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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The CiES Brand


From the beginning, CiES has been driven by innovation. Our first invention was the world-renowned magneto resistive fuel level sensor this same sensor that is used today on the most popular aircraft in the world.

Since our breakthrough in fuel level that begins in 2003, we’ve accelerated our strong culture and track record of innovative technologies that solve real-world challenges for our customers.  

More recently, we pioneered automated fuel tank selection system for a global aviation company,  developed a wireless propane vehicle fuel level sensor, & a marine fuel level sensor that addressed whether the boat is on open water or in the harbour. 

By accurately monitoring fuel level and providing an updated range capability, operators avoid breakdowns, protects valuable high pressure fuel systems, reduce environmental impact, and save money at the pump. 

Today, CiES delivers customer-driven innovation to a diverse spectrum of industries and applications– from automotive to industrial production, to off-road/heavy-duty equipment, marine to agriculture, aerospace and oil level sensing solutions that protect and perform.

Friday, November 14, 2014

5000 Aviation Fuel Level Senders

After two years of production we have crossed a major milestone.

There are 5000 CiES Inc Fuel Level senders in the field or more appropriately, in the air.

What does that mean for our customer base or our potential customer base?  

The CiES Magneto Resistive Fuel Level system is proven and a good solution for fuel level measurement in a variety of applications.

We have proven the concept in what may be the harshest environment for fuel level measurement - aviation.  By proving ourselves in the aviation world we literally can take this method anywhere.

Our quality is phenomenal - out of the 5000 units in the field we have yet to take one out of service.
Can you say the same for your fuel level solution?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vans RV CIES Fuel Level Sensor

VANS RV Fuel Level Sensor

CiES Van's Fuel Level Sender
On announcement of the TSO and the patented CIES Fuel Level system on  Cirrus production aircraft,  we were approached by several RV owner/builders.  They asked us if we could build a fuel level sensor for the popular Van's Aircraft Series.

We thought about it - it was easy to do (on initial thought) used the same housing as the Cirrus System.  The same circuit card,  But the devil is in the details.

We can easily produce a Digital Fuel Level Sensor that fits the Vans Aircraft Tank - For all models of Van's Aircraft - Ok RV-3 thru RV-9 and the RV-10 

Stewart Warner Fuel Level
Yes - This is a more expensive solution than the Stewart Warner sender sold by Van's.  

In looking at the alternative used by the builder community - A Capacitive sensor formed in the tank  -  this sensor uses outside electronics to sense the amount of fuel in contact between two metal plates.    

Capacitance is a compromised solution for aviation fuel level - the no moving concept is good if it works all the time or doesn't need cleaning or temperature calibration. 

The capacitive system used in some Van's aircraft is not set up for replacement or maintenance - something the Big Boy OEM capacitive probes employ.  

 Capacitive probes should be cleaned occasionally, as fuel born debris or corrosion is caused by moist air that is introduced on descent in every aircraft cannot be avoided.  -  moisture severely degrades the capacitive system, both in output and the degradation of the system itself.   

Simple capacitive solutions do not accommodate different types of fuel.  Fuels can have a vastly different dielectric constant - and this translates directly to fuel level. AutoGas is close but not the same as AVgas and ethanol is grossly different. Auto fuel with high ethanol blend ratio 10-15% will actually read falsely up to twice as high if used in a tank that was calibrated for Avgas. 

OK -  at CiES we have solved fuel level in the Cirrus, Gipps, Partenavia, Quest aircraft with float based sensors -  a radically different sensor system to locate the float in the tank  - but it is float sensor none the less.    

What is happening in the Van's aircraft world to give a nearly universal complaint that the Steward Warner Float Gauge doesn't measure full fuel - However a user built capacitive plate that is only 3 inches further outboard does.   This didn't pass the sniff test.  Floats by design - float on the surface of the fuel and you miss some.  

In review of the RV tank and wing dihedral, a capacitive plate may not measure full fuel as well.
Lenny Iszak Rendering of the Van's RV Fuel Tank

There are limitations to float design,  the last 0.25 inch of potential travel is limited when the float hits the skin.  This is a well known and in an aircraft fuel tank, a quarter of a inch can represent many gallons.  

 But from what we heard  in these nearly coincident fuel sensing systems - capacitive and float - they could be off.

So the general assumption in aviation is that float sensors are not as effective.  That is generally what we hear in the certified world as well.

So we set out to discover what could be going on.  The first thing  we found was that RV provided a rather approximate bend diagram for the Stewart Warner sensors.  The Stewart Warner sensors have a bit of lateral play and they seemed in our models to contact structure or other items in the tank prior to hitting the skin.   OK several owners had modified their Stewart Warner float attachment to limit this possibility.  Well we can do a good job in measuring the fuel in blue.

We have very conclusively proved in the Cirrus G5 aircraft and others that a float sensor can measure full fuel, it can be very accurate and very reliable - and we know that we can do the same in an RV Aircraft tank.   We may need to look at a multi sender installation.

If we put a little thought and a quality assembly we could achieve good results each and every time 

CIES we believe we could get you something just a little bit better.  

Stay tuned - something simple to operate and understand - a communication method that has real immunity to poor connections or induced voltage - a fuel sending unit that is robustly built to measure fuel in the light aircraft environment.  

This FAA approved fuel level reporting system is a better solution over the capacitive sender system and most likely equal in monetary or personal effort when it is all said and done.

Our sensor have the added benefit of being field replaceable and easy to diagnose.  

What happens when your capacitive system fails to operate.    The CIES fuel Level sender doesn't need to be cleaned - ever - and frankly is pretty darn simple.

We have 5000 units in the field - Zero issues, problems or returns

The output is now resistive, voltage, digital frequency or CANBUS 

We took exceptional care to insure we reduced the float size to minimize issues with float / structure interference.

For a Van's aircraft we will offer a full replacement transferable warranty for 10 years for unmodified senders. 

Yes I know - you could build your own and you are - but when it comes to fuel level reporting - spending a little more gets you something - like this reaction from our customer

WOW - this is a must have -  Maybe you'll think so too 
If you do - let us know 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Video of the Cirrus SR22 Retrofit

Friday, October 17, 2014

If You Trusted Your Aircraft Fuel Gauge?

How would you operate your aircraft

If you knew, at all times, how much fuel you had.

Hard to imagine, isn't it ?

Did you ever have that feeling that you might have put in the wrong fuel starting amount?

Did you really see fuel wash over the tabs?

Doubts about fuel level can creep into any flight.   

The statistics of fuel starvation, fuel exhaustion and fuel related loss of power events bear that out.  

But it is interesting to see that with a change in technology for fuel level reporting to Magneto Resistive Senders.

Some pilots are finding an opportunity to operate differently.

Commenter Dialogue:

I'm always surprised you do not fly your 22t topped off, were you taught to fly with minimum fuel? Maybe it's a West Coast thing, but my Cirrus SR22 is always sitting full and I fuel it every time it is at home.
Plane is hangared. Full tanks are heavier and the performance is affected. I carry 20g extra to a location like Vegas.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cirrus SR22 Fuel Level Retrofit

Feedback on the the CiES system....

While my aircraft (NA G3 #3813 Perspective) was at Leading Edge Aviation in Tampa for an annual, I had the CiES digital fuel system installed. The crew at LEA had recently received the benefit of Scott Philben's tutelage on the intricacies of this installation, and I was in line next for the retrofit. Two points of observation:
From This

1 - Fuel quantities are now precise and crisp. No longer do I tend to disbelieve fuel gauge indications because of erratic needles.

 Now there is no "negotiating" with myself of how much fuel I probably have. The installation includes calibration at 2 gallon intervals from "Zero Fuel" empty to full.  In my opinion, the replacement round gauge on the center panel is superior to the Perspective MFD indication.  Fuel quantity and balance is abundantly clear.
To This

2 - Choice of shop doing the work is very important. With the changes in wiring harnesses among all the iterations of Cirrus aircraft, there are a several unique and significant distinctions for each application. You need a knowledgable, detail-oriented, and thorough installer. I was fortunate to have one at Leading Edge Aviation.

Contact Steve Miller if you want this job done properly.

Finally, thank you Scott Philben for extending the OSH incentive, motivating me to get this system in my airplane. After seeing the results, I think the discount I received should more appropriately have been a premium paid to you.