Is the Lifesaver approved as a primary attitude indicator?
The Lifesaver is certified as either a primary or backup attitude indicator. It can be placed in the pilot's or co-pilot's instrument panel, or used in both positions. For more information, please see AC20.41 which addresses installing a TSO'd instrument with a TSO'd replacement.
What certification(s) has the attitude indicator received?
The Lifesaver has FAA approval under TSO-C4c and is certified to RTCA/ DO-160D.
What types of aircraft will the Lifesaver work in?
The Lifesaver is original equipment for many OEMs and has been tested in all types of aircraft, from singles to light jets, and helicopters. The Lifesaver can be installed in high-speed general aviation aircraft that fly up to 525 knots.
Will this replace my old attitude indicator?
Yes, the Lifesaver uses a 4-pin connector found standard on the majority of electric DC operated AIM and RC Allen gyros. Pin wiring may vary, so check aircraft wiring before installation. We offer units that can connect directly to many existing installations with no rewiring required. We even supply a free connector and pilot's operating guide with each unit.
What size circuit breaker is needed to install the Lifesaver?
A circuit breaker needs to be 1 amp for 28 VDC and 2 amps for 14 VDC.
What size panel cut out is required?
Rear mount in standard 3 1/8" round panel cutout or front mount in ARINC style cutout. You should ensure the available instrument panel cutout meets the requirements of the Attitude Indicator. Instrument panel cutout dimensions are available in the install manual.
What approval is necessary to install the Lifesaver?
The Lifesaver is approved under FAA TSO-C4c. So, if you install the unit in place of another TSO C4c unit -- where there are no changes to the form, fit, or function in the aircraft -- you are not required to notify the FAA (see FAA AC20-41A). However, if there are other changes required in the aircraft or if the aircraft is operated for commercial operations, the local FAA may require a FAA 337 and/or a Field Approval. Check with your local FAA before installation for their requirements.
The label on the unit does not specify which pin is positive and which pin is negative, how do I hook up the lights?
When hooking up the lights, it does not matter which pin you select as positive and which pin you select as negative.
What is the overall length of the unit with the battery pack?
The overall length of the unit is approximately 8 1/4 inches.
What wrench is needed in order to remove/re-tighten the pull to cage knob?
A six fluted spline wrench, .060 size.
Does the Lifesaver require an arming switch or special procedure before each flight?
No. The Lifesaver gyro is designed to be completely automatic. During flight, you treat this gyro the same as any other electric unit. In the event of a power loss, however, the amber annunciator will flash and you must press the small black button on the front of the unit to confirm you want the unit to run off internal battery power.
At the end of each flight, the unit will run off the battery with a flashing amber annunciator for approximately one minute. Nothing needs to be done at the end of the flight and the unit will automatically shut down. Any necessary recharging of the battery is automatically maintained by the battery's advanced circuitry.
How does the Lifesaver know when there is a loss of main power?
The special circuit in this instrument senses a drop in voltage indicating a loss of power. Once power gets below 10 volts, the Lifesaver switches to its internal battery and flashes an amber standby power status LED on the face of the unit. If aircraft power recovers to greater than 10 volts, the unit will revert to ship's power and automatically recharge the battery. Any future loss of power will re-initiate the power loss sequence. Refer to installation manual and pilot's guide.
What does the Lifesaver do at the end of a flight?
The Lifesaver gyro senses any power loss to the unit including shutdown of the avionics master at the end of a normal flight. At the end of each flight, the amber standby power status annunciator will flash for approximately one minute, indicating loss of power. The unit will automatically shut down.
CAUTION: Pressing the black standby power function switch next to the standby power annunciator will instruct the unit to run off of battery power until the battery is exhausted. If this happens by mistake, maintenance or replacement of the battery may be required. Consult an authorized avionics shop to determine the appropriate action.
What is the "pull to cage" knob and when should it be used?
The "pull to cage" knob is used to momentarily erect and align the gyro mechanism to zero degree (after power is applied for approximately 5 minutes). The "pull to cage" knob should be pulled immediately after start up, then again after about 3-4 minutes. It is commonly called a "quick erect" knob as well.
Is it necessary to pull and lock the caging knob in the fully extended position for shipping?
How long will this unit run under normal duty without the battery engaged?
The Lifesaver gyro is designed to achieve a mean time between failure of 7,500 hours under normal flight conditions. Maintenance is only required on demand if the unit exhibits suspicious indication or if the operator suspects a problem with the indicator. Consult an authorized avionics or instrument repair facility.
Will this unit run my main battery down or require additional recharging?
Similar to any normal electric attitude indicator, the Lifesaver gyro will only run off of ship's power when the avionics master is engaged. After normal shutdown of the aircraft, no drain is applied to the main ship's batteries. The Lifesaver has advanced circuitry that monitors its internal battery and recharges it as needed. A test may be run using the function switch on the front of the unit to determine if there is one hour of battery capacity. If the aircraft operator suspects that the battery may be drained or not working properly, an authorized avionics shop can further test the battery, recharge the battery or replace it as needed. This replacement can also be done in the field by the pilot or aircraft owner.
What is the run time on the battery?
The battery can run for 60 minutes or more when fully charged and in temperatures from 32° to 120° Fahrenheit.
Can the battery run other units/accessories?
What is the life span on the battery, and how can I tell if it needs to be replaced?
We recommend a replacement at 3 years. The battery can be easily tested during preflight or en route during normal, level flight conditions by pushing and holding the small button on the face of the instrument. After about one minute, either the "Green Test" light will appear, which means the battery is good; or the "Red Test" light will appear, which means the battery needs to be recharged or replaced.
A more extensive test may be performed by an FAA-approved facility per a detailed testing procedure. Mid-Continent offers a special automated test box for this service.
Remote mounting the battery in a location subject to extreme temperature variations may dramatically shorten the emergency operation time available for the attitude indicator as well as the expected battery lifetime. For optimum battery performance, it is recommended to mount the battery in a temperature-controlled section of the aircraft.
Who can replace the battery? How much is a new battery and where can I buy one?
Replacement can be done in the field with or without removal of the attitude indicator. A new battery costs $267. Contact your local avionics or instrument shop.
What happens if the battery goes dead?
If the battery is run for one hour or less in a power loss situation, it does have the capability to recharge itself. The main ship battery can recharge the battery over several hours of operation. Consult the installation manual for more details. If a battery is more than 3 years old and is known to be exhausted or continually fails testing, a replacement should be ordered from a local avionics or instrument shop.
What is the limited warranty on the battery?
The battery has a limited warranty of 12 months or 1200 hours of flight, whichever occurs first.
What is the limited warranty on the Lifesaver?
The new Lifesaver gyro has a limited warranty of 12 months or 1200 hours of flights, whichever occurs first.
Can I use my local instrument shop for non-warranty service?
Yes. Overhaul manuals, special fixtures and parts are available to authorized repair facilities. Better still, the Lifesaver incorporates four decades of research and one of the most innovative designs available. It was designed and tested by top aviation instrument experts so it can provide many hours of service.
What wrench is needed in order to remove/re-tighten the pull to cage knob?
A six fluted spline wrench, .060 size.
What information do I need to give when ordering a new attitude indicator?
The panel tilt and lighting voltage are essential information to ensure delivery of an appropriate unit. Other important information is aircraft type, display preference, and if the gyro is a standby indicator. It is also important to specify the primary indicator configuration.
Cost & Options
How much does the Lifesaver cost?
List price for a Lifesaver gyro is $4,867. Some options may add cost to the overall delivery.
Where can I buy the Lifesaver?
Those interested in buying the Lifesaver can click on Buy Now. The Lifesaver can also be purchased from any avionics dealer or instrument shop.
Are there 2-inch and 4-inch versions available?
A 2-inch version of the gyro, the 4200-XX, is available but it does not have its own self-contained backup power source. A panel adapter may be used to install this unit in place of a previous 4-inch size gyro.
How much does the unit weigh?
The Lifesaver weighs 3.7 lbs. with the battery option. A lightweight non-battery unit is available that weighs 2.7 lbs.
What colors are available on the face of the attitude indicator?
We offer the most popular presentation of blue sky over brown earth with fluorescent markings for the symbolic airplane and index.
What are the options for the 4300-XXX attitude indicator?
Panel Tilt 0 to 20°
Lighting Voltage (5 volt, 14 volt, 28 volt)
Lighting Color (Blue/White, White, Red)
Slip Indicator PN 36023 Kit
Knob Cover PN 36022 Kit
Mating Connector 9015514 (MS3116F8-4S)
Install Manual 4300-3XX PN 9015692 (unit without battery)
Install Manual 4300-4XX PN 9015762 (unit with battery)
Front Mount PN 36027-1 Kit 1/2" thick or PN 36028-1 Kit 3/32" thick
Remote mounting plate for battery PN 9015671 Kit
Replacement battery PN 9015607
High Resolution Dial *
Delta Wing Symbolic Airplane *
* These are configuration options; they cannot be purchased separately
Where is the Lifesaver built?
The Lifesaver gyro is completely manufactured in the United States by Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics. Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics has served the general aviation public for more than 48 years from its home in Wichita, KS; and has served for over 20 years from its facility in Van Nuys, CA.
Which OEM's use the Lifesaver?
OEMs that offer the Lifesaver as original equipment include Piper Aircraft Co., Mooney Aircraft, Diamond Aircraft and Hawker Beechcraft. OEMs that offer versions among the 4300 Series Electric Attitude Indicator family are Lancair, Robinson Helicopter Co., and Adam Aircraft.
Why is it called the Lifesaver?
Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics chose to name this innovative product the Lifesaver because even if every other system in an aircraft's avionics panel goes dark, this product continues to provide important, lifesaving data to the pilot. The Lifesaver is the only electric attitude indicator to offer a self-contained battery backup and provides one hour of emergency attitude reference.