Maintenance Matters

May 2012 Issue

Aircraft Antennas: Worth a Close Look

The most thankless system on the aircraft, neglected antennas create a host of problems. Upgrading could pay off with increased performance and styling.

Geeks to the core, we’ve always had an odd fascination with aircraft antennas. Maybe it’s our ham radio background or the fact that airborne antennas are a critical means of communicating, navigating and reporting our position to the ground. Truth is the average pilot rarely gives these critical antenna systems—fondly slanged “antlers” around the shop— a second thought. That’s until the avionics shop suggests a high-cost replacement option or they’ve deteriorated to the point of creating a system failure. Antenna work can be an expensive endeavor while fabric and composite aircraft could make the invoice even more shocking. Here’s an insider’s look at antenna maintenance, tips for upgrading ancient ones and some of the symptoms associated with deficient antennas.

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