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Federal Aviation Regulations

Sec. 23.1351 — General.

(a) Electrical system capacity. Each electrical system must be adequate for the intended use. In addition—

(1) Electric power sources, their transmission cables, and their associated control and protective devices, must be able to furnish the required power at the proper voltage to each load circuit essential for safe operation; and

(2) Compliance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section must be shown as follows—

(i) For normal, utility, and acrobatic category airplanes, by an electrical load analysis or by electrical measurements that account for the electrical loads applied to the electrical system in probable combinations and for probable durations; and

(ii) For commuter category airplanes, by an electrical load analysis that accounts for the electrical loads applied to the electrical system in probable combinations and for probable durations.

(b) Function. For each electrical system, the following apply:

(1) Each system, when installed, must be—

(i) Free from hazards in itself, in its method of operation, and in its effects on other parts of the airplane;

(ii) Protected from fuel, oil, water, other detrimental substances, and mechanical damage; and

(iii) So designed that the risk of electrical shock to crew, passengers, and ground personnel is reduced to a minimum.

(2) Electric power sources must function properly when connected in combination or independently.

(3) No failure or malfunction of any electric power source may impair the ability of any remaining source to supply load circuits essential for safe operation.

(4) In addition, for commuter category airplanes, the following apply:

(i) Each system must be designed so that essential load circuits can be supplied in the event of reasonably probable faults or open circuits including faults in heavy current carrying cables;

(ii) A means must be accessible in flight to the flight crewmembers for the individual and collective disconnection of the electrical power sources from the system;

(iii) The system must be designed so that voltage and frequency, if applicable, at the terminals of all essential load equipment can be maintained within the limits for which the equipment is designed during any probable operating conditions;

(iv) If two independent sources of electrical power for particular equipment or systems are required, their electrical energy supply must be ensured by means such as duplicate electrical equipment, throwover switching, or multichannel or loop circuits separately routed; and

(v) For the purpose of complying with paragraph (b)(5) of this section, the distribution system includes the distribution busses, their associated feeders, and each control and protective device.

(c) Generating system. There must be at least one generator/alternator if the electrical system supplies power to load circuits essential for safe operation. In addition—

(1) Each generator/alternator must be able to deliver its continuous rated power, or such power as is limited by its regulation system.

(2) Generator/alternator voltage control equipment must be able to dependably regulate the generator/alternator output within rated limits.

(3) Automatic means must be provided to prevent damage to any generator/alternator and adverse effects on the airplane electrical system due to reverse current. A means must also be provided to disconnect each generator/alternator from the battery and other generators/alternators.

(4) There must be a means to give immediate warning to the flight crew of a failure of any generator/alternator.

(5) Each generator/alternator must have an overvoltage control designed and installed to prevent damage to the electrical system, or to equipment supplied by the electrical system that could result if that generator/alternator were to develop an overvoltage condition.

(d) Instruments. A means must exist to indicate to appropriate flight crewmembers the electric power system quantities essential for safe operation.

(1) For normal, utility, and acrobatic category airplanes with direct current systems, an ammeter that can be switched into each generator feeder may be used and, if only one generator exists, the ammeter may be in the battery feeder.

(2) For commuter category airplanes, the essential electric power system quantities include the voltage and current supplied by each generator.

(e) Fire resistance. Electrical equipment must be so designed and installed that in the event of a fire in the engine compartment, during which the surface of the firewall adjacent to the fire is heated to 2,000 °F for 5 minutes or to a lesser temperature substantiated by the applicant, the equipment essential to continued safe operation and located behind the firewall will function satisfactorily and will not create an additional fire hazard.

(f) External power. If provisions are made for connecting external power to the airplane, and that external power can be electrically connected to equipment other than that used for engine starting, means must be provided to ensure that no external power supply having a reverse polarity, or a reverse phase sequence, can supply power to the airplane's electrical system. The external power connection must be located so that its use will not result in a hazard to the airplane or ground personnel.

(g) It must be shown by analysis, tests, or both, that the airplane can be operated safely in VFR conditions, for a period of not less than five minutes, with the normal electrical power (electrical power sources excluding the battery and any other standby electrical sources) inoperative, with critical type fuel (from the standpoint of flameout and restart capability), and with the airplane initially at the maximum certificated altitude. Parts of the electrical system may remain on if—

(1) A single malfunction, including a wire bundle or junction box fire, cannot result in loss of the part turned off and the part turned on; and

(2) The parts turned on are electrically and mechanically isolated from the parts turned off.

[Doc. No. 4080, 29 FR 17955, Dec. 18, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 23–7, 34 FR 13096, Aug. 13, 1969; Amdt. 23–14, 38 FR 31824, Nov. 19, 1973; Amdt. 23–17, 41 FR 55465, Dec. 20, 1976; Amdt. 23–20, 42 FR 36969, July 18, 1977; Amdt. 23–34, 52 FR 1834, Jan. 15, 1987; 52 FR 34745, Sept. 14, 1987; Amdt. 23–43, 58 FR 18976, Apr. 9, 1993; Amdt. 23–49, 61 FR 5169, Feb. 9, 1996]

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