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Thursday, March 1, 2001

Industry Scan

First Continuum on G-IIs

Rockwell Collins announced in January the first certification of its Pro Line 21 Continuum avionics upgrade package, for the Gulfstream II and IIB business aircraft. The installation includes four FDS-2000 5-inch liquid crystal flight displays, the TCAS-4000 traffic alert collision avoidance system (with change 7), dual AHS-3000A solid-state attitude heading and reference systems, and the Pro Line nav/com sensor package. Duncan Aviation installed the equipment on the G-II, shown here, and secured the required supplemental type certificates (STCs). See www.collins.rockwell.com.

Honeywell Buys Trimble Line

Honeywell purchased in January the air transport system line of products made by Trimble; these include the Honeywell/ Trimble HT 1000, HT 9000 and HT 9100 receivers and Trimble TNL 8100 flight management system. So far, about 2,200 units of the product line have been sold. The purchase price for the Trimble units was not disclosed. For more information, visit www.honeywell.com.

ADS-B On in Alaska

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) activated in January the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system in the Bethel, Alaska, area, where the agency’s Capstone program is taking place. At the same time, the FAA approved ADS-B for use in Capstone in instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions.

Currently, the IFR capability is restricted to the about 101,000-square-mile area surrounding Bethel. There is no radar coverage there, so ADS-B is being used to safely separate air traffic. Aircraft flying in the Bethel area are equipped with ADS-B systems made by UPS Aviation Technologies. Capstone is an accelerated effort to improve aviation safety and efficiency through the installation of Global Positioning System (GPS)-based avionics and data link communications suites in most commercial aircraft serving the area surrounding Bethel. For more on the program, see www.alaska.faa.gov/capstone.

GPS Training

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA’s) Air Safety Foundation now provides Web links to operation manuals and simulators for all major Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. "GPS navigation has become a navigational standard," explains Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the Foundation. "Unfortunately, GPS receivers are anything but standardized." He believes the links particularly will help renter pilots who often must use a variety of GPS receivers. See www.aopa.org.

New in Message Management

Chicago Express Airlines has signed a contract with ARINC Inc. for GLOBALink/VHF data link service, which provides Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) capability. The airline also signed a contract to be the launch customer for OpCenter, ARINC’s message management system. ARINC describes this new system as "an intuitive tool that employs Web browser technology with a graphical interface to simplify dispatcher communications with flight crews and other ground personnel." See www.arinc.com.

What (More) is in a Name?

Acronyms in the aviation industry are as unending as sunsets. You may have read that the new name for Thomson-CSF derives from the ancient mathematician (he calculated the height of the pyramids from the length of their shadows) and astronomer, Thales. Well, not totally. It seems that the Thales name also conveniently combines the company’s old name with that of a recent Thomson-CSF acquisition: THomson racAL Electronic Systems. Acronyms forever.

Elliott’s New STCs

Elliott Aviation recently received two new supplemental type certificates (STCs). It gained FAA approval to install the Rockwell Collins TCAS-4000 traffic alert collision avoidance system in King Air 200s, 300s and 350s. And it received an STC for installation of Honeywell’s Mark VII enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) in Falcon 10 business jets. Elliott has facilities in Moline, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Omaha, Neb. See www.elliottaviation.com.

Know Your N1

CitationShares has ordered 50 N1 computers (one shown right) from Safe Flight Instruments Corp. (SFI), White Plains, N.Y., for its fleet of Citation CJ1s and Bravos. (CitationShares is the recent joint venture of Cessna Aircraft and TAG Aviation, offering fractional ownership of the Citation business jets.)

SFI also recently delivered its 50th AutoPower system for the Challenger 604. Integrated with the 604’s Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics suite, AutoPower was designed to provide automatic thrust control of N1, airspeed or Mach for climb, cruise, descent and approach. For more on SFI, phone 914-946-9500 or e-mail phfleiss@safeflight.com.

Upgraded Simulators

SimuFlite recently completed the visual-system upgrade of its Citation V simulator (shown above). This achievement is part of the company’s program, begun in 1999, to upgrade its fleet of 14 Level C, business aircraft simulators. So far, the new visual system has been installed on simulators for the Citation III/IV, Gulfstream III, Hawker 700, Learjet 55 and Westwind. By the end of this year, the upgrade is scheduled to be complete on the Citation II/SII; Falcon 10, 20 and 50; Gulfstream II/IIB; King Air 200; and Learjet 24, 25, 35 and 36. The upgrade involves swapping old Link Miles Image III image generators (and a McDonnell VITAL IV generator, in the Citation V) with CAE Maxvue Plus daylight systems and Barco/EIS monitor replacement projectors. See www.simuflite.com.

Repair Center First

Precision Electronics became in January the first official Honeywell/Grimes repair center. According to Honeywell/Grimes, Precision Electronics thus receives exclusive "privileges" such as pricing, technical data and support, and the ability to sign warranty agreements with customers to service OEM warranty covered items. Honeywell/Grimes, which seeks to improve customer service through agreements with repair centers, produces lighting systems for aircraft.

GPS Receivers for Honeywell

Honeywell recently contracted BAE Systems Canada to provide Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, to be integrated in Honeywell’s version of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS) and in Honeywell aircraft navigation and landing products. Value of the multiyear agreement could reach $33 million. BAE Systems Canada’s CMA-4024 is a 24-channel receiver, which offers growth potential to Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and LAAS Cat. IIIb approach capability. Visit www.baesystems-canada.com and www.honeywell.com.

JAS’ New Recorders

Japan Air System (JAS) recently ordered from Thales Avionics 74 Eqar extended-storage, quick access recorders for its fleet, which comprises Boeing 777s, MD 81/87s, MD 90s and Airbus A300-600s. Developed by Thales Airborne Systems, the Eqar can also be used as an aircraft condition monitoring system (ACMS) recorder, and on an optical disk will record flight data parameters and provide maintenance analysis. See www.sextant.thomson-csf.com.

Dash-8 Simulator

FlightSafety International, in Seattle, Wash., recently received FAA certification for its latest full flight simulator, the Q400, for the Bombardier Dash 8 regional turboprop. Designed and built by FlightSafety Simulation, in Tulsa, Okla., the Q400 includes the ChromaView Plus visual system, providing daylight scenes that qualify for Level D certification. For more on the company, visit www.flightsafety.com.

VHF at Xi’an

Park Air Electronics (PAE) is to install multimode VHF radios at China’s Xi’an International Airport. The air traffic management bureau for this northwestern region of China chose transmitters and receivers from PAE’s T6 Series of radios, which were initially deployed in the country to provide communications for the Beijing-to-Guangzhou air corridor project. The contract in Xi’an also calls for a logistics package comprising installation, commissioning, factory acceptance testing and factory training. Long-term support is controlled from the regional and international technical support offices already established in China. See www.parkair.uk.co.

Hong Kong Assessed

Hong Kong air traffic control (ATC) operations received essentially a "clean bill of health" from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which was contracted in early December 2000 to conduct a review. The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) commissioned a CAA assessment team, hoping to enhance operational safety and service quality following the period of change resulting from the relocation of the Hong Kong airport.

In the review team’s judgement, the rates of ATC incidents at Hong Kong International Airport were comparable to those of similarly sized international airports. Nevertheless, recommendations were made to strengthen the organizational structure, enhance standards and competence, improve the training package, and simplify the ATC incident investigation procedures. The review team was led by the CAA’s head of Air Traffic Services Standards Department and included two members of the CAA’s Air Traffic Services Regulation and Licensing departments.

VDL Begins in Paris

SITA began its VDL AIRCOM deployment with the first VHF ground station (VGS) in Paris, following a factory acceptance test. The VGS is key to the VHF digital link (VDL) Mode 2 service, which SITA will launch this summer.

SITA contracted with Harris Corp. in April 1999 to develop the VGS, which offers bit-oriented, air-ground data communications over the VHF link. SITA plans to continue the deployment of 60 to 80 new VGSs annually, increasing the rate over the next eight years to gradually replace its existing network of 590 first-generation VHF ground stations. Deployment plans for 2001 are to satisfy immediate customer needs and support industry initiatives such as the FAA’s Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications program and Eurocontrol’s LINK 2000+ program, which will use VDL for air traffic control communications.

In other news, Kuwait Airways Corp. selected SITA to upgrade its information technology facilities at Kuwait International Airport. A local area network (LAN) will support the new systems there. See www.sita.int .

Fees Lowered Down Under

Airservices Australia rang in the New Year Jan. 1 by reducing its charges for en route air traffic control services by 12%. This move is expected to generate a combined cost savings of A$7.4 million ($4.14 million U.S.) for Australia’s domestic and regional airlines. International carriers flying in Australian air space will realize combined savings of $11.1 million.

Airservices Australia achieved this reduction in part from commissioning the Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (AAATS). There also have been better-than-forecast aircraft movements associated with national economic growth, the Olympics, and the advent of greater domestic aviation competition. Consequently, it was feasible to bring forward to Jan. 1 the 6% price reduction, which was planned for July 2001, plus introduce a special, additional 6% reduction in charges that will carry through to June 30.

Turkmenistan’s ATC

The civil aviation authority of Turkmenistan recently awarded Airsys ATM a new turnkey contract to supply an RSM 970S monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR) and air traffic control workstations for the Turkmenabat airport. This represents an extension of the central Asian country’s radar coverage to its eastern region. Under previous contracts, Airsys ATM supplied the capital city, Ashgabad, with a Watchkeeper national air traffic control center, a TXM 4400 voice communication system, training facilities, a RSM 970 radar, radar interfaces, and VOR/DME and ILS navaids. See www.airsys.thomson-csf.com.


The German air traffic control (ATC) academy of Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) recently ordered 13 BEST (Beginning to End for Simulation and Training) simulators from Micro Nav. These will add to the 11 simulators already at DFS’ Langen facility. The latest order replaces and expands DFS’ basic radar simulators, used for part task training and qualification training. The new simulators are to enter service later this year.

Contracts for Collins

Rockwell Collins recently benefited from two U.S. Air Force decisions and one made by the U.S. Army. First, the USAF selected the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based manufacturer’s HF Messenger to provide e-mail capability to the SCOPE Command automated HF network. Designed to meet NATO’s STANAG 5066 and the U.S. Defense Department’s Mil-Std-110B standards, the HF Messenger will provide wireless communications that permit the exchange of text, files, facsimiles and images, using personal computers or other data input devices. Initial ground and airborne tests of the system are scheduled to begin in September.

The USAF also awarded Rockwell Collins a $29-million contract for the KC-135 Pacer CRAG (compass, radar and Global Positioning System) program. This is the sixth production option award; a total of 568 shipsets have been ordered. The avionics for the Pacer CRAG program include integrated flight management, predictive windshear weather radar, liquid crystal flight displays, a traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) and terrain awareness warning system (TAWS).

Finally, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command selected Rockwell Collins’ Flight2 as its open systems architecture for the MH-60, MH-47 and A/MH-6 helicopter fleets. The award includes service life extension and avionics upgrade programs for approximately 150 aircraft. Key to the Collins Flight2 is a common computing resource that incorporates a Power PC processing engine running a POSIX compliant software operating system. The link between the processing components is achieved through a local area network (LAN) based on full duplex 100 BaseT Ethernet. See www.collins.rockwell.com.

ATC for the U.S. Army

The U.S. Army recently awarded Raytheon Co. a $16.5-million production option to a previously awarded contract for seven AN/TPN-31 air traffic navigation, integration and coordination systems (ATNAVICS). Mounted on two multipurpose, wheeled vehicles and two trailers, the self-contained ATNAVICS provides rapid-response, air traffic control services at Army airfields and tactical landing sites.

Designated by the Army as the AN/TPN-31, the FAA-certified system comprises an S-band air surveillance radar, L-band secondary surveillance radar/identification friend or foe, an X-band precision approach radar, and Raytheon’s AutoTrac air traffic management system. For more information, visit www.raytheon.com.

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