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Thursday, November 1, 2001

Industry Scan

Falcon 20 Display
Garrett Aviation Services, Tempe, Ariz., has installed the first electronic engine instrument upgrade package for a Dassault Falcon 20. Little Rock, Ark.-based Acxiom Corp. owns the aircraft. The installation consists of three 6.4-inch (16.25-cm) active-matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs) from Universal Avionics, stacked in the center instrument panel. Connected to engine and systems sensors, as well as to other data/graphics sources, the displays provide navigation and situational information, including weather graphics, terrain graphics and engine instrumentation. The package is designed, in part, for Falcon 20 upgrades that include Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line 4 avionics. Visit www.garrettaviation.com.

Mil-Std-1553 Accelerates
In response to a U.S. Air Force request, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), maintainer of the Mil-Std-1553 data bus specification, is developing a 10-megabit/sec (Mbit/sec) standard known as the "Enhanced Bit Rate 1553." UK-based Micro Circuit Engineering (MCE), part of Smiths Aerospace, and National Hybrid Inc. (NHI), Ronkonkoma, N.Y., are developing electronics modules conforming to the standard, which SAE expects to publish by the end of 2003. Partnering with MCE, Excalibur Systems Inc. is developing a prototype high-speed 1553 avionics card.

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin AFB, Fla., asked SAE to undertake the new standard, in connection with the Air Armaments Center’s Miniature Munitions Capability (MMC) program, says Douglas Gregory, chairman of SAE’s Avionics/Armament Integration Committee. It is likely, but not certain, that the MMC will adopt the new SAE standard. The MMC program includes the Small Diameter Bomb and other types of miniature munitions. The use of a number of smaller munitions in the place of one large bomb drives the need for a faster 1553 link. The Enhanced Bit Rate 1553 enables the individual downsized weapons to talk to the dispenser or weapons rack without creating a communications logjam.

"To overcome the transmission line problems with using a transformer-coupled bus at this [higher] bit rate, the Mil-Std-1553 bus is being replaced with an active hub, using the [commercial] RS-485 physical layer protocol," Gregory explains. "The logical protocol will be based on an over-clocked Mil-Std-1553B bus, with some facilities removed that drive silicon cost, such as remote terminal-to-remote terminal transfers."

Micro Circuit Engineering has developed a standalone, prototype remote terminal and a prototype remote terminal/bus controller. MCE expects to have a product this year.

National Hybrid expects to offer a 10-Mbit/sec 1553 product next year. The faster Mil-Std-1553 bus will require some design changes, says Roy Nardin, NHI director of product development. Designers will need to use a new master clock and be more aware of gate delays and race conditions. The decoders, encoders and memory management in the 1553 protocol chip also will require re-engineering, Nardin adds. Although SAE still is working on the higher-speed version of the bus, each remote terminal will require its own connection to the bus controller in a point-to-point configuration, he says. But the result should be that more data can be put across the bus in the same amount of time. Visit www.mil-1553.com, www.nationalhybrid.com and www.smithsind-aerospace.com.

SkyWatch Advances
Raytheon Aircraft Co. (RAC) has chosenthe SkyWatch HP Collision Avoidance System, produced by Goodrich Avionics, as standard equipment for all 2002 King Air B200 and 350 models. RAC, now completing installation certification, plans to begin receiving the systems in the fourth quarter of 2001. Cirrus Design Corp. also has named the SkyWatch Traffic Avoidance System as an option for its SR-20 and SR-22 aircraft. SkyWatch HP may function as either a Traffic Advisory System (TAS) or as a Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (TCAS I), based on display and antenna configuration. Visit www.goodrich.com.

New Approvals
Two companies now can boast certification to Quality System Standards: Electronic Cable Specialists Inc. (ECS), Franklin, Wis., announced that the ECS management system attained ISO-9001:2000 and AS9100-2001 approval for the design, certification, manufacture and integration of cable wire harnesses and metal installation support structures. And ARTEX Aircraft Supplies, a Chelton Group company in Canby, Ore., that produces emergency locator beacons for aircraft, has received ISO-9001 and AS-9000 certifications. Visit www.ecsdirect.com and www.artex.net.

Lockheed in Russia
Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management (LMATM) has opened an office in Moscow to pursue ATM partnerships with Russia and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an alliance of 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics. For openers, LMATM has proposed to provide air traffic control (ATC) for areas of Russian airspace not controlled by radar. Lockheed Martin says such improvements can open airspace, generate overflight and landing revenues, and spur economic growth in the region.

The company proposes to deploy a system that relies on satellite positioning and data communications to enhance situational awareness. A conflict probe component also will allow closer airplane spacing and the selection of optimal routes, LMATM says. LMATM President Don Antonucci says that the company’s technology "is ideally suited for handling significant traffic loads in non-radar-controlled airspace, such as northern Russia and the polar region." The candidate system resembles one selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to control more than half of the world’s oceanic airspace, he says.

The Republic of Georgia already has tapped LMATM to modernize its aviation infrastructure. Discussions have been held with Kazakhstan and a memorandum of agreement has been signed with Ukraine. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com

FedEx 10-Point Safety Plan
In the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedy, FedEx Corp. Chairman Fred Smith has advanced a 10-point program for aviation security.

Smith called for an end to the "debate" on the requirement for a "positive control" air traffic control (ATC) system. "The lack of clear information available to the controllers after the hijacking compounded the difficult issues they faced," he said.

Smith stressed that all aircraft should be required to equip with primary and secondary transponders, the latter of which "must be incapable of being cut off from the cockpit." If the primary transponder is turned off, the secondary transponder "must broadcast aircraft identification information…continuously." The FedEx boss also advocated the need to move ahead with the adoption of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology, as it "provides real-time position reporting for all aircraft in the sky."

Thales in China
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) awarded a $93-million contract to Thales ATM to install Eurocat 2000 air traffic management (ATM) systems in area en-route control centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The contract also calls for equipping three approach (terminal area) control centers and three airport control towers with the Eurocat system in Beijing, Hongqiao and Pudong. Visit www.thalesatm.com.

More Content for MAS
Matsushita Avionics Systems Corp. (MAS) has made agreements with two companies to add information services to its in-flight entertainment systems. One agreement is with Reuters to have its national, international and business news content uploaded to aircraft hourly. The information will be presented on MAS’ System 3000. The other agreement is with NewsEdge Corp. to provide a comparable service. Both information services will be provided through MAS’ interactive applications business, called MASMedia. Visit www.mascorp.com

DAC Acquires Galaxy Avionics
Avionics and test systems distributor DAC International, a Banner Aerospace subsidiary based in Austin, Texas, has acquired the personnel and licensing rights to the product lines of Galaxy Avionics Inc. In turn, this created the new DAC Engineering and Certification Division (ECD), which includes avionics and systems integration design and manufacturing capability. Heading the new division will be James Moskal, former president of Galaxy Avionics. Visit www.dacint.com.

Collins, UWAI a Team
Rockwell Collins and Universal Weather and Aviation Inc. (UWAI) have teamed to provide data and operations management services to business aircraft operators. These services will be part of Collins’ eFlight, designed to transfer information between the flight deck, cabin and ground.

UWAI’s information package will include flight planning, trip status and weather in graphic form. The data will be integrated into flight decks through Collins’ Pro Line 21 and Pro Line 21 Continuum avionics systems. The eFlight system, which also is available for regional jet aircraft through the Pro Line 21 CNS system, provides secure access to e-mail and the Internet, as well as cabin management and passenger services. For aircraft operations, it provides data for flight management system databases, position and status reporting, maintenance prognostics, and dispatch and maintenance releases. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com and www.airnav.com.

BAE, QinetiQ Collaborate
BAE Systems has signed a letter of intent with QinetiQ (formerly the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, or DERA) to collaborate on UK intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) and unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems. Among the areas the entities will jointly explore are UAV command and control, mission planning, synthetic environments and early warning UAV systems.

Testing JPALS
The U.S. Air Force and its contractor Raytheon Co. completed the first phase of flight tests on the Joint Precision and Landing System (JPALS), designed to provide low-visibility, high-precision approach and landing guidance for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

During tests at Holloman AFB, N.M., pilots completed several Cat I landings in an Air Force C-12J equipped with a JPALS airborne demonstration system and cockpit display and using demonstration JPALS ground stations. Early flight testing attained accuracy levels exceeding Cat II requirements.

Based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), JPALS is designed to be interoperable with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS). Visit www.raytheon.com.

L-3 on T-45 Upgrade
Boeing has selected L-3 Communications’ Electrodynamics unit as a partner on Boeing’s T-45 Training System team to upgrade the aircraft’s data recorder. The upgrade, part of the Defense Department’s effort to reduce costs by using commericial products, largely is intended to reduce engine maintenance costs. Visit www.l-3com.com.

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