Avionics News April 2015 - 66

GROUND-PLANE ISSUES
Continued from page 64

late one by embedding a metal mesh. In these cases,
most antennas require a metal grounding plate to work
against. Remember, it's critical for the ground-plane
to be large by comparison with the radio wavelength.
Cobham Avionics & Surveillance recommends a minimum of 2 feet by 2 feet for VHF antenna installations.
As I mentioned at the start, this topic has come
up repeatedly as I've talked to avionics manufacturers. When I asked William Tramper of L-3 Aviation
Products about topics that cause problems, he said,
"Ground-planes - making sure that when you install
an antenna, ground-plane is proper size and properly
bonded. With metal airplanes, that wasn't a huge issue.
But in composites, you have to install a ground-plane."
Similarly, Avidyne's Aaron Hall said, "If there's any
question about where to install antennas or establish

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ground-plane on composite airplanes, call us. We typically recommend copper-tin tape rather than a large
piece of metal, and ground antennas back to the processor. If a shop encounters a composite aircraft for the
first time, call us."
And Garmin's Bill Stone added, "Any antenna system works better with a ground-plane, which is an
issue on composite airplanes. It can be as simple as
copper foil tape. People tend to skip that step and can
get the system to work, but with suboptimal performance. Rag and tube airplanes have the same issues."
One point that came through clearly in my research
is that the details of ground-plane installation are
important - and vary from one installation to the next.
It's essential that avionics installers follow manufacturer instructions. With composite airplanes becoming
more common, and sensitive digital avionics, such as
ADS-B, requiring new antennas, this is going to be an
issue for some time to come. q


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Avionics News April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News April 2015

Avionics News April 2015 - Intro
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover1
Avionics News April 2015 - Cover2
Avionics News April 2015 - 1
Avionics News April 2015 - 2
Avionics News April 2015 - 3
Avionics News April 2015 - 4
Avionics News April 2015 - 5
Avionics News April 2015 - 6
Avionics News April 2015 - 7
Avionics News April 2015 - 8
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Avionics News April 2015 - Cover3
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