Tuesday, October 1, 2002
Displays for GA
Avidyne Corp., Lincoln, Mass., recently introduced an integrated flight deck for general aviation (GA) aircraft and has agreements to provide the system for installation, initially, on four aircraft types. Cirrus Design will offer the FlightMax Integra flight deck on its SR22, Lancair Co. will offer the system on its Columbia 350 and 400 aircraft, and Diamond Aircraft Industries will offer it as an option on its DA40-180 DiamondStar. The FlightMax Integra includes: a primary flight display (PFD) with an integrated, solid state air data and attitude/heading reference system (ADAHRS); and the EX5000 multifunction display (MFD) with integrated data link weather capability. Both are 10.4-inch active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs).
The air data computer provides airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and outside air temperature and continually updates the winds aloft and true airspeed indications. The PFD displays 6-second trend indicators for airspeed, altitude and heading, much like systems in air transport aircraft. The FlightMax Integra is designed to couple with the autopilot for altitude preselect, vertical speed select and heading select modes. These require no external panel; selection bugs and digital readouts for each parameter allow one-button operation.
The EX5000 MFD has integrated data link and moving map features. Navigational information can be overlaid on the moving map’s color-contour terrain and water imagery. All instances of special-use and class airspace are color-keyed for clarity and can be displayed simultaneously with NEXRAD (next generation radar) and METAR (meteorological aeronautical radio code) weather. The EX5000 also will display lightning and weather when interfaced with Goodrich’s WX-500 Stormscope and Skywatch traffic awareness system. Avidyne has priced the FlightMax Integra at less than $60,000. Visit www.avidyne.com.
Two for Honeywell
Honeywell recently announced it has won two contracts, one of which involves the development of a new product. West Star Aviation, Grand Junction, Colo., awarded a $3-million contract to have Honeywell develop and provide ship sets that enable Learjet 30-series aircraft to operate in the reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) environment. The ship set would include Honeywell’s AM-250 barometric altimeter, BA-250 altimeter display, an altitude alerter control and the AZ-252 advanced air data computer, which is compatible with the Learjet 30’s FC-200 autopilot. The package will allow flight at altitudes between 29,000 and 41,000 feet, where air traffic controllers can space aircraft at 1,000-foot altitude increments, instead of the traditional 2,000-foot increments. A proposed RVSM mandate would become effective in the United States in December 2004. Honeywell plans to obtain technical standard order (TSO) approval on the AZ-252 and begin deliveries of the system in the first quarter of 2003.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has contracted Honeywell to supply avionics, wheels and brakes for the Boeing 737-800 aircraft it has on order. The European low-fare carrier ordered 100 737-800s and holds options on 50 more aircraft. The avionics package includes weather radar with predictive windshear, solid state flight data and cockpit voice recorders, aircraft collision avoidance system (ACAS), Mode S transponder and the Quantum line of communications and navigation radios. Visit www.honeywell.com, www.weststaraviation.com and www.ryanair.com.
No Consensus for RVSM
While the major airlines feel the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) proposed rule on reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) within altitudes between 29,000 and 41,000 feet in U.S. airspace couldn’t come fast enough, general aviation is digging in its heals. The airlines see the additional flight levels, created by allowing the vertical separation of properly equipped aircraft at 1,000 feet instead of 2,000 feet, as being as an operational cost-cutting benefit. But National Air Transportation Association (NATA) president James Coyne contends that "it is deeply disappointing that [FAA] continues on its very aggressive path of requiring all aircraft that operate between flight levels 290 and 410 to be RVSM-certified by the end of 2004." Coyne adds that the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for RVSM, published February 2002, is "impractical and unrealistic in light of how many aircraft require significant modifications…it clearly demonstrates how much pressure the airlines are placing on the FAA." In addition to general aviation aircraft, Coyne says, the proposed rule impacts the air cargo segment of the industry, which "commonly uses some of the oldest turbine aircraft in the fleet." He refers to one cargo carrier that would have to spend $5 million to be compliant for RVSM operations. Coyne proposes a "gradual phased-in approach, similar to how RVSM was implemented over the Atlantic Ocean." The comment period for the NPRM ended Aug. 8. An FAA official says he couldn’t indicate when the rule would become effective, but adds that it "will take months." Visit www.faa.gov and www.nata-online.org.
JeppView III and Northwest EFB
Jeppesen Sanderson is getting ready to introduce its newest version of JeppView and recently announced the launch customer for on-line flight chart delivery, Northwest Airlines.
Jeppesen plans to make available its JeppView III charting service, targeted for the corporate and general aviation markets, in early 2003. In addition to the electronic approach charts in the previous JeppView versions, the JeppView III CD-ROMs will include electronic en-route charts and electronic text, which contains, for example, the first volume of the Jepp chart binder set. JeppView III also will come with a new interface; its 32-bit software application will replace the old 16-bit application, allowing more programming capability.
Meanwhile, Northwest Airlines has taken the first step toward the use of electronic flight bags (EFBs), signing an agreement with Jeppesen to receive approach charts over a network. The carrier has decided to take a "phased approach" to implementing electronic charts throughout its operations.
Northwest will use electronic charts first in ground-based functions, such as dispatch, pilot training and simulator operations. It plans eventually to extend electronic chart usage to the airborne environment. With this phased approach, the carrier will be able to prove the electronic chart and information concept before applying it to airborne use. This would be "consistent with the spirit of the Federal Aviation Administration’s AC 120-EFB," according to a Jeppesen release, referring to a recently finalized advisory circular providing guidelines for EFB certification.
The first carrier to access data from Jeppesen on line, Northwest will receive more than electronic charts. The agreement with Jeppesen also calls for the electronic delivery of navigational data, textual information and notices to airmen (NOTAMs). Jeppesen recently rebuilt its e-business infrastructure, so it can distribute its electronic products and services with enhanced security and reliability. Visit www.jeppesen.com.
FDIMU for A320s
The aircraft leasing and financing firm, debis AirFinance, has selected Teledyne Control’s flight data interface management unit (FDIMU) for the 32 Airbus A320 aircraft it has ordered. The baseline data acquisition unit for the aircraft combines the functions of the flight data interface unit (FDIU), data management unit (DMU) and the data access recorder (DAR) into a single line replaceable unit (LRU), using a concept that Teledyne calls "LRU compression." The FDIMU will serve as a two-function unit (DMU and DAR) or a three-function unit, depending on the aircraft’s configuration. debis AirFinance plans to receive its first A320 in early 2003 and to lease the fleet of aircraft to commercial airlines. Visit www.teledyne-controls.com.
The German Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement has contracted Munich-based Rohde & Schwarz to supply modular design VHF/UHF radios for the Eurocopter Tiger combat helicopter and the NH Industries NH-90 utility helicopter to be delivered to the German armed forces. The $25-million contract calls for M3AR airborne transceivers with control units and test systems. Visit www.rohde-schwarz.com.
BAE Systems recently announced two U.S. military contracts worth some $38.3 million. The company was awarded orders valued at $12.1 million to provide low rate initial production (LRIP) phase systems and components for the advanced targeting forward looking infrared (ATFLIR) pods on the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ F/A-18 aircraft. A member of the Raytheon team providing the pods, BAE produces about 25 percent of the ATFLIR system in terms of value. It produces the navigation FLIR, laser spot tracker, pod adapter unit, pod electronics housing and roll drive units. BAE also received a $26.2-million contract from Boeing Aircraft & Missile Systems to redesign the C-17 Globemaster III’s system controllers and cockpit indicators (SCCI) for the Air Force. The contract has BAE upgrading 12 of the 15 line replaceable units (LRUs) that comprise an SCCI ship set. The SCCI includes devices that detect, control and interface to the electrical, hydraulic, auxiliary power, fuel, cargo delivery and environmental systems. Visit www.baesystems.com.
SAFIRE II Sales
Portland, Ore.-based FLIR Systems Inc. has won two contracts for its Star SAFIRE II thermal imaging system. Modern Technologies Corp., Dayton, Ohio–along with the U.S. Air Force, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center HC-130H program office–awarded the company a $3.5-million contract to provide eight Star SAFIRE II forward looking infrared (FLIR) systems for installation on the Air National Guard’s HC-130 search and rescue (SAR) aircraft over the next two years. The contract also provides for the future delivery of up to 37 additional FLIR systems through 2006 for the Air Force’s fleet of HC-130 SAR aircraft.
The Modern Technologies order follows a $5-million contract, also for eight Star SAFIRE II systems, from Mexico’s government for installation on the Mexican Navy’s CASA C-212-200 transport and patrol aircraft. Housed in a gyrostabilized turret mounted under the forward fuselage, the FLIR will be part of a multisensor surveillance system that also includes radar. The system includes a fully militarized Mil-Std-1553 data bus and controller that can be embedded in the console or detached. The CASA aircraft are flown by Mexico’s 1st Naval Air Squadron, 2nd Naval Air Group, from Chetumal, on the Yucatan peninsula. Visit www.flir.com and www.modtechcorp.com.
Barco for the Biggest
One of, if not the largest aircraft in the world, the 893,000-pound (405,000 kilogram–max gross weight) Antonov AN-124 Condor, is being upgraded with BarcoView’s MFD-6.8/1 multifunction displays. Twenty-six displays are to be delivered to Kotlin Novator, St. Petersburg, for installation on AN-124s, which are built in Ukraine. The MFD-6.8/1 is a 6-by-8-inch color, active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD). The AN-124s–about the same size as Lockheed Martin C-5s–will be fitted with a split-box unit, which separates the horizontal display and processor. (BarcoView introduced a single-box MFD-6.8/1 display at the recent Farnborough Air Show.) The giant Condors are used for civil cargo transport. Visit www.barcoview.com.
Noting a growing demand for aerial tankers, maritime patrol aircraft and airborne early warning (AEW) platforms, Forecast International predicts a $40-billion market for military special mission aircraft between 2002 and 2011. The Newton, Conn., research firm predicts the delivery of 152 special mission aircraft worldwide, worth $11.9 billion, during the first five years of its forecast and 277 aircraft, worth $28.3 billion, during the second five years. Advances in the micro-miniaturization of on-board electronics will mean that many new, special mission platforms will be smaller than in the past, says Forecast International. Examples are the Bombardier Global Express used for the UK’s Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) program, the ELINT (electronic intelligence)-equipped Gulfstream V (C-37), and the Erieye-equipped Embraer 145. However, the largest market share (62 percent) in the special mission sector is expected to derive from the U.S. Air Force’s KC-767 tanker program, based on the Boeing 767. Forecast International predicts that, behind Boeing, Northrop Grumman will rank second in market revenues, with 11 percent, followed by the Lockheed/Kawasaki team, with 10.8 percent, and BAE Systems, with 4.3 percent. Future programs to watch, says the research firm, are South Korea’s E-X AEW program, the Italian-German MPA 2000 maritime patrol aircraft, and more tanker/transport conversions from commercial transport aircraft. Visit www.forecast1.com.
Two military aircraft, one manned and one unmanned, recently made their maiden flights. The T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer and light combat aircraft completed its first flight Aug. 20 at the Korea Aerospace Industries facility in Sachon, South Korea. Lockheed Martin is a major participant in the T-50 program, which was designed, in part, to help train student pilots for next-generation fighter aircraft. The aircraft includes UHF/VHF radios, AN/APG-67 attack radar, digital fly-by-wire flight controls, inertial navigation and Honeywell instruments and head-up display.
The U.S. Army’s Hunter unmanned air vehicle (UAV), developed by TRW Inc. and Israeli Aircraft Industries, made its first automatic flight, from takeoff to landing, near Fort Huachuca, Ariz., on July 22. Thanks to a ground-based radar that tracks the UAV and feeds position commands to a ground control station to maneuver the craft, Hunter was able to make automatic landings, four touch-and-go landings and a full-stop landing. Visit www.lmaeronautics.com and www.trw.com.