ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Commercial, Military

Industry Scan

By | April 1, 2001

Caravan Fitted for IFR

J.A. Air Center, West Chicago, Ill., recently completed a new Cessna 208B Caravan with a state-of-the-art avionics suite approved for instrument flight rules. The aircraft is fitted with a dual Garmin GPS system that includes a GNS 530 and a GNS 430 multifunction display (MFD), both incorporating com, nav, glideslope, GPS and map. The package also includes an Avidyne FlightMax 750 MFD, Garmin GMA 340 audio panel with marker beacon and intercom, BFGoodrich WX 500 Stormscope, and SkyWatch traffic advisory. The latter two systems can be displayed on the MFD and the GNS 430 and 530. The avionics on board the Caravan from Bendix/King comprise the KR 87 automatic direction finder, KT 70 Mode S transponder, KFC 150 autopilot/flight director, KCS 55A horizontal situation indicator, and KRA 10A radar altimeter. J.A. Air completed the aircraft for a Chicago customer. Visit www.jaair.com.

Saudi Buys New FMS

Installations are to begin this month of a Global Positioning System-based flight management system (FMS) in Saudi Arabian Airlines’ fleet of 12 Boeing 747-200/300 Classic and SP aircraft. The new FMS, provided by BAE Systems Canada, includes the CMA-900 GPS receiver combined with Honeywell’s air data inertial reference unit. The new navigation and control display permits utilization of Future Air Navigation System (FANS) features and makes the B747 Classic comparable in capability to Saudi Arabian’s newest aircraft. The airline has 61 airliners, including B747-400s, B777-200s, MD-11s and MD-90s. See www.baesystems-canada.com.

SmartFix for the Continental

Bombardier Aerospace says it plans to make a new-generation troubleshooting system standard on its mid-size Continental business jet. Known as SmartFix and powered by ClickFix, a diagnostic tool, the system guides the maintenance technician through a series of checks and trials, directing him to the line replaceable unit (LRU) to be replaced or repaired. Visit www.bombardier.com.

AeroFlite Gains Dual Approval

AeroFlite Enterprises Inc., Brea Calif., recently gained two certifications. The electrical connector manufacturer was approved to both ISO 9002 and AS 9000 standards. Achieving both certifications was no small feat. According to AeroFlite officials, compliance requires: availability of procedures to all, including customers; adequate in-process verification points; supplier selection based customer requirements; effective incorporation of changes; access to suppliers by customer and/or regulatory personnel; accountability of product during all phases of manufacturing; mutilation of scrap to preclude further usage, and a C=O sampling plan. For more on AeroFlite, phone 714-773-4251, or fax 714-773-4973.

Winning the Queen’s Award

Pascall Electronics, a member of the Intelek Group, recently was bestowed the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2000. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Christopher Bland, presented the honor to Pascall’s managing director, Alan Wainwright. The company, based on the UK’s Isle of Wight, earned the award for its success in exporting equipment for the avionics and satellite markets. For more information, phone (44) 1983 817300, or fax (44) 1983 564708.

Air Traffic Control

Georgia on LMATM’s Mind Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management (LMATM) recently signed a partnership agreement with the Republic of Georgia. Valued at $105 million, the agreement involves jointly developing a 15-year master aviation modernization plan for the Asian country; it will assess Georgia’s air traffic management (ATM) assets and determine its needs to achieve an integrated ATM environment. LMATM also will plan improvements to various Georgian airports, including at the capital city of Tbilisi. The Georgian agreement follows a 10-year partnership accord LMATM made in May 2000 with Airways New Zealand. Says LMATM President Don Antonucci, "We are finding that countries are seeking partners, rather than suppliers, who can work with them to develop long-term technology strategies, rather than point solutions." Visit www.lockheedmartin.com/atm.

A ‘Three-Legged Stool’

Speaking at a recent aviation summit, John S. Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said resolving the growing problem of flight delays is "much like a three-legged stool." The first leg, he explains, "involves capacity enhancement such as new technology and air traffic procedures. The second leg is improved aviation infrastructure: airports, runways and taxiways. And the third, which "the users never want to talk about or acknowledge," said Carr, is demand management, i.e. "the prudent use of the air traffic system..."

He added that while capacity enhancements can add three to five operations (takeoffs and landings) per hour at a typical airport, a new runway would add 30 to 40 operations per hour. Regarding demand management, Carr added discussion of this topic when talking of combating flight delays "seems to elude us." Visit www.natca.org.

European Activity in 2000

The 29 major carriers belonging to the Association of European Airlines (AEA) estimate that they boarded 201 million passengers last year, or more than an average half million passengers a day. That’s a 7.9% increase over 1999, when the airlines boarded 186 million passengers. AEA also estimates a slightly lower increase (7.5%) in passenger/kilometer data, indicating greater growth in inter-European travel, in which distances are shorter. Passenger traveling across the North Atlantic grew by a higher-than-average 8.1%. However, this was offset by modest growth on routes to Africa and the Middle East. Perhaps most notable, growth in capacity was modest, 4.2%, which caused the load factor to reach an all-time high of 73.5%.

Meanwhile, Eurocontrol recently reported the number of flights last year within the 38 countries that are members of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC): 8.44 million, or 4.8% more than in 1999, when there were just over 8 million flights. Despite such growth, the average delay due to air traffic flow management dropped from 5.4 minutes in 1999 to 3.8 minutes. Visit www.aea.be and www.eurocontrol.be.

ITWS Enters a New Phase

Its full-scale development now complete, the integrated terminal weather system (ITWS), developed by Raytheon Co., is now being installed at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) William J. Hughes Technical Center at Atlantic City, N.J. Once fully installed, the ITWS will enter operational testing and evaluation. The FAA plans to have 34 ITWS systems provide coverage to 45 major airports that are subject to severe weather conditions. By fusing data and information from FAA and National Weather Service sensors, the system will provide automated, real-time weather conditions and forecast (20 minutes into the future) within terminal areas (60 miles/96 km around the airport) to air traffic controllers and supervisors. Visit www.raytheon.com.

Defense

Slowing the Aging Process

The U.S. Air Force recently established a new program office, for aging aircraft, at its Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Called Aging Aircraft System, the unit is lead by Director Col. Joseph Shearer and employs some 250 personnel.

"Solving cross-cutting aging aircraft issues is clearly the next, evolutionary step in acquisition reform," states Shearer, referring to "past reform," which focused on the purchase of new systems. The head of Aging Aircraft System says his unit will concentrate on three "major thrust areas":

1. "First, we need to focus our efforts and become more proactive and predictive in terms of the ‘ilities’–reliability, maintainability, etc.–that are caused by aging.

2. "Second, we need to encourage more sharing of technologies and solutions among the air logistics centers, product centers and system program offices..."

3. The third thrust is "cross-cutters," programs that span multiple platforms, such as the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) program on the C-17, C-131 and C-141.

These will be no small tasks. Says Col. Michael Carpenter, chief, Aging Aircraft Planning Division, "Solving aging aircraft issues is like saying ‘solve world hunger’." For more on the new program office, contact Col. Carpenter via e-mail at michael.carpenter@wpafb.af.mil.

Radar Contracts

Telephonics Corp. recently announced two defense contracts, from the U.S. Navy and the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF).

For the Navy, the company received a $3.6-million contract to upgrade air traffic control radar on-board aircraft carriers and amphibious class ships. To improve surveillance radar systems performance, Telephonics provides improved aircraft identification and data processing hardware and software. The contract calls for three systems, with a potential follow-on worth $5 million.

For the RDAF, the Farmingdale, N.Y.-based company will supply its OceanEye maritime radar for installation on the service’s Challenger CL-604 aircraft. The RDAF will use the radar for search and rescue, iceberg mapping, environmental inspection and fisheries inspection. Visit www.telephonics.com.

Contracts for Optronics

France’s defense procurement agency recently awarded contracts to Thales worth a total of $555 million (610 million euros) for the development and production of systems, primarily in optronics and image processing. Individual contracts would have Thales:

  • Develop and produce an optronic airborne reconnaissance system for the French air force and navy. Value: $332 million (365 million euros).
  • Produce an initial series of optronic systems that provide passive surveillance, target detection and identification capabilities to the Rafale. Value: $100 milllion (110 million euros).
  • Produce 15 Damocles day/night navigation and attack pods for the French navy’s upgraded Super Etendard combat jet. Value: $45.5 million (50 million euros).
  • And production of 1,000 Sophie thermal cameras for the French army. Value: $33.6 million (37 million euros).

Visit www.sextant.thomson-csf.com.

BAE Systems Canada Merger

A special meeting of BAE Systems Canada shareholders was expected this month to finalize an agreement made in February in which Oncap LP would purchase BAE Systems Canada’s outstanding shares. The asking price was $594 million (Canadian), and the share price $25.25. The merger requires approval by 66.66% of BAE Systems Canada’s shareholders.

BAE Systems Canada’s majority owner, UK-based BAE Systems Plc. decided that the Canadian company is "not a good strategic fit," according to the industry newsletter, Global Positioning & Naviation News. BAE Systems Plc. is said to be moving towards a concentration on large systems, primarily for military programs. BAE Systems Plc.’s business is 85% in defense, while BAE Canada is 60% commercial. Oncap is an investment firm; it is controlled by Onex, the company that tried to acquire and merge Air Canada and Canadian Airlines in 1999.

For more information, see www.baesystems-canada.com.

Korry Buys Dupree Products

Korry Electronics Co., an Esterline Technologies subsidiary, recently announced that it reached an agreement to acquire the Aerospace Knob and the Western Indicator product lines from Dupree Inc., Chino, Calif. Aerospace Knob manufactures panel control knobs; it will be incorporated in Korry’s Seattle, Wash., facility. Western Indicator produces cockpit lamps and chart holders, a business that will move to Mason Electric, another Esterline subsidiary. Korry Electronics manufactures electro-optical controls and displays. For more information, see www.korry.com.

In-Flight Entertainment

BBJ Office in the Sky

Jet Aviation of Basel, Switzerland, is about to complete a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) with, among other features, Internet data ports at each seat and a satellite-based telecommunications system, to create an "office in the sky," according to company officials. The latter feature includes two phased-array antennas mounted atop the fuselage. The aircraft to be outfitted is Boeing’s second-owned BBJ, i.e. the airframe manufacturer’s own second business jet. It is called the Boeing Corporate Jet 2, or BCJ-2. Visit www.jetaviation.com.

Correction

In our Product Focus story in the March 2001 issue, we inadvertently printed the wrong e-mail address for Electronic Cable Specialists (ECS). The correct address is sales@ecsdirect.com. The company’s Website is www.ecsdirect.com.

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