Aeronautical Aviation have their own Baron 58.

Aeronautical Aviation is an African leader in the repair, installation and overhaul of aircraft instrumentation, avionics, electrical, autopilots and accessories.

Guy Leitch.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING 17 years ago by founder and CEO Clinton Carroll, Aeronautical Aviation has developed a stellar reputation for providing superior, reliable and cost-effective avionics for the whole general aviation industry.

Clinton Carroll points out that “Our company was built on integrity, honesty and excellence in every aspect of the services we have to offer. We also believe in keeping the cost reasonable while maintaining exceptional quality that either meets or exceeds Original Aircraft Manufacturer (OEM) specifications. At Aeronautical Aviation, our dedicated professional team understands the importance of exceptional customer service and will provide the solution to your aircraft avionics and accessory needs.”

As key company values that infuse everything it does, Aeronautical Aviation is committed to providing its customers with outstanding quality and service, as well has to ensure minimum ‘aircraft on the ground’ downtime by carrying a large inventory of parts.

As part of its comprehensive range of carefully selected avionics brands, Aeronautical Aviation are dealers for Garmin, (from which they have won the award as the biggest dealer in Africa), Collins Aerospace, Avidyne, Spider Tracks, Kannad, JP Instruments, Sandel Avionics, S-TEC / Genesys AeroSystems, ACK Avionics, Flight Display Systems, Century Flight Systems, Cobham Satcom, Dynon Avionics, DAC International, Sandia Aerospace, L-3 Communications and Electronics as well as Electroair Ignition Systems plus many more.

First-hand experience

As a pilot and aircraft owner, Clinton Carroll understands the challenges in the cockpit, the regulatory requirements, certification, and costs associated with the operation of an aircraft. This enables him to offer informed advice on upgrading equipment, repairs, and installations from a technical aspect, as well as from a pilot’s point of view without compromise to quality.

Aeronautical Aviation’s team of qualified technicians has extensive knowledge and training on all the products they supply. Great emphasis is placed on training both the technicians and the pilots on equipment installed into an aircraft. This is a pivotal part to ensuring their clients are armed with the knowledge to get the full benefits from their usually large investment in avionics equipment fully, epitomising the value-add that comes from entrusting avionics work to Aeronautical Aviation.

Located at the general aviation hub of Lanseria International Airport, Aeronautical Aviation has been supporting and offering specialised services within the General Aviation industry with the repair, overhaul, and installation of aircraft instrumentation, avionics, electrical and pilot accessories.

Clinton Carroll sets up his Garmin G500 EFIS in his Baron 58.

Typical of the Aeronautical Aviation’s ability to optimise its added value proposition the company has a specialist capability with its laser cutting equipment for the refurbishment of backlighting switch and circuit breaker panels, transforming old, outdated panels to look as new as the equipment being installed.

Clinton Carroll says, “We are extremely proud to be Garmin’s largest accredited dealer and distributor in Africa. Furthermore, we have a large dealer base and this enables us to provide our clients with a variety of options to suit their budget and operational needs. Our technicians are Garmin and Collins Aerospace Factory trained and we pride ourselves on service excellence. We are committed to providing our customers with outstanding service and exceptional quality.”

THE VALUE OF REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE.

Aeronautical Aviation owns and operates its own Baron 58, which it uses to gain first hand experience of the installation and operation of modern avionics in older airframes. This gives the company a unique advantage in that it doesn’t just ‘talk the talk’ of avionics upgrades but it ‘walks the walk’ of actually owning and operating this level of sophisticated equipment. In this way Clinton Carroll is able to share first hand experiences of how to get best use and value for money from an investment in modern avionics.

From his experiences in operating his Baron 58 Clinton reports that, “We bought our Baron 58 with the vision of having an aircraft to demonstrate Garmin’s latest technology. It’s one thing playing with a screen on a test bench or seeing a video on how the new autopilot works, but to fly and experience it in real life is something else. Never did we imagine we would get to see how it saves lives in real life.

“One of the most important factors for me, being the pilot of this aircraft, was to have accurate engine information, situational awareness, good IFR capability as well as a reliable autopilot. Especially considering we were going to use the aircraft as a “we come to you” value added service. We opted for the Garmin GFC 600 Autopilot during this process as it has a yaw damper which is essential for passengers in the back of a twin, plus it has VNAV and IAS hold.”

As the CEO, Clinton puts his aircraft to good use servicing his customers in distant locations. On one of these trips he had an engine failure. From his first-hand experience in the Baron he tells his clients what equipment may not just be a nice to have, but which may become a real life saver when the need arises – as it did on the flight to the customer in Mossel Bay, when the Garmin GFC600 autopilot made his flight immeasurably safer.

Aeronautical Aviation is based at Lanseria.

Clinton writes, “I departed off Runway 09, straight towards the coastline. George Tower routed me out to sea due to other IFR arrivals. They kept me at 2500ft and once I was at least 15nm out over the bay they cleared me direct to OKSOP, an RNAV intersection, and cleared me for the climb to FL115.

‘committed to providing its customers with outstanding quality’

I had the autopilot engaged with the yaw damper, so I pressed NAV to couple to the GPS route and pre-selected FL115 for the climb. I selected an IAS hold of 138 kts as this is the Baron’s best cruise climb speed. The aircraft obediently rolled its wings left onto heading, pulled its nose up and started the climb. Monitoring the precision of how the GFC 600 flies is always a thrill.

As I stretched across to pick up my flight planning paperwork from the right-hand seat, I heard a sudden change to the sound of the engines and felt the swing from an abrupt loss of power. This is where training kicks in. Having only around 50 hours on twins, I was not highly experienced in this type of situation. After test flying various aircraft post maintenance in my career and having my fair share of emergencies, this was my first one, on my own, in my own aircraft.

I followed the drill; gear up, flaps up, identify: dead leg – dead engine, wait, what….. well this was different. I confirmed the gear and flaps were up but the rudder pedals were not fighting me at all. No dead leg to identify the dead engine. The GFC 600 yaw damper took the yaw in its stride and held the aircraft straight on its own. A little disconcerting, considering this is not what I had been taught.

On checking the Engine Management system (EMS) I could see immediately I had no fuel flow or fuel pressure on the left engine. So that must be my problem. I disconnected the autopilot to confirm this, and the aircraft yawed to the left as I was expecting. A quick engagement of the autopilot took care of the yaw again and I selected IAS HOLD at Blue line +10kts. Now I knew the aircraft would not stall, it was flying straight and undistracted, I could apply myself to diagnosing the engine issue.

I tried the electric fuel pump and the engine came back to life, but it was very rough. I confirmed on the EGTs that two cylinders were not firing. It was so rough that I decided to rather shut it down completely and feather the prop.

The Baron was still climbing on one, getting me valuable height, and flying straight, so I decided to declare the emergency with George and route back to Mossel Bay.

Everything went smoothly from there and I landed without incident.

On reflection of what had happened, I realised what an asset it was to have those avionics, especially a very capable autopilot, during this sequence of events. The GFC 600 took care of the massive yaw from the asymmetric thrust, it maintained the speed above blue line and with the right side engine at full power, controlled the speed to allow me to climb, gaining valuable altitude in an emergency, especially over water.

The Engine Management System helped in a huge way in diagnosing and giving me the essential information I needed to make an informed decision to feather and land. The rest of the equipment was brilliant in helping me with my situational awareness and getting me back to Mossel Bay in the shortest time possible, considering I had never flown there before today.

I had woken up at 5 am, driven to Lanseria, fuelled the plane, flown 3h30 to Mossel Bay, worked in the scorching sun for at least two hours, fuelled again, had a quick bite to eat and taken off again for another 3h30 hrs home.

I was tired and fatigued from the sun, so to have the avionics look after the flying like that was a welcome relief. I am 100% convinced things would have ended differently if I did not have all the information at hand to make my decisions. The GFC 600 was a co-pilot like no other and kept me safe the entire time and ensured I was home with my family that night.

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