Airbus Buys into Tenzing
Tenzing Communications announced at the Paris Air Show that Airbus Industrie has purchased a 30% chunk of the in-flight communications company as part of a deal to offer in-flight e-mail and Internet access to airline passengers. The partnership places Tenzing’s value at approximately $148 million and makes the company the preferred provider for in-flight e-mail and Internet solutions in Airbus aircraft.
Tenzing claims it currently is the only company providing e-mail and access to Internet sites aboard airliners, using a technology that incorporates existing L-band air-to-ground satellite links. Coverage is global, and the service can evolve to make use of broadband (Ku-band).
Tenzing will provide proprietary software that runs on a computer server in the aircraft, enabling passengers to send and retrieve e-mail with their own laptop computers. Passengers will usually connect through existing in-seat entertainment units, on-board telephones or a local area network (LAN), while the satellite communication links that already equip most long-haul Airbus aircraft will provide the air-to-ground connection.
The service would likely cost passengers flying in North America $4.95, for unlimited access throughout the flight, to read titles and names of senders of e-mails; passengers would pay another 50 cents or so to read or send each text page. In addition, they would have free access to a collection of Internet sites. The airlines would market the service.
Tenzing has already concluded several in-flight trials of its e-mail and Internet service, including one of more than six months with Air Canada. It also has signed up Cathay Pacific Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and on June 19, Tenzing announced it was chosen to supply in-flight e-mail and Web service to VARIG Brasil’s fleet of new Boeing 777s. All four airlines will begin equipping their aircraft later this year. Visit www.tenzing.com.
Glass Cockpit for USCS P-3
A U.S. Customs Service (USCS) P-3 airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft successfully completed a flight test evaluating the performance of Astronautics Corp. of America’s electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) and CMC Electronics’ CMA-900 flight management system (FMS). The flight was conducted from Lockheed Martin’s Aircraft Logistics Center at Greenville, S.C.
The P-3 is a modified, former U.S. Navy P-3B Orion that the Customs Service uses for drug surveillance. The aircraft has an advanced airborne surveillance radar, computer and communications equipment to support the monitoring of suspected drug traffickers. The P-3’s new, glass cockpit incorporates a flight management display system (FMDS) integrated by Astronautics. The system includes four 6-by-8-inch displays for primary flight and navigation, as well as color weather radar. The displays are linked with a CMC Electronics CMA-900 FMS that supports flight plan entry and operation. This is the first Custom Service aircraft to be equipped with a next-generation full "glass" cockpit.
Banner Overhaul Completed
Banner Aerospace Aircraft Services has completed renovations at its maintenance and repair facility at the Georgetown Municipal Airport, Georgetown, Texas. Parent company Banner Aerospace invested more than $500,000 for the facility’s modernization. In addition to capital improvements, the company’s capabilities were expanded with new type ratings for Beech King Air 300 series through Beech 1900D aircraft, Cessna Citation I, II and V, and Embraer120 series. For more information, visit www.banner.com.
New Digs for Airworks
Airworks announced its relocation to a new facility in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. The shop provides more than twice the space of the old facility and allows for the consolidation of some operations outside of California. Among the features at Rancho Santa Margarita are three new avionics labs, a training center, metal and wire and cable fabrication capabilities, an actuator production shop, and test and study labs. Call 949-858-5469 for information.
Jet Aviation Adds Certifications
Jet Aviation Germany announced it received maintenance approvals for the Challenger 604 and Falcon 900EX at its Dusseldorf facility, and the IAI Galaxy at its Hannover site. Jet Aviation’s Zurich location was recently selected by Honeywell as an authorized service center for repair of Honeywell’s auxiliary power units in the GTCP 36, RE 100 and RE 200 series. Visit www.jetaviation.com.
AAR Authorized by Embraer
Embraer and AAR signed a three-year deal at the Paris Air Show that qualifies AAR Aircraft Component Services as an authorized service center for the maintenance and repair of components installed on aircraft manufactured by Embraer. Amsterdam-based AAR Aircraft Components Services is a division of AAR Corp. Visit www.aarcorp.com.
Thales Teams with TRW
UK-based TRW Aeronautical Systems and Thales Avionics have established a joint venture to develop and produce for the Airbus 380 a variable frequency electrical power system. The A380 will be the first large civil aircraft to adopt this technology, which substitutes for constant frequency power. Based in Buc, France, the joint venture is 60% owned by TRW and 40% by Thales. Visit www.thales-avionics.com and www.trw.com.
Collins HGS on the ERJ 145
Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics’ Head-up Guidance System (HGS) has been certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on the Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet. This includes approval for Category IIIa approaches (50 feet [15 meters] decision height and 650 feet [200 meters] runway visual range). The HGS will be a factory-installed option. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Air Traffic Control
ARINC’s AviNet at Newark
On Sept. 19, Newark (N.J.) International Airport is scheduled to be the first major airport in North America to have ARINC Inc.’s new wireless dispatch service. Based on Motorola’s iDEN technology, the service, called AviNet Wireless Dispatch Service, will allow persons on the airport tarmac or in the terminal or in the air to communicate in various ways: text messaging, voice communications, group calling/messaging, and automatic message answering and queuing. AviNet also offers six times the number of frequencies compared to an analog service.
Indeed, slated to be deployed at major airports throughout the continent, AviNet will eventually replace the older analog-based technology, or trunked radio service, according to ARINC. The wireless service will support data dispatch operations at airport ramps, terminal buildings, and cargo facilities. It also can interconnect with ARINC’s Wireless and Global Network Services to provide a link between airline operational centers and an airport’s mobile workforce.
In other news, British Airways recently renewed its agreement with ARINC. It calls for a global, VHF and satellite data-link service in Europe, North America and Asia. Visit www.arinc.com.
Thales Wins Saudi Job
Thales ATM signed a $12-million agreement with Saudi Arabia to supply navaids stations to the kingdom. The deal was formalized June 18 during the Paris Air Show.
Thales will provide en route navigation (VOR, DME, DVOR) and tactical air navigation equipment to existing sites and new locations. The equipment includes a solar-powered VOR/DME station. The contract requires a turnkey approach, including civil works, installation, commissioning and the training of engineers working for Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA). Visit www.thalesgroup.com.
Raytheon Wins DFS Contract
Germany’s Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), awarded Raytheon Co. a $20-million contract to provide the architecture and platform for the agency’s Very Advanced Air Traffic Control Automation System (VATCAS). VATCAS joins with DFS’ Very Advanced Flight Data Processing System and Displays to make up an overall program called Very Advanced Flight Data Processing Operational Requirements Implementation (VAFORIT).
Though the acronyms seem confusing, DFS’s intent is quite basic in concept: modernize to increase capacity and enhance safety. The new air traffic management system is meant to include more accurate aircraft positioning, comprehensive situational awareness and stripless environment for air traffic controllers. DFS will be able to transition to the Very Advanced Level, designated by the European Civil Aviation Conference. Visit www.raytheon.com.
Lockheed Wins ATOP Bid
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) selected a Lockheed Martin ATM-led team to modernize the agency’s oceanic air traffic management (ATM), covering some 23 million square miles of airspace. Under the Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) program, the team will upgrade systems at the air traffic control (ATC) centers in Oakland, Calif., New York, N.Y., and Anchorage, Alaska. The systems will interface with international air traffic systems to hand off outbound flights and accept flights inbound to the United States.
Lockheed Martin ATM is teamed with Adacel Technologies Ltd. and Airways Corp. of New Zealand. For the ATOP program, the Adacel oceanic ATM system will be integrated with Lockheed Martin’s Microprocessor En-route Automated Radar Tracking System (Micro-EARTS), the same combined system that is now operational in New Zealand. Airways New Zealand will provide training. The first center to be modernized will be Oakland, which is expected to be fully equipped by 2003.
Announcement of the ATOP winner follows about a two-year evaluation period, in which the Lockheed Martin-led team was in competition with an ARINC-led team that included Airsys ATM (now Thales ATM) and Airservices Australia. The modernization, according to Lockheed Martin ATM president Don Antonucci, is to "eliminate bottlenecks and increase efficiency and capacity" over airspace that is vital to "international commerce and economic development." Visit www.lockheedmartin.com.
Processors for Eurofighter
BAE Systems awarded a ï¿½2.35-million contract to Radstone Technology for its customized, rugged PowerPC processors, which will be integrated in the Eurofighter’s defensive aids subsystem (DASS) electronic warfare suite.
The processor, based on Radstone’s VMEbus PowerPC family, will replace an existing general-purpose processor and is among the first commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) modules to be integrated into the first level of the Eurofighter (aka Typhoon) production program. Five processors will be in each DASS unit. The first production versions are scheduled for delivery in October. Visit www.radstone.co.uk for more details.
Thales, Raytheon Partner
Upon receiving the green light from U.S. and European regulators, Thales and Raytheon Co. said they began operating their Thales Raytheon Systems joint venture on June 1. The new venture is an equally-owned business encompassing air defense/command and control centers and ground-based air surveillance and weapons locating radars. It has operating subsidiaries in Fullerton, Calif., and in and around Paris. See www.thalesgroup.com and www.raytheon.com.