True Blue Power® TB17 is First Ever TSO-Certified Lithium-ion Engine Start, Main Ship Battery

Feb. 25, 2014
The TB17 is designed primarily for light turbine and piston aircraft and at 16 pounds, it offers a 45 percent weight savings compared to older, lead-acid and nickel-cadmium alternatives.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — February 25, 2014 — True Blue Power®, a division of Mid-Continent Instrument Co., Inc., has announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Standard Order (TSO) C179a and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) European Technical Standard Order (ETSO) certification of the TB17 Advanced Lithium-ion Battery. The TB17 is the first lithium-ion engine start battery for business and commercial aviation to receive either certification.

“We are extremely pleased to receive TSO and ETSO approval for the TB17 Advanced Lithium-ion Battery. It sends a message that this technology has been validated and certified by the FAA and EASA and is ready to be delivered on an airframe,” said Rick Slater, True Blue Power Division Manager. “There’s a distinct difference between having a certified product and having a product that’s still under development. Having FAA and European TSO certification makes it far easier for an airframe manufacturer to incorporate the TB17 into an aircraft design when the safety of the battery has been validated, the specifications have been verified, and production will be continually audited to ensure compliance with the FAA and EASA standards. That provides customer confidence.”

Featuring A123 Systems’ Nanophosphate® Lithium-ion chemistry to provide unmatched power, energy, safety and life, the TB17 is designed primarily for light turbine and piston aircraft. At 16 pounds, it offers a 45 percent weight savings compared to older, lead-acid and nickel-cadmium alternatives and it is being evaluated by several airframe manufacturers for installation in a variety of aircraft. The TB17 form factors and dimensions are similar to currently available alternatives, making it easy to integrate into new helicopter or fixed-wing designs or to upgrade existing aircraft.

The 17-ampere hour battery’s lithium-ion cells offer superior energy density, delivering 3 times the energy per kilogram when compared to lead acid. The TB17 is engineered to provide an overall lower cost of ownership with 50 – 75 percent less scheduled maintenance cost. This is the result of increased durability, 2-year maintenance intervals, efficient engine starts and gaining 2 – 3 times longer useful battery life.

“The advantages offered by Nanophosphate® Lithium-ion technology over other lithium-ion chemistries are numerous and impressive, but the most significant is undoubtedly safety,” Slater added. “Nanophosphate® Lithium-ion is more chemically stable, producing less energetic reactions in the rare event of battery over-temperature or over-voltage.”

In addition to an advanced chemistry, the TB17 is engineered with several layers of protection. “It’s a smart pack,” Slater explained. “Safety is addressed at multiple levels including the chemistry, cell design, pack and battery system packaging, and the integration of sophisticated electronic protection systems into the battery itself. The fact that it is so lightweight and easy to maintain also makes the potential for installation of more than one TB17 battery a possibility. That provides versatility, redundancy, the possibility of distributing the battery weight evenly and adds another level of safety.” The True Blue Power TB17 represents a new generation of reliable aviation batteries utilizing lithium-ion technology. It is designed to monitor and communicate temperature, voltage levels, state of charge and health.

The TB17 and a larger 44-ampere hour battery, the TB44, will be on display at booth #3636 throughout the Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo, February 25 – 27 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. The TB17 is RTCA DO-311 and DO-160G qualified. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014.

For more information about the TB17 Advanced Lithium-ion Battery or other True Blue Power products, contact Rick Slater, True Blue Power Division Manager, at 316-630-0101 or visit

About True Blue Power®

True Blue Power®, a division of Mid-Continent Instrument Co., Inc., specializes in the custom design and manufacture of power solutions for the aviation industry. Select products feature advanced, Nanophosphate® Lithium-ion battery technology, which offers stable chemistry, faster charging, consistent output, excellent cycle life and superior cost performance — this translates into smaller, lighter products that are less than half the size and weight of existing solutions. For more information, visit

About Mid-Continent Instrument Co., Inc. (dba Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics)

Mid-Continent Instrument Company manufactures and repairs aircraft instruments, avionics and power solutions for the general aviation industry. Services at the Wichita, Kan., facility include custom design, manufacturing, overhaul/exchange and repair. The company's Van Nuys, Calif. facility provides new instrument sales and is the top-rated instrument overhaul shop on the West Coast. For more information, visit