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Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Industry Scan

Challenger’s Continuum

Rockwell Collins recently had its Pro Line 21 Continuum avionics suite approved on the Bombardier Challenger 601. The suite features four 10-by-8-inch portrait-format, color displays, a fully integrated flight control system, triple FMS-6000 flight management systems, AHS-3000 attitude heading reference system, TCAS-4000 traffic alert collision avoidance system, TWR-850 turbulence-detection weather radar and Pro Line radio sensors. The system supports such functions as electronic charting, uplinked graphical weather and three-dimensional flight plan maps. Rockwell Collins developed Pro Line 21 Continuum for the business jet retrofit market (January 2002). Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Faster Satcom

Honeywell and Thales Avionics Ltd. have joined with Thrane & Thrane to develop and produce satellite communications (satcom) technology capable of handling data at 64 kilobits per second (Kbit/sec). Designed to operate via the Inmarsat Swift64 network, the HS-700 receiver/transmitter will include an extra channel that can handle both circuit-mode and packet-mode data. Honeywell and Thales demonstrated 64-Kbit/sec satcom technology over the Inmarsat constellation from their engineering lab during the summer of 2001 and tested it in flight in January 2002, using Honeywell’s Citation V corporate jet. The HS-700 will be designed to interface with the Honeywell/Thales four-channel MCS-4000 or seven-channel MCS-7000 satcom system. Passengers will be able to use the unit for Web browsing, e-mail delivery or video conferencing. The system’s first flight test is scheduled for late 2002, and certification and production are expected in early 2003. Visit www.honeywell.com, www.thales.com and www.tt.dk.

Commander Magic

The Meggitt Avionics Magic electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) has been approved for retrofit on the Model 690 Twin Commander. (The Magic suite will be standard on Grand Renaissance Twin Commanders, which are refurbished 690A/B/C/Ds and 695/695As.) The Meggitt package includes four 4.5-by-5.3-inch color, active matrix liquid crystal displays. Two serve as primary displays and two as navigational displays, interfacing with the aircraft’s existing avionics. Dual-redundant engine and instrument display systems (EIDS) replace the Twin Commander’s engine and fuel quantity/flow instruments and gauges. Production units of the Magic system are available for retrofit at authorized Twin Commander-Meggitt service centers. Visit www.twincommander.com and www.meggitt.com.

Radar in Denmark

Agusta-Westland of Italy recently awarded Telephonics Corp. a $700,000 contract to deliver 14 search-and-rescue, weather avoidance radar systems for EH-101 helicopters bound for Denmark. Telephonics will provide its RDR-1600 radar. Deliveries to the Royal Danish Air Force are scheduled from 2003 to 2005. Telephonics is a Farmingdale, N.Y.-based subsidiary of Griffon Corp. Visit www.telephonics.com.

Collaborative Security

Thales Avionics recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Audio Visual Telecommunications Corp. (AVT), Victoria, Canada, to develop a video security system that will transmit video imagery from an aircraft’s cockpit and cabin to ground facilities. Under the MoU, Thales Avionics in Montreal will supply the satcom communications, which will connect to Thales Avionics-Inflight Systems security cameras (color and infrared) and AVT video/speech compression technology. The MoU will be effective for a year, until Feb. 15, 2003, and Thales will manage the project. Visit www.thales.com and www.avt.net.

Lindbergh Flies Again

When Charles Lindbergh made his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20-21, 1927, he could communicate with no one. He stripped his aircraft of radios. However, when his grandson, Erik Lindbergh, recreates the flight in a Lancair Columbia 300, called the "New Spirit of St. Louis," 75 years later, he will have continuous voice and data, satellite communications (satcom) capability. Blue Sky Network will provide its satcom system, which includes the Motorola 9505 Iridium phone kit, Motorola Iridium data kit for laptop connectivity, and two multimode, hands-free interface devices for headsets. The system also includes an antenna assembly, wiring and a cockpit panel adapter for portable quick release. The Iridium Satellite Co. will donate unlimited communications air time for the flight. The History Channel will air the commemorative flight on May 20. Visit www.blueskynetwork.com.

Three Maiden Flights

Three aircraft equipped with Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics suite made their first flights within a two-week period.

  • The Embraer 170 on Feb. 19 in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil;

  • The Dassault Falcon 900EX on Feb. 21 in Bordeaux, France; and

  • The Cessna Citation Sovereign on Feb. 27, in Wichita, Kan.

The Embraer flight represents a larger achievement for Honeywell. "In addition to Primus Epic, that aircraft also has a full fly-by-wire system, which we were a partner on," says Vicki Panhuise, vice president-operations/Primus Epic program.

On March 21, another aircraft that will come standard with Primus Epic, the Fairchild Dornier 728, was rolled out of the manufacturer’s Oberpfaffenhofen facility in Germany. The regional jet’s first flight is scheduled for this summer. Visit www.honeywell.com.

Part of Pentar Sold

Pentar Avionics, Seattle, Wash., recently concluded the sale of its test equipment division to Ideal Aerosmith Inc., East Grand Forks, Minn., which also produces test equipment. The sale allows Pentar to expand its "plans related to cabin file servers, airborne networks, communication management systems and other related systems for regional and business aircraft," according to a company release. Pentar specializes in digital data communications products. Ideal Aerosmith specializes in motion control systems, as well as test equipment. Visit www.pentar.com and www.idealaero.com.

ITWS Heads to Atlanta

The first production version of Raytheon’s Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) is slated for installation in Atlanta in June 2002. Two first-article systems have been in operational testing for a year at the Kansas City and Houston airports.

Designed as a tool for air traffic controllers in the terminal area–60 miles around the airport–ITWS fuses data from numerous sources. These include the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR), the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD), airport surveillance radar, Low Level Wind Shear Alert System (LLWAS), automated weather and surface observing systems, lightning detection systems, National Weather Service weather models and aircraft. ITWS will provide not only a real-time, terminal airspace weather picture, but also forecast weather up to 20 minutes ahead, according to Raytheon. ITWS can produce information on wind shear and microburst detection and predictions, storm cell intensity and direction, lightning and winds.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans 34 production systems to cover 45 major airports subject to severe weather conditions. FAA also has asked Raytheon to look at incorporating ITWS into the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS). Visit www.raytheon.com.

Recorded Radar

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently tapped Primagraphics Ltd., Amherst, Mass., to supply portable, digital radar recorders and display units for the agency’s ASDE-3 (Airport Surface Detection Equipment) radars. Engineers at the FAA’s Oklahoma City facility will use the systems to capture ASDE-3 radar video and then replay the recorded signal in an ASDE-3 display and processor for test and analysis.

Primagraphics will provide its stand-alone, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Centurion recorder. FAA will use the system at ASDE-3-equipped facilities across the United States. Visit www.primagraphics.net.

Tornado Upgrade

CMC Electronics is developing an avionics management system (AMS) for the German air force’s Tornado midlife upgrade program. The German air force contracted CMC Electronics to supply its CMA-2082F AMS. The system provides onboard mission processing, as well as the integration of navigation sensors and radios, communications radios, displays and other mission avionics and aircraft avionics. CMC Electronics is preparing for the CMA-2082F’s initial limited production. The company could potentially deliver 300 systems for the Tornado, resulting in some $20 million in revenue over the next six or seven years. Visit www.cmcelectronics.ca.

World's Largest MLS User

With 37 microwave landing system (MLS) ground stations and "several hundred" airborne installations, the world's largest MLS user is unquestionably the U.S. Air Force, according to Textron Inc., which builds the helicopter-transportable mobile MLS ground stations. Six Textron systems are operating at undisclosed locations in Afghanistan, where they support Air Force C-130 and C-17 transports.

Ironically, while the Air Force owns and controls the satellite-based GPS, the service will continue to use MLS until GPS landing guidance equipment is made immune to enemy jamming.


In our February "Product Focus" on ATC switches, we inadvertently omitted Korry Electronics in our "Companies" listing. And in our April list of traffic alert collision avoidance (TCAS) companies, we failed to include Aircraft Engineering & Installation Services Inc. (AEI).

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