whatsoever. I have not done the firmware update yet.
     
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  24. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    I think I’m going Appereo route... here’s my thinking...

    tailbeacon with new encoder and transponder recert $3k, tethered to 45 yr old transponder. Adsb out only still need my stratus 2 for in on the dash.

    Appereo Stratus ESG with stratus 3i A&P bundle ($3250) looks like around $4200 net after Appereos $200 rebate for my old transponder and selling my stratus for the dash, then plus the install- the kit has the wiring, gps antenna, etc... For $1200 I get new equipment with a 5 yr warranty and the stratus 3i wirelessly connects with the esg and uses its antennas so no need of line of site and it comes with a bracket to be mounted behind the panel and charger chord that goes to the transponder- so no more charging the stratus, remembering the stratus and cockpit clutter. If I own my plane 10 years that’s $100 a year more for a lot more features in my mind.

    just seems like a wiser route... for me
     
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  25. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    F487C74A-9B6C-4836-B8FC-86FCA910D5CD.jpeg

    My Cessna 140 panel. If it works out, I plan on replacing the top COM with a GNC-420.

    I hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine. You realized all the advantages before buying. I didn’t appreciate the neatness of this arrangement until after it was installed and I flew with it. Do you have an EFB plan that gives you synthetic vision? If so, you will have an HSI on your pad that is quite nice to have as part of the mix.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  26. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    mid that a 150 panel in yours?

    mines still original

    C940E951-F7CE-4FD7-A027-2CA90FFEE9D5.jpeg

    I do use FF so anxious for traffic and alWx I’m not sure what I’d use HSI for with my flying. Synthetic I guess could add some safety to vfr night flight?
     
  27. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    I've had mine for a year or so, and I've installed a few. Stupid easy install and no issues once you get it setup right. UAvionix is great to deal with.
     
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  28. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Now THERE is a 140 panel! Looks great!

    Mine is not a 150 panel. It was built from scratch when the plane was restored and modified in 1980. It is a really special and wonderful plane, but was a flop at the Cessna 120-140 nationals. In the 120-140 circles they see this modified plane as an abomination. It is sort of like driving a hot rod Model A to a Model A club meeting.

    The AHRS is not the best part of synthetic vision, but is a nice thing to have in the plane. The traffic and in flight weather rocks though.
     
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  29. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks, she’s been a flying restoration since I got her... not doing the rip her apart n put her back together thing but just do a bit at a time n keep flying. I did the panel last summer- it was fun- found someone to remake the acrylic piece with the labels n all that for me that was pretty cool. It’s been fun.

    yea that’s the fanciest 140 I’ve ever seen on urs! Hey if you love it that’s all that matters but yea I can see how she didn’t fit in at nationals . Oh well :)
     
  30. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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  31. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Pattern Altitude

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    smart move huckster. I don't see any savings by keeping an old cavity tube transponder when putting in the ADSB. the EGS or the 335 are only 1K more than just the tailbeacon. the savings get eaten up quick when that old transponder quits and you get the 50 unit from ebay,with no idea how long the 50 year old unit will keep working) a couple of hundred to have the certifications done when you slide it in. (yes, changing the transponder requires a new 91.411 and 91.413 check). I went through the same mental game on my warrior, luckily for me the decision was made when the old at-50 died a couple of weeks before I made the upgrade. now it has a garmin 335 in it, the tough choice was between the garmin and the EGS.
     
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  32. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just recently installed the wingtip certified version in my C-150. It works great, OKC approach says it's doing what it's supposed to do. The strobe part does put a tiny bit of noise in the radio though when it flashes. But you really have to listen for it.
     
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  33. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    the 3i IN was what put me over the edge for the Appereo. Idk if it’s brand new or I missed it when I was window shopping a while back...
     
  34. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    The 3i has been part of the Appareo offering for several years now.
     
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  35. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    i missed it somehow then when i was kicking the idea around a year or so, lol.... ingenious concept...not quite a wheel re invention but just it so much more convenient to use.
     
  36. BoButt

    BoButt Filing Flight Plan

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    We put the Tail Beacon in the 1956 - 172. I had installed several for customers. The biggest issue was/is the #4 screws when many tail lights have #6. When the AT50 dies, will try to find a 327 to replace it.
     
  37. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Earlier I noted that my experimental uses an Echo UAT unit for ADSB. My transponder is a Garmin 320A. For certified aircraft here is a combo for sale with a Garmin 327 (used), a Garmin GDL82, and the antenna/hardware items for less than $2400.00. Obviously that doesn't include installation:

    https://sarasotaavionics.com/avionics/gdl82-gtx327-package
     
  38. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Isn’t a GDL 82 OUT only?
     
  39. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes
     
  40. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    I installed the Skybeacon. I needed to 3d print an adapter for my Cardinal and the A&PIA gave me some butt connectors and told me to take pictures when I was done. He did the paperwork and charged me $100. It works great. I never had an issue but had to add turn on Nav lights to checklist. I had a Rasberry Pi ADSB in but sold it. Now for ADSB in, I have a direct to tablet SDR and remote GPS with bluetooth.
     
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