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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Industry Scan

Publication Of ADS-B Out Performance Rule Starts The Clock Toward 2020

The FAA final rule establishing avionics performance requirements for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out capability by 2020 was announced May 27 in a Washington, D.C., teleconference.

FAA also issued advisory circular AC 20-165 in May, providing guidance for initial installation and airworthiness approval of ADS-B Out equipment on aircraft.

The publication of the final rule in the Federal Register came nearly three years after FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in October 2007. The final rule incorporates industry comments to the NPRM and to an Aviation Rulemaking Committee that was formed in 2007 and produced recommendations based on industry comments in September 2008.

The rule was approved by FAA last December and by the Department of Transportation earlier this year. Its release followed final review by the Office of Management and Budget.

Changes in the final rule include issues of antenna diversity, transmit power, latency and navigation accuracy.

On antenna diversity, the rule states, “In the NPRM, the FAA proposed an antenna diversity requirement that would support ADS-B In applications, such as Airport Surface Situational Awareness (ASSA) and Final Approach Runway Occupancy Awareness (FAROA). The FAA has reconsidered the need for antenna diversity in view of the comments submitted. The agency has determined that a single bottom-mounted antenna is the minimum requirement for ATC surveillance.”

FAA also said its decision to require a Navigation Accuracy Category for Position (NACp) less than 0.05 nautical miles “signifies that certain ADS-B In applications, including ASSA and FAROA, will not be fully supported.”

The final rule, effective Aug. 11 with a compliance date of Jan. 1, 2020, requires the use of 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (ES) transponders above 18,000 feet (FL180); below FL180, either 1090ES or 978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) are allowed to broadcast aircraft position.

ADS-B performance is required in Class A, B and C airspace; in Class E airspace at or above 10,000 feet MSL over the 48 contiguous states and District of Columbia, excluding airspace below 2,500 feet; airspace within 30 nautical miles of the nation’s busiest airports, from the surface to 10,000 feet; and in Class E airspace over the Gulf of Mexico at 3,000 feet and above, and within 12 nm of the coastline.

‘Green Light’

“Today’s announcement is the step across the threshold that we have been waiting a long time for,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who was joined on the teleconference by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“The final rule gives the green light to manufacturers to actually start building precision avionics,” Babbitt added. “The ADS-B Out performance requirements that we’re announcing today include accuracy, integrity, power and signal response time.”

In the final rule, FAA estimates the total costs to industry and government range from $3.3 billion to $7 billion, with industry equipage costs ranging from $2.5 billion to $6.2 billion.

“The big challenge, of course, would be for airlines to comply,” Babbitt acknowledged. Operational incentives, he said, will be based on the “best equipped, best served” concept.

“ADS-B is a supercharger, but you must have the equipment,” Babbitt instructed. “If you want all of the efficiency this has to offer, you must be equipped, because there is a benefit multiplier factor to NextGen. The more aircraft that are equipped, the more effective ADS-B becomes.”

Speaking June 9 during the Avionics Magazine Webinar, “ADS-B: Progress and Implementation,” Vincent Capezzuto, FAA director of Surveillance and Broadcast Services, said the agency estimates 185,000 general aviation aircraft will retrofit the necessary avionics, 7,000 to 8,000 air transport category aircraft and “upward of 13,000” Department of Defense aircraft.

Capezzuto said an Aviation Rulemaking Committee was to begin meeting in July to consider requirements for ADS-B In applications enabling the display of air traffic in the cockpit.

“We consider what we’ve been doing up to this point as being foundational toward NextGen and, much like your iPhone, as the hardware platform where you layer in applications,” he said. “Our airborne applications are the next steps and work that has to get formed.”

The ARC has been asked to produce an interim report by October and final report by September 2011 “with the hopes of putting some clarity around the maturity of the applications, their benefits and costs,” Capezzuto said.

“It may require further investments in the aircraft,” he added. “Recognizing that simultaneously we have a rule for ADS-B Out, this particular aviation rulemaking committee is really chartered to discuss the strategy going forward; it may not result in a rule.”

Also speaking during the webinar, Jeff Cochrane, Nav Canada manager of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Service Design, reported on Canada’s progress toward ADS-B implementation. The air navigation services provider in January 2009 announced the first flight over Hudson Bay using ADS-B tracking, an Air New Zealand 777-200 enroute from London to Los Angeles. In May that year, Nav Canada introduced priority handling of ADS-B eligible aircraft.

“After that inaugural flight in January (2009), we quickly moved to looking at how we could not only just surveil the aircraft but provide them better services,” Cochrane said. “We introduced priority handling of ADS-B aircraft, and essentially what we’re looking at is potential reroutes for aircraft that are using less airspace and therefore we can fit them in tighter with other tracks, be it longitudinally or laterally. The lateral separation allows us to keep aircraft at their preferred altitude longer or to give them preferred altitudes sooner.”

As of early June, Cochrane said, 573 aircraft operated by 20 airlines were participating in Hudson Bay overflights using ADS-B, nearly 50 percent of the traffic. Nav Canada expects that 85 percent of traffic will be using ADS-B by November this year.

“November this year we’re looking at initializing more air-traffic flow management,” he said. “The airspace is not restricted, it’s not segregated or exclusionary yet, but we anticipate by the volume of equipped airplanes, that if you are not ADS-B equipped, there’s a high likelihood you would be vectored around this airspace or not get your preferred altitude simply because those that are equipped are taking up the levels that are preferred.” — Bill Carey

To hear an archived version of the June 9 Avionics Magazine webinar, “ADS-B: Progress and Implementation,” visit www.aviationtoday.com/webinars/2010-0609.html

Commerical

NextGen Committee

FAA has asked standards organization RTCA to form a new advisory group of senior executives to focus on near- and mid-term implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

The new committee, chaired by FAA’s deputy administrator, will replace the Air Traffic Management Advisory Committee (ATMAC), which has served as a forum for producing consensus recommendations to FAA for air traffic management modernization.

According to an announcement by RTCA, the scope of the new board will expand to include participation from the broader aviation community, including air-traffic management, safety, airports, and environmental and global harmonization concerns.

“The committee’s mission will be in part to support and, when necessary, to identify opportunities for industry participation in NextGen implementation, and to help develop a common understanding of NextGen priorities in the context of overall NextGen capabilities and implementation challenges,” RTCA said.

The organization said it will work with FAA and industry partners over the next several months to establish the new committee. More information is expected at the RTCA Fall Symposium, co-organized by Avionics Magazine, Sept. 22 in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.aviationtoday.com/rtca.

SE2020 Awards

Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT Corp. in late May were awarded separate engineering contracts from FAA valued at up to $4.4 billion over 10 years under the agency’s System Engineering 2020 (SE2020) program.

The companies and subcontractors will conduct large-scale demonstrations, including the use of aircraft as flying laboratories, to see how NextGen concepts, procedures and technologies can be integrated into the current airspace system.

“NextGen is an intricate network of systems that involves everything from air-traffic control to weather,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We need to have the right tools to make sure we integrate all these different components safely and smoothly.”

The awards announced in May followed an initial contract award in April to CSSI Inc., of Washington, D.C., potentially worth $280 million.

FAA said two more contracts were expected under SE2020, which has a ceiling of $7 billion, making it the largest set of awards in agency history.

SESAR Joined

Member airlines of the European Low Fares Airlines Association (ELFAA) have joined with the SESAR Joint Undertaking to participate in the development phase of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program.

Following a call for tenders, ELFAA signed a framework contract to lend its expertise in executing SESAR work packages, the SESAR JU announced in May. The association confirmed participation by three of its members — Ryanair, Jet 2.com and Flybe. They will provide technical expertise by performing and analyzing live or simulated flight trials.

ELFAA members currently account for 35 percent of intra-European air traffic, according to the SESAR JU.

“Having ELFAA on board SESAR is essential,” stated Patrick Ky, SESAR JU executive director. “We need the involvement of all air transport actors to ensure applicability and acceptance of the SESAR technologies and procedures. The diversity of our members and partners is the key to success of our program and ELFAA helps us to close one more gap.”

Dash 8 Dashboard

Universal Avionics in June said its EFI-890R flat-panel display system was selected by Field Aviation of Canada as the flight deck component of its Dash 8 Q-Series Modernization Program.

The program will feature a five-panel EFI-890R display suite, including primary flight, navigation and engine displays, dual Vision-1 Synthetic Vision systems, radio control units and WAAS/SBAS flight management systems.

Universal Avionics is expected to have the final software and hardware design package available for installation and certification this year. Integration and installation will be done by Field Aviation.

Business/GA

Gulfstream Milestones

Gulfstream Aerospace in June announced the following milestones:

➤ The company’s Flight Operations Department received FAA approval to use the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A data link on its G450, becoming the first business jet manufacturer to receive such approval. FANS 1/A use applies to G450s equipped with the Certification Foxtrot version of Gulfstream’s PlaneView flight deck, based on Honeywell Primus Epic avionics.

The enhanced package adds Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) to Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Contract (ADS-C), completing the FANS 1/A capability.

➤ Gulfstream received FAA operational capability approval for its large-cabin jets equipped with PlaneView Certification Foxtrot to fly Required Navigation Performance-Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (RNP-SAAAR) approaches to a minimum RNP value of 0.1 nautical miles. Gulfstream received operational capability approval to fly RNP-SAAAR approaches to a minimum of RNP 0.3 in late 2007.

➤ The airframer installed the Kollsman General Aviation Vision System (GAViS) on a Gulfstream GIV.

The infrared camera system is now available for GV, GIV and GIII aircraft. Images can be displayed on a Honeywell CD-820 FMS control and display unit or another approved device, such as an electronic flight bag.

➤ The third Gulfstream G650 (S/N 6003), the primary testbed for avionics, joined the flight-test program.

The G650 program involves five aircraft performing 1,800 hours of testing; the fourth and fifth will be production aircraft. The G650 flight-test program officially began Nov. 25, 2009.

Falcon 7X Satcom

Honeywell said its MCS-7120 satcom system has been type certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the Dassault Falcon 7X.

The MCS-7120 provides integrated voice and high-speed data communications for cabin and cockpit applications. The SwiftBroadband system combines a satellite terminal (model HD-710) with a Cabin Communications Gateway System that includes an Internet Protocol-PBX, network router and wireless access point (models CG-710 and CR-710).

Inmarsat SwiftBroadband is capable of providing five times more bandwidth per channel than the current on-demand circuit mode Swift-64 (64Kbps) service.

Military

Computing Environment

The Naval Air Systems Command Air Combat Electronics program office (PMA-209) is developing a Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) for airborne computing platforms.

FACE is a set of standards and processes for computer systems that will establish an open, modular, partitioned environment, resulting in a more flexible and cost effective airborne computing environment, NAVAIR said.

“Today’s mission system upgrades are very expensive, take a long time to complete, require extensive testing and the network implementations are often not interoperable,” said Capt. Ralph Portnoy, PMA-209 program manager. “With FACE, we are looking to develop a modern processing environment that’s open, modular, portable, partitioned, expandable and secure.”

PMA-209 needs a library of cross-platform portable applications that will run on different hardware configurations, Portnoy said. The key is to ensure those hardware suites and their operating environments are FACE compliant. The common environment also will prevent duplication of software with similar or identical functions that will not run on different aircraft.

“Anyone will be able to write a software application for their aircraft,” said Mike Williamson, PMA-209 deputy program manager. “NAVAIR and the platform program office will test it and if it meets the requirement, we’ll add it to the software library and get it to the Fleet as quickly as we can.”

At the PMA-209 user’s conference in Reno in March, five companies ran demonstrations of their versions of a FACE prototype. The Open Group, an international IT consortium, is leading development of the FACE Consortium to select existing industry and government standards to define FACE.

Prototyping Facility

The Naval Air Systems Command officially opened a new Aircraft Prototype Facility (APF) at Patuxent River, Md., Naval Air Station.

The APF, the only facility of its kind in the United States, according to the Navy, will support RDT&E of aircraft modifications in the areas of survivability, sensors, electronic warfare, weapons and low observable systems and subsystems.

The objective of the facility “is to reduce mission critical gaps” in these areas on current weapons platforms, said Matt Protzman, deputy head of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) and APF director. Projects now can be executed from concept design through testing at a single site.

“The name is a bit misleading because this facility will be home to far more than just aircraft — it represents the future of rapid design and prototyping for many different systems,” said Vice Adm. David Architzel, NAVAIR commander.

The $15 million project was awarded in April 2008. Construction of the two-story facility began in January 2009.

Kontron Acquisition

Kontron AG, of Eching, Germany, through its U.S. subsidiary acquired AP Labs Group, of San Diego, provider of embedded computer systems and rugged enclosures, Kontron announced May 21.

AP Labs Group will be integrated with Kontron’s North American headquarters, also based in San Diego. Kontron said it expects the two subsidiaries to generate $30 million in combined annual revenue.

Kontron in 2008 acquired Thales Computers SA from Thales Group, gaining strength in the defense and aerospace markets. The U.S. Defense Department accreditation of AP Labs facilitates even better access for Kontron to the high-margin U.S. market, the company said.

“We are strengthening ourselves both regionally in the USA, and also in the area of high-margin complete solutions,” stated Kontron CEO Ulrich Gehrmann. Curtiss-Wright Purchase

Curtiss-Wright Corp., Parsippany, N.J, signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Hybricon Corp., of Ayer, Mass., for $19 million in cash.

Hybricon supplies electronic packaging for aerospace and defense markets.

“We are very excited about adding Hybricon’s electronic enclosure technologies and expertise to our existing defense and aerospace system integration operations,” said David Adams, Curtiss-Wright co-chief operating officer.

Hybricon had 2009 sales of approximately $17 million, with an 85 percent concentration in the defense market. The company will operate in Curtiss-Wright’s Motion Control segment, within the Electronic Systems division.

Unmanned Systems

UAS Integration Study

Thales announced June 15 that it had completed a “decisive” year-long European technical design study of appropriate command and control radio frequencies for integrating military unmanned aircraft systems with general air traffic.

Thales lead a group of 23 companies in the effort, called SIGAT for Study on military frequency spectrum allocations for the Insertion into General Air Traffic of UAS. It aims to define a common European positon for the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference.

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