Most GA piston aircraft still use dual magnetos for their ignition system, but there are some STC kits available to add electronic ignition to common piston engines, and new aircraft often come with FADEC systems.

Are there particular FAA requirements for electronic ignition systems?

If so, what are they and how can you demonstrate compliance?


1 Answer 1


The ignition requirements are pretty straight-forward:

§23.1165 Engine ignition systems.

(a) Each battery ignition system must be supplemented by a generator that is automatically available as an alternate source of electrical energy to allow continued engine operation if any battery becomes depleted.

(b) The capacity of batteries and generators must be large enough to meet the simultaneous demands of the engine ignition system and the greatest demands of any electrical system components that draw from the same source.

(c) The design of the engine ignition system must account for—

(1) The condition of an inoperative generator;

(2) The condition of a completely depleted battery with the generator running at its normal operating speed; and

(3) The condition of a completely depleted battery with the generator operating at idling speed, if there is only one battery.

(d) There must be means to warn appropriate crewmembers if malfunctioning of any part of the electrical system is causing the continuous discharge of any battery used for engine ignition.

(e) Each turbine engine ignition system must be independent of any electrical circuit that is not used for assisting, controlling, or analyzing the operation of that system.

(f) In addition, for commuter category airplanes, each turbine engine ignition system must be an essential electrical load.

  • $\begingroup$ What about aircraft not certified under Part 23? $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 22, 2014 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @egid His question is about "GA piston aircraft" so I doubt that many of them would be certified under anything else. :) $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 22, 2014 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ There are a ton of GA piston designs certified under CAR part 3, both before and after 1965 when Part 23 was created. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Jan 23, 2014 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ @egid I know nothing about CAR.... ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Jan 23, 2014 at 0:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think we can consider CAR 3 and FAR 23 "roughly equivalent" for these purposes (I'm fairly certain the FAA would view any modifications/retrofits in the context of FAR 23, even if the original type certificate was issued under CAR 3). $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 31, 2014 at 18:44

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