New Washington Area TRACON
A new terminal radar approach control (TRACON) facility that consolidates five TRACONs in the Washington-Baltimore area began operation in late 2002. The Potomac Consolidated TRACON in Warrenton, Va., will federate facilities at Washington Dulles, Washington Ronald Reagan, Baltimore-Washington and Richmond (Va.) airports, as well as at Andrews Air Force Base.
The new TRACON began operation in December 2002 with 60 air traffic controllers from Washington Dulles. Controllers are to be transferred from the other four facilities over a four-month period. When the consolidation is complete, the Potomac TRACON will have about 300 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees managing some 5,000 flights daily in 23,000 square miles (59,570 square kilometers) of airspace.
The new TRACON necessitates the redesign of the airspace in the Washington-Baltimore area. The current design, which was established some 40 years ago, is rigidly partitioned among the four commercial airports. FAA claims the new airspace design will allow more direct routings and quicker ascents to higher altitudes. It will also allow aircraft to stay higher longer, reducing fuel burn and noise impacts.
The Potomac TRACON is equipped with Lockheed Martin ATM’s Common ARTS (Automated Radar Terminal System) with color controller workstations. The new facility represents the 141st installation of the system. Visit www.faa.gov and www.lockheedmartin.com/atm.
Honeywell Acquires Baker Electronics
Honeywell has acquired Baker Electronics Inc., joining its prime competitors, Thales and Rockwell Collins, in providing nose-to-tail aircraft electronics. The Sarasota, Fla.-based business, now called Honeywell Cabin Management Systems and Services (HCMSS), is part of Honeywell Aerospace Electronic Systems. Tim Swords, Honeywell’s former director of new product development, is HCMSS’ site leader, reporting to John Uczekaj, executive vice president and general manager of Honeywell Business, Regional and General Aviation Avionics.
Baker manufactures cabin management systems, entertainment systems, cabin displays, in-flight connectivity and airborne satellite radios primarily for the business aircraft market. The company expected certification of its MP digital cabin management system by early this year. "Once we finish with that program, we plan to go on and develop a new Ethernet-based system," says Swords.
Honeywell plans to join its cockpit avionics and high-speed data technologies with Baker’s cabin systems technology. "We’re looking at functions [in Baker products] that will integrate with our Primus Epic system," says Uczekaj. Distinguishing itself from its main U.S. competitor, Honeywell plans to focus its new business on corporate aircraft, while Collins Commercial Systems concentrates on the air transport market.
Baker has about 220 employees and takes in some $25 million in gross revenue, mostly from sales to original equipment manufacturers. Visit www.honeywell.com.
FAA Selects Radio Source
The Federal Aviation Administration awarded on Dec. 12, 2002, the contract for up to 20,000 UHF air traffic control (ATC) radios to General Dynamics Decision Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz. The contract calls for a minimum of 1,000 radios, valued at $5.8 million, but the potential value could reach $119 million for radios delivered over a 10-year period. En-route ATC centers will use CM-300 radios to communicate with military aircraft flying at cruising altitude. Evolving from General Dynamics’ CM-200 UHF radio, the CM-300 was designed for greater efficiency and protection against interference. General Dynamics won the radio contract in a competition with ITT Industries, teamed with Park Air Systems. Visit www.generaldynamics.com.
‘Listening’ for Air Turbulence
A U.S. Department of Transportation contract has been awarded to continue the development of a laser listening device that warns of hazardous air turbulence at airports. Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Syracuse, N.Y., and Flight Safety Technologies (FST) were allotted $1.1 million to enter the third phase of Project SOCRATES (Sensor for Characterizing Ring-eddy Atmospheric Turbulence Emanating Sound), which is to develop a device that can "hear" the sound generated by such atmospheric conditions as wake vortices. During NASA testing at Langley AFB, Va., SOCRATES scored 100 percent in detecting and tracking the location of wake vortices from over-flights made by NASA aircraft. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com/syracuse/ and www.flysafetech.com.
Air France Industries Touts Airbus Support
Air France Industries (AFI) now maintains more than 100 Airbus A330/A340 aircaft, more than 70 percent of which are operated by third-party airlines. AFI recently signed A330 support agreements with Star Airlines (component support, light and heavy maintenance) and My Travel (extension of component support contract). These deals add to recent agreements with Virgin Atlantic (A340-600) and Royal Jordanian (A340-200).
The Air France unit already claims leadership in A320 support, with 231 aircraft, 117 of which are operated by third-party airlines. Overall Air France Industries maintains 333 Airbus aircraft, almost 57 percent of which are operated by third-party airlines. Visit www.airfrance.fr.
Intelligent Flight Control
NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center has begun validation flights on a modified F-15B for an Intelligent Flight Control System (IFCS) based on "self-learning" neural net software. The goal is to automatically adjust flight controls in a battle-damaged aircraft, enabling it to be flown to a controlled landing. Software hosted in the flight control computers would compare actual flight systems performance data with data representing normal operations and make the necessary compensations. The IFCS team also includes Boeing and the Institute for Scientific Research in Fairmont, W.Va. The group began a series of six to 10 flights in December 2002.
A second project, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Va., aims to develop a reliable, autonomous, adaptive flight control system that can perform mission planning and management functions, include built-in-test and fault detection algorithms, execute primary flight control functions and respond to faults and aberrant conditions. A small unmanned air vehicle will serve as the engineering test bed. The project uses OSE Systems’ OSE real-time operating system.
S-92 Gets COTS Operating System
Sikorsky’s new S-92 helicopter recently received Federal Aviation Administration type certification, using Green Hills Software’s commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Integrity real-time operating system in an avionics management system (AMS) certified to the Level A of the DO-178B software specification. Developed by Rockwell Collins, AMS provides the display and management of primary flight data, as well as the presentation and management of navigation information.
An earlier version of Integrity will run under the hood of the U.S. Air Force B-1B bomber, as part of the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program (CMUP), which improves hardware, software and weapons capabilities. The program also uses Green Hill’s compiler and debugger to develop application code. CMUP’s "Basic Block E," which adds computers and Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) capability, has completed initial operational test and evaluation. Upgrade kits are being ordered and installations will begin in FY 2004. Visit www.ghs.com.
Spirent Supplies the Navy
The U.S. Navy has contracted Spirent Systems to supply computer aided debrief systems (CADS) for use as training tools on board legacy aviation flight and tactics simulators for the Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNAP). Spirent is teamed with Washington-based National Systems Management, which serves as prime contractor for the training modernization program. CNAP is conducting a site requirements review of all its legacy aviation simulators for CADS implementation. Spirent’s CADS and ReVision digital debrief device were shown to fill the Navy’s requirements at VS-41 (S-3B training) and HSL-41 (SH-60 Seahawk training) at North Island Naval Air Station in California. Now the service is pursuing further orders of the systems. Visit www.spirent-systems.com.
Green Light for Broadband
The regulatory agencies in Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have granted authorization for Boeing to use a range of Ku-band radio frequencies for its Connexion by Boeing mobile information service. This gives Lufthansa German Airlines and British Airways the green light to begin a three-month demonstration of broadband connectivity on board commercial aircraft. The demonstration will take place during this year’s first quarter.
Meanwhile, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to become a Connexion by Boeing customer. The MoU calls for the installation of a broadband data and entertainment service in 11 SAS long-haul aircraft and includes options to expand the service. Visit www.connexionbyboeing.com.
Mixed Holiday Season
The 2002 holiday season was a bit of a mixed blessing for air transport industry. Along with the news that United Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 9 comes a report from the flight schedule data provider, OAG, that air travel during the Christmas holiday season in the United States increased by an average 8 percent over 2001. In its quarterly report of flight operations at 25 major U.S. airports, OAG listed six airports as the top performers in terms of increased activity over the 2001 season. These are Washington-Ronald Reagan, Chicago-Midway, Denver, New York-John F. Kennedy, Memphis and New York-La Guardia.
Not all of the major U.S. airports saw an increase in aircraft traffic during the holidays. Among those that saw a decline, compared to the 2001 holiday season, are Pittsburgh (-14 percent), Charlotte (-8 percent), Baltimore-Washington (-6 percent) and Las Vegas McCarran (-4 percent)." Visit www.oag.com.
Studies Focus on UAV Refueling
NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center is using a highly instrumented F/A-18A, configured as a tanker, to develop general analytical models of tanker drogue and basket behavior that can be applied to the problem of air-to-air refueling of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The NASA study is one of three under an Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR) program managed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Two other studies are being conducted at Boeing facilities in Saint Louis and Long Beach, Calif., with the unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) as the platform of immediate interest.
NASA’s AAR project aims to systematically identify and isolate factors influencing the behavior of the refueling system–such as flight conditions, atmospheric conditions (turbulence), tanker wake, receiver forebody wake, and the shape, fuel condition and composition of the drogue and basket–and to use the data to develop a mathematical model. The model then will allow the services and their UAV designers to substitute the effects of the F/A-18A with the effects of UCAV or other unmanned receivers and other tanker aircraft, says project manager, Gerard Schkolnik. NASA is using an F/A-18B as the receiver aircraft. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Naval Air Systems Command, the Naval Air Force (Pacific Fleet), Canadian Air Force and Northrop Grumman also are participating in the AAR program. Visit www.dfrc.nasa.gov.
Bizjet Flight Planning
ARINC Inc. and Sabre Holdings Corp. have formed a team to offer new flight planning software and Web-enabled flight planning services to corporate aircraft operators. The package will be bundled with ARINC Direct, a data link and flight information service that generates flight plans. ARINC Direct now can be uploaded to the cockpit. Visit www.arinc.com and www.sabre.com.
New Falcon 50 Panel
IFR Avionics, Van Nuys, Calif., has attained the supplemental type certificate (STC) for a Universal Avionics Systems suite in the Dassault Falcon 50 business jet. The support center swapped old flight instrumentation for four Universal Avionics EFI-600 flat panel displays. The Falcon 50 also includes the manufacturer’s MFD-640 6.4-inch (diagonal) flat-panel multifunction display, which presents imagery from a terrain awareness warning system and the aircraft’s dual UNS-1C+ flight management systems. Visit www.uasc.com and www.ifravionics.com
Sky Computers Inc., Chelmsford, Mass.; Interactive Circuits and Systems Ltd. (ICS), Gloucester, Ontario; and SensorCom Inc., Annapolis, Md., have formed a strategic alliance with the intent of designing systems for software-defined radio applications. In the alliance, ICS will provide the analog-to-digital, digital-to-analog and radio frequency capabilities. Sky will provide the advanced signal processing. And SensorCom will add the applications software suite and final acceptance testing. Visit www.skycomputers.com, www.ics-ltd.com and www.sensorcom.com.
By the end of 2002, 90 pilots had completed simulator training in FlightSafety International’s Savannah (Ga.) Learning Center to become FAA-qualified for enhanced vision system (EVS) flight operations. Training was in an EVS-equipped Gulfstream G-V cockpit simulator that was certified in April 2002. By mid-2003, FlightSafety plans to have a Gulfstream G550 simulator with an EVS head-up display (HUD) approved for flight training. The EVS HUD, which uses infrared imagery, comes standard in the long-range G550. Visit www.flightsafety.com.
Gulfstream IV-SP EVS
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the Gulfstream enhanced vision system (EVS) for use on the GIV-SP aircraft in December 2002. The supplemental type certificate (STC) allows the EVS to be retrofitted on GIV-SPs, incorporating the new technology in the aircraft’s Honeywell SPZ8400 avionics suite. The EVS system, which has infrared imagery projected on a head-up display, was certified for use on the Gulfstream V in 2001. Visit www.gulfstream.com.
Argentina’s expanded Ezeiza area control center recently entered operation with Lockheed Martin’s Skyline air traffic control (ATC) system, which allows the center’s controllers to observe and direct air traffic monitored by the country’s five radars plus one radar in Montevideo, Uruguay. Managed by the Argentine Air Force’s Comando de Regiones Aereas, Division de Sensores Radar, the Ezeiza center has absorbed, through consolidation, the functions once provided at the Aeroparque approach center. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com/atm.
ARINC Engineering Services LLC has gained a five-year, $24-million contract to provide air traffic control (ATC) engineering and technical services for the U.S. Navy’s Space & Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Command in Charleston, S.C. The contracted services are to include engineering design and technical and computer support for naval ATC systems. Visit www.arinc.com.
Crane Buys GTC
Crane Aerospace, Lynnwood, Wash., has acquired for $25 million Albuquerque-based, employee-owned General Technology Corp. (GTC), which produces printed circuit boards, custom integrated systems, electromechanical devices and cable and wire harnesses. Crane Aerospace produces power systems, sensors and other products for the aerospace industry. Visit www.craneaerospace.com.
Multilateration at Heathrow
What is reported to be the first operational use of a multilateration system for air traffic control began in December 2002 at London Heathrow airport. Sensis Corp.’s Multistatic Dependent Surveillance (MDS) system, a unit that interacts with aircraft and ground-vehicle transponders to determine their position and identification, is used to manage surface traffic at the UK airport. Visit www.sensis.com.
JSF Antenna Suite
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to develop, produce and test the communications, navigation and identification (CNI) integrated body antenna suite for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The suite for each aircraft will include one S-band, two UHF, two radar altimeter and three L-band antennas. Visit www.ball.com/aerospace/.
An article in our January issue incorrectly identified the Web site of Rogerson Kratos. The correct address is www.rogersonkratos.com.