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Thursday, April 7, 2016

A New Day has Dawned in Aviation

General Aviation News Photo

“Getting this STC done has created the roadmap for us to continue on,” said Pelton, noting that other STCs may involve fuel systems, autopilots and more."  General Aviation News 

We have made great strides in replacing legacy fuel quantity indication in GA aircraft and Jack Pelton's comment above, indicates the importance of improved fuel quantity indication in the roadmap to improving the equipment on legacy GA Aircraft.    

Today's EAA STC news announcement opens up the literal Pandora's box of opportunity.

Actually our FAA TSO approval allows us to move even faster into getting universal approval for installing better fuel quantity systems in GA aircraft.  

The TSO approval insures that we have met both the new ASTM standard for Verification of Avionic Systems but also the RTCA DO-254 Design Assurance Guidance for Airborne Hardware as well as the DO-160 standard for surviving the external environmental conditions found on the wing of the aircraft 

This is a major step forward and was not anticipated after the Part 23 Rewrite NPRM.  

The new ASTM Standard makes it much easier to show compliance with organization, definition &  verification of our software.   

Utilizing a smart sensor was key to CiES obtaining the outstanding aviation fuel level sensing results.  

This quality indication is one that thousands of pilots rely on,  flying brand new Cirrus, Vulcanair, & Quest aircraft.  

Contact CiES as we are adding fuel quantity sensor configurations for thousands of single engine and twin aircraft. 

  • Cessna
  • Beechcraft 
  • Piper
  • Cirrus
  • Brittan-Norman
  • Fairchild 
  • Technam

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Aviation Fuel Level Indication - Customer Responses

Customer Responses

The cost to retrofit CiES senders to a pre-74 B55 is around $3200 (plus installation). That may seem "outrageous" but it's only about 50% more than what it costs to have the eight (2 per tank * 4 tanks) senders "overhauled" and my experience with overhauled senders is not very good. At best the OH senders will perform as good as when new for a few years which is to say they're accurate to within about +/- 5 gallons.
Properly calibrated the CiES senders appear to be within one gallon.  In a Bonanza with two 40 gallon tanks or a post 1973 Baron there are only four senders so that cost is cut in half. IIRC the last time I checked, new (1940s technology based) senders from Beech were around $1,600 each or over four times what CiES charges.

I'm having a hard time seeing anything "outrageous" with CIES pricing.


And one additional point about CIES senders. I have absolutely no doubt if any question or issue came up, Scott would be on the phone within the hour. (More likely in minutes.) Every interaction I have had with him and interactions I have seen others have with him have been very positive. 

Phone or email he's always been very helpful.


+1 on the CiES/ Scott Philiben Phan club. There's no better customer service than that provided by Scott. anywhere.

I'm still VERY happy with my CiES senders. You know, when something "just works", you take it for granted. I don't really give my CiES senders much thought. They're underappreciated little heros quietly doing their job. Perfectly. All the time.


"With over 10,000 units now flying, CiES has taken over the OEM fuel level sending field.   Our combination of outstanding quality,  reliability, and accuracy has made CiES the standard and the industry leader for fuel level indication on all aviation platforms, GA, Utility, Rotorcraft for both reciprocating and turbine engine applications 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Piper PA-31 Navajo Fuel Quantity Senders

Piper Navajo Fuel Quantity Senders  

We just completed a set of Piper Navajo senders for Mike Jones Aircraft.   

We replaced the old resistance sender design with the CiES Magnetic Field design .  Like a lot of well regarded aircraft, the Piper Navajo has not been supported by the factory for some time and the existing replacement senders either don't work or they have outlived their ability to be effectively re-worked along.
The CiES fuel level sender is built for the Navajo application, with a custom arms dedicated to each location on both the main and the auxiliary tanks.  Our non-contact fuel quantity measurement method insures that leakage can not happen through the sender body.  A modern digital sender component to compliment a modern digital cockpit interface, like a JPI or Aerospace Logic.

All of our sensor electronics are fully enclosed in the aluminum housing.  Unlike traditional failure prone senders - our senders have amassed an impressive record of 350,000 hrs of flight time without error or in service replacement.   

We will change your opinion of what float fuel senders are capable of - both from a precision and reliability standpoint.

Finally a fuel level sender specifically designed for the aviation market.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Vulcanair P68 Service Bulletin - Digital Fuel Level Digital Fuel Level

Vulcanair P68 Service Bulletin - 

The two new fuel senders are of magnetic field typology and their output is a digital square wave signal whose frequency changes according to the fuel level in the tank.

This new fuel sender uses one wire to interface the level indicator by which it transfers its output frequency to the indicator and a second wire to get a voltage supply, typically  the 28Vdc of the aircraft.

Vulcanair is the second OEM Aircraft manufacturer to utilize the CiES Digital Fuel quantity sender for installation on all of it's aircraft.   

Vulcanair is the first manufacturer to offer a retrofit Service Bulletin Kit to install the system on legacy Vulcanair and Partenavia Aircraft.  

"With over 10,000 units now flying, CiES has taken over the OEM fuel level sending field.   Our combination of outstanding quality,  reliability, and accuracy has made CiES the standard and the industry leader for fuel level indication on all aviation platforms, GA, Utility, Rotorcraft for both reciprocating and turbine engine applications 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cessna Pennycap Press Release - Flying Magazine May 1968

Cessna Pennycap

Copyright Flying Magazine May 1968
Curiosity got the best of us the other day, and somebody wondered if there was a similar example to a disruptive fuel level technology in General Aviation aircraft.   I indicated that there was a different system and it enjoyed a brief and limited success.  This system came out in the late 1960's and was featured on Cessna aircraft.

I went for a magazine search for press releases, curious to see what virtues would be given to a better fuel quantity system.

This system was produced by Consolidated Airborne Systems - which still operates out of a garage location in New York state.

The headline for the article was entitled 


"General aviation airplanes - those engineering marvels, this distillations of technical wisdom and aeronautical magic incarnate - use fuel measuring devices of the same arrangement that plumbed fuel quantity in automobiles since the Model A  float tipped rods that electrically drive instrument panel needles to positions approximating the volume of fuel left.  Many such devices are off by as much as 25 percent" Copyright Flying Magazine May 1968

Many mechanics swore at these systems, many are swearing at them still.  The never lived up to the billing as corrosion on these low cost systems quickly robbed them of any accuracy advantage.  If you remember - Penny was to indicate "low cost" and cap was to indicate "Capacitive"  i.e. Pennycap system by its marketing title was a low cost capacitive fuel system.

"For not much more than the cost of an annual, then you'll be able to have a fuel gauging system of honest go/no-go quality.  Can you hold in the soup for 45 minutes at your alternate, or should you declare an emergency and tell them to get you down?  Can you afford to try and get out of that mountain strip with half full tanks and your present baggage load, or are your tanks more like three-quarters full?  It can make a difference." Copyright Flying Magazine May 1968

What is old is now new again - as 48 years later for the price of an annual you can have a CiES fuel gauging system of honest go/no-go quality. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Customer Responses - CiES Non-Contact Fuel Level

Cessna 177

Hi Scott,Our senders have been working perfectly with the Aerospace Logic gauge since installation last August. Thank you for your outstanding support in helping us work through an unrelated ground wire issue in the plane.Gregg Ridder
Mine have worked flawlessly since installation, and the accuracy appears to be extremely good. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to quantify that accuracy. I sure wish other aviation vendors cared about their customers like you do. Jerry Olson, 76 C177RG
Hey Scott,
I presume you got the original frequency senders back by now? The new ‘voltage’ type senders are working fine with my old(er) JPI 930. I did calibrate them (again) when installing them, however, they fail to indicate the full 30.5 gal on each side on the 930 when ‘full’ (JPI’s display units do not show partial gallonage). Most times the 930 reads 29 each side when “full” (full is over 30.5 gallons each side, sometimes QUITE a bit more). However, when I fill up, I can tell you the amount put in + the 930 readout of what’s left is almost spot on, close enough to more closely calibrate my K factor in the 930 installation (it’s still off quite a bit). I also double check with my fuel dipstick. And I did level the plane while calibrating, even though the Cardinal cruises nose down, so calibration methods give differing results depending on nose strut extension, attitude, cross level, etc.
Any my 930 still shows the digital amount remaining.
So I’m happy. Much better than the OEM stuff and those original gauges.  And it will get better with more flights.
Too bad you can’t get JPI to include your senders when new fuel reading units are ordered.
Marc, 76 C177RG 

Everyone, Mine are installed (Bob Russell) and interface properly with the JPI 930.  Fuel readings seem to be extremely accurate.  I can read the remaining fuel from the JPI, and then stick the tanks for a comparison.  So far, readings are within .5 gal of what I measure.  Scott, excellent product.  Thanks for supporting CFO and members.Alan, C177RG

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Early Bonanza Fuel Quantity Senders

Early Beech Bonanza Fuel Senders

What are the steps we need to take to build fuel senders for your aircraft: 

  • Obtain a a set of old fuel level sensors from the aircraft we are considering (see the lower portion of the picture on the right).  If the IPC part numbers for the supplied senders match the aircraft they are on, we are good to go.
  • Ideally this aircraft should have a strong user base with an owner that demonstrates a willingness to embrace new technology with their pocketbook.
  • Discuss the compatibility with commonly installed MFD components or instruments.  We prefer instruments that accept digital input like Aerospace Logic, Garmin & JPI.
  • CiES  Fuel Level Senders now has the capability of driving even old analog gauges in the aircraft (Universal Fuel Level)..
  • Our market is the pilot / customer that is more concerned with fuel level issues and wants the required fuel level instrument in the panel to have the  capability of multiple point calibration.
  • Evaluate the existing sensor design -  For example the bends in these sensor arms are either to assist in installation and removal of the fuel sensor or to clear aircraft structure in the fuel tank.
  • As our sensor design allows for an easily detachable arm - these bends might not be necessary and simplify the design greatly.
  • We then proceed to manufacture a conforming sensor with our best guess for geometry.
  • Check the sensor in the aircraft fuel tank.  As you can see in the illustration - in this case the simple arm design works better in the tank and sweeps a better fuel volume being closes to the Spar and maximum chord point.
  • At this point we qualify the design with drawings and procedures for the completed unit so that we can send these files to the FAA to have this configuration added to our TSO.
  • Once we have approved drawings we can can produce the required sender with a TSO Tag attached.
  • The fuel tank is then drained, the aircraft leveled and braced only then is the zero fuel amount added.  There should be movement of the sender to be able to record an accurate zero fuel level, this is an absolute requirement.
  • Fuel is then added to the tank incrementally and accurately to obtain data points for calibration.  We direct the installer to take special caution to insure tabs fuel value is accurately recorded by the fuel display.
  • Equally the installer needs to insure full fuel level per the POH is also accurately displayed.   
Note:  All aircraft fuel tanks are built with expansion volume - Full fuel per the POH may or may not be to the neck on the filler plate.  This is very important as the aircraft will probably be fueled in the future on a ramp -