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Tuesday, January 1, 2002

Industry Scan

Notebook for Lauda Air
Austria’s Lauda Air has selected Itronix Corp.’s X-C6250Pro and GoBook notebook computers for the carrier’s maintenance program. The wireless mobile PCs’ data broadcasting feature makes them usable in the aircraft, hangar, airfield or foreign airports. The computers are equipped with an integrated wireless GSM (global system for mobile communications) module, which allows maintenance personnel to contact remotely located technicians by phone, voice mail, fax or Internet without a fixed connection. Lauda Air technical centers in Bangkok and Glasgow are performing work using electronic manuals. Visit http://www.itronix.co.uk.

Rheintalflug Orders Collins HGS
Austrian regional airline Rheintalflug has chosen the Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics head-up guidance system (HGS) as an option for its Embraer ERJ-145 fleet. With HGS, Rheintalflug can fly in low-visibility weather conditions, including Cat IIIa approach (200 meters runway visual range [RVR]) and low-visibility takeoff (75 meters RVR). The system also allows enhanced Cat I approaches (down to 450 meters RVR) and full Cat II approaches (300 meters RVR) on some type I runways.

Collins’ holographic combiner overlays critical flight information on the HGS, providing flight path awareness in all flight phases and improving situational awareness, energy management, approach stability and touchdown precision. Visit http://www.rockwellcollins.com.

TRW Power for the Falcon 7X
TRW Aeronautical Systems (Lucas Aerospace) will supply the hydromechanical flap and airbrake systems and the electrical power generation and management system for Dassault’s new three-engine Falcon 7X long-range business jet under contracts worth about $350 million. The work covers an estimated 400 aircraft and aftermarket lifecycle support.

The flap system includes a cockpit control lever that signals a power drive unit to provide output torque via transmission shafting to power the wing flap surface actuators. The airbrake system reduces wing lift and aircraft forward speed while increasing the descent rate, slowing the aircraft on descent. Another cockpit control lever signals an hydraulic control unit to power the airbrake surface actuators.

TRW’s power generation and management system for the Falcon 7X comprises the main and auxiliary DC generators, with controls, primary power distribution panels and secondary power distribution panels using solid state power controllers. Visit http://www.trw-aeronautical.com.

Global Express HUD Approved
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada have certified the Thales head-up flight display system (HFDS) for the Bombardier Global Express business jet. Approval from the European Joint Aviation Authorities was expected shortly at press time. Bombardier plans to offer the system through a service bulletin at all of the company’s business aviation service facilities and completion centers. Two customer aircraft have been equipped and seven others have been partially equipped. The HFDS provides guidance information in all flight phases, as well as in recovery from unusual aircraft attitudes. It can simultaneously display all traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) symbols and present electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) functions.

The Thales 40-by-26-degree system includes a computer, optical projector and combiner. The field of view is 28 percent larger than comparable systems, Bombardier claims.

Bombardier also plans to initiate development of an enhanced vision system (EVS) for the Global Express this year. The EVS effort was accelerated by the FAA’s approval of HFDS and a clearer definition of EVS certification requirements. Visit http://www.aero.bombardier.com.

New Thales Unit
Thales has officially opened a new Maritime Patrol Mission Systems Integration business under Thales Airborne Systems Canada (TASCA). The maritime unit will integrate and install sensors and data management systems in maritime patrol mission aircraft. An example of this work is the company’s Airborne Maritime Situation Control System (AMASCOS), which has been ordered by Japan and Indonesia and is the basis of Thales’ offering to the Canadian Aurora and Maritime Helicopter programs.

Thales expects to build a team of 100 people at the new business unit within three years. Visit http://www.thalesgroup.com.

King Air 90 Suite
Woodland Aviation, an authorized Raytheon aircraft support center, has put together an avionics package for the King Air 90 called the "SuperiorSafety Retrofit." Designed to enhance situational awareness, the package includes Avidyne’s FlightMax 850 flight situational display, which replaces existing radar indicators. It interfaces with the Goodrich WX-500 weather mapping system and enhanced SkyWatch traffic system, the Honeywell KGP 560 Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), and the AirCell data link. These systems have been installed and have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the King Air 90. The full package would take 21 working days to install, says a Woodland Aviation official. Visit http://www.woodlandaviation.com.

Airbus/SITA Test VDL-2
Airbus and SITA completed the first flight test of a new VHF digital link (VDL-2) data link via an Airbus 320 that linked SITA’s new VHF ground station to a host computer in the Airbus laboratory. VDL-2 provides a data rate of 31.5 kilobits/sec (Kbits/sec), more than 10 times the throughput of the current 2.4-Kbit/sec airborne communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) link. The VDL-2 link protocol, known as the aviation VHF link control (AVLC), initially will transport messages for ACARS in a system called ACARS-over-AVLC (AOA). The more than 5,000 aircraft that have been equipped with ACARS over the last two decades can communicate with airline flight operations personnel and air traffic controllers via SITA’s AIRCOM network.

The Oct. 25, 2001, exercise tested analog-to-VDL switching, handoffs between VDL ground stations, VDL coverage, and transmission of uplinked and downlinked data.

SITA launched VDL-2 service, known as VDL AIRCOM, in mid-2001. A SITA official claims emphasis in advancing VDL-2 has shifted to Europe since the the terrorist acts of Sept. 11 have altered priorities in the United States. SITA upgraded 30 of its 650 VHF stations and plans to have VDL-2 coverage worldwide by 2004. Along with the aeronautical mobile service (AMSS), VDL AIRCOM comprises the backbone for supporting the aeronautical telecommunication network (ATN) standards approved by ICAO for air traffic services data link applications. Visit http://www.sita.int.

Voice Network Improved
ARINC Inc. has launched an upgrade to its air/ground domestic (AGD) radio networks in the United States that is designed to eliminate the static and distortion of analog voice communications. ARINC is installing routers at radio sites that convert the analog signal to a digital signal. The upgrade utilizes digital voice over frame relay. The frame relay is similar to an Internet protocol, but it need not be as flexible, since it involves communications from one fixed location to another, according to an ARINC spokesman. The AGD networks use the 129.45-MHz frequency. For persons who use standard VHF analog radios, the system changeover will be seamless, according to ARINC, except for a noticeable improvement in voice quality.

ARINC has 15 AGD networks. The new digital technology is installed on its East Coast network. ARINC says it plans to have all 15 networks upgraded by the end of this year. Visit http://www.arinc.com.

Set for VDL Mode 2
Working with ARINC Inc., Teledyne Controls has completed development of the VHF data link (VDL) Mode 2 router capability for the ARINC 758 communication management unit (CMU). This capability allows 31.5-kilobit/sec digital communications over new ARINC and SITA air/ground networks, using a dual-mode (Mode A and Mode 2) ARINC 750 VHF digital radio. Teledyne Controls rcently completed avionics qualification procedure (AQP) testing of the router at ARINC facilities. Visit http://www.teledyne.com.

Aircraft Security from Qualcomm
With an eye on the current emphasis in aircraft security, Qualcomm Inc. proposes using the Globalstar satellite network to enable live video and audio monitoring of the cockpit and cabin. The basic, two-way Multiple Data rate Satellite communication System (MDSS) can provide digital voice and data services at up to 128 kilobits/sec.

Other safety applications could include remote control of aircraft cameras, transmission of real-time flight data to the ground, dedicated voice links for air marshals to the cockpit and ground, and backup transponders with aircraft identification, altitude, speed and location data.

MDSS non-safety aviation applications are in the final phases of the supplemental type certificate (STC) approval process, says Scott Becker, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm Wireless Systems. Qualcomm has demonstrated the system on a Challenger 604. The company has not yet submitted a request for certification of the safety applications but has developed the MDSS solution in accordance with RTCA’s specification for safety and non-safety services. Visit http://www.qualcomm.com.

...and from Honeywell
Since announcing its security initiative last year (see December 2001, page 23), Honeywell has begun preliminary work on an image recorder and is eyeing a three-purpose cockpit voice, flight data and cockpit/cabin image recorder (at approximately three frames/sec). The image-only recorder could be developed in six months and the triple-mode recorder in 18 to 24 months, a Honeywell spokesman says.

Honeywell has quoted a two- or three-phase cabin awareness and warning system (CAWS) to customers. A system using one or two cameras with a video monitor in the flight deck could be available in three to six months. But Honeywell recommends that carriers adopt a system that allows growth to additional applications, such as runway incursion monitoring. And Honeywell has quoted a satcom/airphone-based, "open mic" system to allow the broadcast of cockpit audio to the ground.

Enhanced Vision Advances
For nearly a month, pilots with the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines flew more than 100 approaches to runway 7/25 at Eagle Airport in Colorado. On each approach, the pilots were testing the Synthetic Vision Information System (SVIS), produced by Rockwell Collins in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Aviation Safety Program.

A NASA Boeing 757 was fitted with the Collins Flight Dynamics HGS 4000 head-up display (HUD) and a GPS receiver for the tests. Knowing the aircraft’s exact position from the GPS receiver, the "super-accurate" terrain database onboard the B757 was able to produce for pilots "tunnel guidance" on the HUD. (This imagery also could be shown on a head-down display.) These visual cues were overlaid with synthetic terrain images to help safely guide pilots down an intended flight path in poor visibility conditions. For more on this program, visit http://www.rockwellcollins.com and http://www.nasa.gov.

Brazil’s Radars Upgraded
The Brazilian Air Force has awarded Thales Air Traffic Management (ATM) a $121-million contract to modernize 79 primary and secondary radars, which are 20 years old. The modernization program, to be completed by 2004, is to extend the radars’ useful life by 15 years. Visit http://www.thalesgroup.com.

VCCS for Norway
Norway’s Air Traffic and Airport Management (formerly the Civil Aviation Authority) recently signed an agreement to acquire up to 16 voice communication and control systems (VCCS) over the next five years for installation in the country’s regional airports. The agreement was co-signed by Park Air Systems, which will install five of its Garex 220 voice switches in early 2002. Systems emplaced at the larger airports will accommodate up to 13 radio channels and 15 telephone interfaces. The Garex 220 switches will include touch screen panels and a Windows2000-based management and reconfiguration terminal which runs the Garex software package. Park Air Systems is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corp. Visit http://www.parkairsystems.com.

New CEATS Members
The government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina recently became the newest member of Central European Air Traffic Services (CEATS), the Eurocontrol program established to develop a joint regional control center. The CEATS center would control the upper airspace of eight countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. CEATS, which Eurocontrol launched in 1997, is part of a wider effort to consolidate control of European airspace. Visit http://www.eurocontrol.be.

AirTV Joins with Tenzing
Joining the strategic-alliance bandwagon to deliver comprehensive cabin communications systems, AirTV and Tenzing Communications have formed an agreement that would have the companies jointly provide to the air transport market airborne e-mail and Internet access, along with TV programming. AirTV is developing a global broadband communications system that uses S-band satellites to provide real-time news, sports, business, commerce and safety information. The satellites, which are to be operational in 2004, will supply more than 40 channels of video and audio entertainment plus 40 megabits/sec connection to e-mail, Internet and data.

Tenzing already has arrangements to deploy its Ku-band e-mail service on aircraft operated by at least six airlines. With the AirTV partnership, customer airlines can upgrade from a narrowband to a wideband service or provide an interim service that offers, say, several channels of television over a limited geographic area. Visit http://www.airtv.net and http://www.tenzing.com.

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