Frequent KITPLANES contributor Dave Forster of Friendswood, Texas, is a multiple Homebuilder-offender with an F-1 Rocket and a Searey currently in his hangar. But, he wanted a strong IFR platform to use as an Angel Flight plane, so he bought a certified Bonanza Baron B58 within his budget. He soon learned that the old, steam-gauge-equipped Baron had avionics far inferior to his Rocket but updating the panel to match the Rocket's, or almost any RV-10's IFR capacity would run into six-figures. What to do?
Drawing on his homebuilder's ability to think out-of-the-box and his drive to persist, Dave approached Dynon and proposed a partnership to pioneer a very low-cost pathway towards installing "experimental" avionics into certified aircraft. Specifically, he wanted to install a three-screen, Dynon SkyView HDX. Dynon enthusiastically agreed.
Initially, the Baron was re-licensed as Experimental-Research and Development. The equipment was installed and Dave flew about 40 hours, enjoying the increased capacity. And, while there was almost no financial cost to re-license, the move came with other costs. He couldn't do Angel Flights, carry any passengers except "essential crew," or fly outside a limited area. In order to come to Oshkosh, the plane was again re-licensed as Experimental-Market Research, which allows the greater range but still prohibits non-essential passengers. Both Dave and Dynon believe they will soon have an STC for the installation at which time Dave's Baron will go back the being an every-day certified airplane carrying passengers and saving lives.
"The workload is day and night in IFR," says Forster. "I firmly believe that following this low-cost path to installing experimental units in certified aircraft will save people's lives and cost a lot less money." Forster will speak on his experiences in Workshop Classroom A starting at 8:30 am on a Thursday.