Thursday, November 1, 2007
Honeywell Demonstrates Corporate Aircraft RNP
As if on rails, the Honeywell Gulfstream G450 shot several curving, Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approaches to Runway 5 at Morristown Municipal Airport, N.J., each time carving the same ground track in a demonstration of what RNP technology can bring to corporate aviation.
Flown by Honeywell Chief Pilot Ron Weight and Capt. Joe Paprella, the aircraft precisely followed the specially designed Jeppesen approach. The aircraft icon on the pilots’ Primus Epic flight display tracked exactly along the approach path of the Jepp RNAV (Area Navigation) RNP Z Rwy 5 chart, each time with the same hills and houses passed by in the same position outside the windows.
After receiving clearance from air traffic control, the pilots monitored the aircraft as it flew repeated coupled approaches down to minimums, following a GPS-generated glide path, just like an LPV or ILS approach. What was different was the absence of ground-based navaids and the funky curve. "Everything we do on this is exactly like what we would do on an ILS," said Weight.
Currently used or planned by a growing list of commercial carriers, including Alaska Airlines, WestJet, Southwest, Delta and Continental, RNP goes beyond RNAV by allowing aircraft to safely fly curving, extremely precise ground tracks into and out of terrain-challenged airports or through complex airspace. The results are time and fuel savings through more direct routes and lower landing minimums, safer approach paths and more efficient use of airspace. Ground tracks can be designed to weave through noise-sensitive areas or curve to avoid obstacles close to runways that either raise minimums for straight-in approaches or make them impossible.
The September demonstration flight for several aviation journalists at Morristown, coming just before the National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta, heralded Honeywell’s efforts to bring RNP technology to corporate aviation. Gulfstream will offer RNP capability on its G450 and G550 business jets.
"The FAA is very interested in getting this off the ground and working," Weight said of the effort to bring RNP operations to corporate aviation. "They’ve been working with us very closely."
If integrity is lost, for whatever reason, the onboard system immediately warns pilots by changing the color of their navigation needles to amber and flashing a message on the Flight Management System display. Pilots can then execute a missed approach. Accurate guidance during a missed approach is guaranteed by an inertial navigation unit in the event the GPS signal is degraded.
RNP operations come in two basic varieties: those requiring precision to within 0.3 nautical miles of the center line and those that go below 0.3, known as RNP Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization Required (SAAAR). FAA must certify each crew member and each aircraft to fly a SAAAR procedure, similar to authorization for Category II or III ILS approaches. At this writing, Honeywell’s flight department was awaiting FAA certification for RNP SAAAR.
At all times during the demonstration, the Primus Epic system displayed the RNP approach, which was hard-entered at 0.3, and the actual accuracy of the moment, or estimated position of uncertainty (EPU). During the entire demonstration, the highest EPU observed was 0.08.
Honeywell is offering data base validation services to help corporate flight departments comply with RNP SAAAR requirements and has applied to FAA for designation as a consultant, which would allow the company to officially walk clients through the complex certification process, designed more with airlines in mind.
Although much of the talk about RNP revolves around approaches, the concept applies just as well to arrivals and departures. Alaska Airlines can fly the VFR River Visual approach to Washington Reagan National Airport, avoiding restricted airspace and fitting into the complex air-traffic flow of the Washington, D.C., area, in instrument conditions using RNP.
RNP is best described as an "operational method," said Chad Cundiff, Honeywell vice president of crew interface products. The concept opens the full potential of advanced navigation systems already equipped on modern business jets, involving the inertial reference and satellite navigation units, as well as software upgrades. FAA at this writing had approved 46 RNP SAAAR approaches in the United States. The agency is committed to publishing 25 such approaches annually. — Ron Laurenzo
Flight Deck Fusion
Rockwell Collins introduced a new flight deck system, dubbed ProLine Fusion, aimed at improving operability and efficiency for business aviation customers.
Unveiled at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Atlanta in September, the system will debut on the Bombardier Global Express XRS and Global 5000 aircraft.
Pro Line Fusion has high-resolution, 15-inch LCD displays, a Head-Up Guidance System, graphical flight planning, synthetic and enhanced vision and the company’s MultiScan Hazard Detection System weather radar. Voice recognition technology will be a future capability of the system, Rockwell Collins said.
"This is really dramatically beyond anything we’ve done before," said Denny Helgeson, Rockwell Collins vice president and general manager for business and regional systems.
Other features include "point-and-click" access to flight planning, aircraft performance monitoring and hazard avoidance; traffic surveillance system providing a foundation for advanced Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) functions; aircraft maintenance system and database management capabilities, wireless connectivity, and access to aircraft manuals and documents.
Pro Line Fusion is designed to accommodate technologies for current and future airspace requirements such as Controller Pilot Data Link Communications, Required Navigation Performance and self-separation.
Rockwell Collins also will upgrade its ProLine 4 offering with Pro Line 21 displays. The upgrade will enable operators to use graphical weather and enhanced maps, among other features.
The offering, which will be available initially for Dassault Falcon 2000 and Falcon 50 EX Pro Line 4 platforms, is being launched with Duncan Aviation, Lincoln, Neb.
The company also introduced a new cabin management system called "Venue." Key features include digital high-definition (HD) video and media center, HD displays, programmable switch panel and iPod integration.
Venue is scheduled for deliveries in the first quarter of 2009, though select features will become available starting as early as second quarter of 2008. The system has been selected by Cessna for the upcoming CJ4 business jet, debuting in 2010.
BizAv Expected to Soar
The boom is business aviation is expected to continue through 2008 as a flood of new jets hit the market and robust international demand accelerates, according to the Honeywell annual business aviation outlook.
The forecast, issued in September in conjunction with the NBAA convention, projects delivery of about 14,000 new business aircraft from 2007 through 2017, generating industry sales of $233 billion.
"Industry growth has moved into unparalleled territory," said Rob Wilson, president of business and general aviation with Honeywell Aerospace. "2007 is a record year for the industry.... Order intake across most business jet categories remains very strong, with little discernable affect from recent stock market fluctuations. With backlogs exceeding two and one half years worth of deliveries, 2008 will likely be another banner year for the industry.
"It’s a good time to be in business aviation," Wilson surmised.
As of the forecast date, the number of aircraft delivered was up 11 percent compared with the same point in 2006 and industry-wide sales were up 12 percent, according to Honeywell. Year-to-date, 446 aircraft worth $8.3 billion were delivered. For the full year, Honeywell forecasted deliveries of more than 1,000 new business jets for the first time in history, up from 861 in 2006. Deliveries in 2008 are expected to exceed 1,300 aircraft.
Regionally, North America purchase expectations declined slightly, but demand in Asia, the Middle East and Europe are expected to surge. "Seven consecutive years of strong purchase intentions in Europe is a great track record, and confirms the value operators receive from using business jets," Wilson said.
Deliveries of Very Light Jets (VLJ) are expected to jump in the coming years. Total deliveries of VLJs for the 2007-to-2017 period are expected to exceed 3,300, compared to around 175 units this year. Deliveries of long-range, ultra long-range, large, medium and light aircraft are also projected to jump. — Emily Feliz
L-3 Communications unveiled its "SmartDeck" Flight Control and Display System, designed with the pilots’ workload in mind.
SmartDeck is an avionics suite integrating GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) navigation, data link weather, traffic and terrain avoidance, communications, flight controls, engine monitoring functionality and Enhanced Vision into one system. "Our thorough research ensures that SmartDeck can handle every type of flight task in a friendly, easy way. In fact,... you can get virtually anywhere you want in three clicks or less," said Adrienne L. Stevens, L-3 Avionics Systems president.
WSI, of Andover, Mass., will provide the system with North American weather information. S-TEC Corp., Mineral Wells, Texas, will supply the digital flight control system. L-3 said SmartDeck originally was designed for Part 23 aircraft and will be scalable for future growth. The company expects to receive Technical Standard Order certification in 2008.
Barco, Honeywell Team
Barco, of Kortrijk, Belgium, will supply LCD-based multifunction displays with an open architecture to Honeywell for its Primus 1000, 2000, 2000XP, SPZ-8400, 8500 and SPZ-8000 avionics systems.
"With a market potential of approximately 5,000 aircraft, this agreement marks a major landmark for Barco in the civil aviation marketplace," said Yves Vanhauwaert, general manager of Barco’s Avionics division.
Barco develops two types of DO-178B and DO-254 level A compliant displays that are backward compatible with Honeywell’s legacy CRT units, the company said. The modular, open architecture of the displays creates a flexible host platform for Honeywell’s applications, including electronic charts, maps, weather and video display capabilities.
In addition, Barco received ETSO-C113 authorization for the 10-inch primary flight displays used in Honeywell’s Primus Apex integrated flight deck. The certification recognizes that the displays, have successfully met European Aviation Safety Agency standards for airworthiness.
The displays used in the Primus Apex suite will be integrated into various business jet applications, including the Grob spn and Pilatus PC-12.
Adacel, a software developer based in Orlando, Fla., was selected by Rockwell Collins to develop to develop a Voice Activated Cockpit (VAC) interface for Rockwell’s Pro Line avionics suite.
Adacel will provide a modified version of the system being developed for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter that will provide pilots with the capability to interact with avionics functions using voice commands.
VAC will operate cooperatively with the avionics suite as an alternative to some manual inputs.
Basic features of the system include radio frequency selection and display interaction. The system is expected to begin flight testing in 2008 leading to DO-178B certification.
Adacel’s plan for future versions of VAC includes voice input to Autopilot, Flight Management System, Electronic Flight Bag interfaces and command macros for executing a series of inputs using a single voice command.
Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen won FAA approval to include its electronic enroute charts, known as the Jeppesen Integration Toolkit (JIT), in multifunction displays.
Jeppesen for years has offered terminal charts. But until now paper enroute charts have remained necessary, as current moving map displays are approved only for situational awareness, not navigation.
Jeppesen said the RTCA DO-178B Level C approval of its enroute chart application moves cockpits one step closer to being paperless. The company anticipates full certification by 2009.
EMS Satcom said satellite service provider Inmarsat approved its eNfusion HSD-400 High-speed Data terminal, making it the first commercially available product approved for use with Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband network.
Originally introduced as a Swift64 terminal in November 2004, and delivered in June 2005, the HSD-400 terminal is software upgradeable to support SwiftBroadband services, offering "background class" and "streaming class" services.
EMS Satcom said the background-class service is ideal for Internet and e-mail traffic, as the user pays by the megabit. It is a cost-effective service that is always connected.
The streaming-class service is best suited to video conferencing and other real-time applications and provides guaranteed data rates at 32, 64 and 128 kbps.
CMC Electronics signed a memorandum of understanding with FAA for installation and certification of GPS Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) navigation for the agency’s Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft.
CMC has contracted with Honeywell and Bombardier for the WAAS development. CMC will produce the WAAS receiver, Honeywell will integrate and update the flight deck and Bombardier will integrate the avionics and produce the factory service bulletin.
Pentastar Aviation, Waterford, Mich., won a supplemental type certificate (STC) to install CMC Electronics’ PilotView Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) on the Falcon 50, Falcon 900 and Falcon 900EX series aircraft as well as the LearJet 45.
The approved model list change grants Pentastar the first Class 2 EFB system approval for own-ship position mapping in the industry, according to CMC.
CMC’s Class 2 EFB has been certified on 23 platforms. More than 1,000 Class 2 EFBs have been delivered, the company said.
CMC announced at NBAA in Atlanta that its Class 2 PilotView EFB was selected by Rockwell Collins for the Bombardier Global 5000 and the ultra long-range Global Express XRS business jets. In addition, the EFB was selected by regional aircraft manufacturer ATR as a standard option for new aircraft production and for retrofits of in-service ATR-42 and ATR-72 aircraft.
"EFBs and EVS [Enhanced Vision Systems] are clearly business aviation’s hot items," said Jean-Pierre Mortreaux, CMC chief executive.
CMC Electronics will launch a new version of its SureSight I-Series integrated sensor systems for Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) applications.
The CMA-2700 will feature digital signal processing and a high-resolution focal plane array and will be certified to the highest level yet for an integrated sensor system, the company said.
The SureSight CMS-2700 has been selected by Rockwell Collins for use on Bombardier’s new Global Vision Flight Deck.
Eclipse Goes Green
Eclipse Aviation, Albuquerque, N.M., outlined green initiatives relating to its Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet, saying the aircraft will be the "first truly green jet."
"Every Eclipse 500 is delivered green," said Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation CEO, adding that the aircraft in many cases exceeds environmental standards for emissions and noise pollution.
The Eclipse 500 can fly 854 miles on 1,000 pounds of fuel, making it a more efficient aircraft than its competitors, Raburn said.
Raburn, speaking at the NBAA convention, declined to give production expectations for the Eclipse 500, saying "I’m always wrong."
The pioneering VLJ has been troubled by production problems, including the replacement of launch avionics provider Avidyne with a team of other avionics suppliers. Raburn said obtaining the production certificate for the Eclipse 500 was more difficult than he originally imagined, which further delayed production.
Eclipse expected certification of the aircraft’s Avio NG avionics suite by mid-November. Avionics retrofits of the earlier system developed by Avidyne were slated to begin in December and be completed by 2008, Raburn said.
Columbia Avionics, Columbia, Md., obtained FAA supplemental type certification (STC) for the Universal Avionics EFI-890R EFIS flat-panel display system in the Cessna 650.
The EFI-890R installation consists of three flat-panel displays with a primary flight display (PFD), navigation display and second, standalone PFD. The large-format PFD combines attitude, heading, airspeed, altimeter, vertical speed, AOA, radar altimeter and navigation information. The navigation display provides GPS/FMS navigation, weather information from the ship’s onboard weather radar, JeppView approach plates, TCAS, EGPWS and other data.
FAA Names ATO Chief
FAA named United Airlines executive Henry P. "Hank" Krakowski as COO of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), effective Oct. 1. He fills the position formerly held by Russell G. Chew, who left FAA in February.
ATO, comprised of 35,000 air-traffic controllers, technicians, engineers and support personnel, is responsible for FAA’s transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System. The organization was headed after Chew’s departure by Bobby Sturgell, who replaced Marion C. Blakey as FAA administrator on an acting basis in September.
Chew, a former American Airlines executive, led ATO’s establishment as a "performance-based" organization within FAA. He resigned as ATO chief operating officer to take a job, initially, with Hawaiian Airlines as executive vice president of operations. But before starting there, he was named chief operating officer of New York-based JetBlue Airways.
Krakowski comes to ATO with solid aviation credentials. A 29-year veteran of United Airlines, he has been a Boeing 737 captain, has experience as an aircraft dispatcher and is certified as an airframe and powerplant mechanic.
He most recently was United Airlines’ vice president of flight operations, based in Chicago, with responsibility for flight operations, training, standards, technology and labor relations. Prior to that, he served as United’s vice president of Corporate Safety, Security & Quality Assurance, responsible for managing corporate and flight safety, security and regulatory compliance.
"Hank is the right person to help implement the next generation of aviation technology," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. "His commitment to safety, outstanding operational experience and leadership abilities will advance our efforts to modernize our nation’s air transportation system."
A group of aviation experts, including a former secretary of transportation and a former FAA administrator, called for major changes to the U.S. air-traffic control system, including dramatic reforms of FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO).
Former FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley, former president of the National Business Aircraft Association Jonathan Howe and others issued a statement in September, saying, among other things, that "America needs a 21st-century air-traffic management system, and we need it as soon as possible."
FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, if implemented quickly and at an acceptable cost, would expand air-traffic capacity, the group says. But enabling technologies including Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), pose difficult equipage concerns that have not been addressed.
ATO "is not up to the task of making the kind of paradigm shift" needed to modernize the nation’s air-traffic system, according to the group. Without serious reforms, it said, the inability of the nation’s air-traffic control system to accommodate air traffic will force airspace rationing.
The group recommended four reforms:
While already a performance-based organization, ATO should be enabled to run more like a business, with a CEO who has the normal powers and duties of a chief executive, including the power to hire and fire staff. It should also have a board of directors.
ATO should be separated from FAA, as an independent entity within the Department of Transportation. FAA would regulate ATO’s safety performance, which would allow the many needed decisions regarding safety and capacity in the new system to be transparent.
ATO should be funded by a steady, reliable revenue stream that isn’t subject to politics. The organization should be funded directly by aviation stakeholders — airlines, corporate aviation and private pilots — with federal support limited to public-service functions such as paying for military use of the civilian air-traffic control system.
ATO should be allowed to consolidate, reorganize and improve its facilities and equipment, as well as reconfiguring airspace consistent with NextGen capabilities.
"What’s encouraging about this effort is that it shows broad support for basic air-traffic control reform among a wide range of aviation experts," said Robert Poole, director of transportation studies at Reason Foundation, which sponsored the group’s report. "Fixing the system is not just a matter of new technology. NextGen is a good concept, but it is unlikely to be implemented successfully by an unreformed FAA."
Former FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, before leaving office in September, urged airlines to trim their schedules voluntarily in order to reduce mounting air-traffic delays. Blakey now heads the Aerospace Industries Association.
"You can’t control Mother Nature... but airlines can control their own schedules. Competitive pressures or no, an airline’s on-time performance increasingly matters and will be under increasing scrutiny," Blakey told the Aero Club of Washington, D.C.
"Passengers are growing weary of schedules that aren’t worth the electrons they’re printed on.... And if the airlines don’t address this voluntarily, don’t be surprised when the government steps in," she warned.
Blakey said aviation stakeholders should be responsible for the cost of air-traffic control modernization.
"Flying to and from wherever you want, whenever you want, is not a free utility," she said. "You need to expect to pay for it. The other users shouldn’t have to pay your freight and on your timetable."
Blakey’s parting challenge to the airline industry was noted by The Washington Post in an editorial following the speech.
"This summer in air travel was terrible," the newspaper opined. "...While it might seem disingenuous of Ms. Blakey to call for something that had been within her power to do, her admonition to the airline industry was clear: Change is coming. The airlines had better be ready."
ASDE-X In Charlotte
Sensis Corp., Syracuse, N.Y., said its Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X system (ASDE-X) at Charlotte, N.C., Douglas International Airport is operational.
ASDE-X uses a combination of surface movement radar, transponder multilateration and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) sensors to provide air-traffic controllers with an accurate picture of the location and identity of aircraft and vehicles on the airport surface. Also, the ASDE-X system’s conflict detection and alerting technology, "Safety Logic," uses algorithms to detect and alert controllers to potential aircraft and vehicle collision situations.
FAA is in the process of deploying ASDE-X to 35 major airports. With the addition of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the system is operational and commissioned at 11 airports.
Panasonic Avionics Corp., Lake Forest, Calif., formed a business relationship with Rockwell Collins to provide airline passengers with improved control while viewing route maps and media libraries.
The partnership combines Rockwell Collins’s Airshow Interactive moving map system with Panasonic’s X Series in-flight entertainment system.
Instead of "pushing" video to all cabin monitors, the system will let each passenger navigate using a touch-screen to "pull" maps and other content to their seat, the companies said.
Finnair will use ARINC’s seatback SMS/e-mail messaging service on its newest Airbus A340 used on Asian routes. The service is operational on Finnair’s two newest A340s, which were delivered in May and June. ARINC said it will deploy the service on additional A340s after delivery in 2008.
Seatback messaging allows airline passengers to exchange e-mails and SMS text messages using Panasonic’s handsets and seatback screens. The seatback messaging solution is a joint initiative of ARINC and Panasonic Avionics Corp., running on Panasonic’s 2000e, 3000, 3000i and eX2 in-flight entertainment platforms.
"Finnair is pleased with the initial response of our customers to ARINC’s seatback messaging service," said Tero Lohimki, Finnair director of inflight entertainment and cabin interiors. "We believe by allowing passengers to stay in touch during long flights we can make a positive contribution to their overall comfort and customer satisfaction."
Embedded software provider LynuxWorks, San Jose, Calif., is working with TTTech Computertechnik of Austria, a supplier of time-triggered technologies, to combine certain development tasks between their products to "assist developers in the migration of prototype safety-critical avionics applications to full airborne deployment."
The agreement brings together LynuxWorks’ LynxOS real-time operating system, which supports open standards for developers of safety-critical avionics systems, and TTTech’s TTP (Time Triggered Protocol) bus, a bi-directional, partitioned and fault-tolerant data bus that offers deterministic performance up to 25 Mbps.
"Working together, LynuxWorks and TTTech are bringing about a quantum leap in aircraft data bus design and integration," said Joe Wlad, director of project management, with LynuxWorks.
"TTTech’s TTP and our LynxOS RTOS provide avionics developers a prototyping platform on which to build high-speed, deterministic applications for ultimate deployment on commercial and military aircraft platforms that run on our FAA-accepted LynxOS-178 operating system. By allowing them to more easily move from the lab environment to deployment, LynuxWorks and TTTech directly help avionics developers get their applications off the ground."
Honeywell Aerospace won a contract potentially worth $16 billion to serve as the auxiliary power unit (APU) and air management systems integrator on the new Airbus A350XWB long-range, wide-body aircraft.
The contract award, announced Sept. 19, represented the largest systems and equipment package Airbus had awarded to date on the A350 program. First flight of the A350 is scheduled for 2012, with entry into service in 2013.
As part of the 20-to-25 year agreement, Honeywell will design and build the HGT-1700 APU and provide the APU installation kit and starter-generator. Honeywell also will provide integrated systems to manage all of the air used on the aircraft for environmental control, including cabin heating and cooling and cabin pressurization.
Inflight telephony provider AirCell is partnering with Virgin America to offer broadband Internet services in 2008 for passengers traveling in the continental United States.
AirCell, Louisville, Colo., said the service will allow Virgin America customers to check e-mail and surf the Web, using the airline’s "Red" in-flight entertainment system or their own Wi-Fi enabled laptops, BlackBerrys, portable gaming systems and other devices.
Virgin America’s IFE system uses AirCell’s air-to-ground cellular network, which transmits and receives data between the ground and the aircraft at broadband speeds. Upon launch of the new service, passengers will have U.S. broadband coverage, connectivity on 802.11 Wi-Fi enabled devices, and real-time access to the Internet.
Continental Airlines selected the eX2 in-flight entertainment (IFE) system from Panasonic Avionics, Lake Forest, Calif., for its 787 Dreamliners slated for delivery in 2009.
Panasonic said the 787 eX2 system installation will closely match that on Continental’s 777-200ER aircraft delivered earlier this year. Continental is retrofitting the eX2 on its 777-200ER fleet and will have a total of 20 777-200ER aircraft in service with the eX2 system by mid-2009.
The eX2 system allows airlines increased storage, increased passengers per audio/video server and faster loading times, Panasonic Avionics said.
EFB Connector Specification
Airline and other delegates to the AEEC General Session in Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 26 approved a new specification for a standardized electronic flight bag (EFB) connector and signal interface for cockpit-mounted EFBs.
The specification — ARINC 828 — defines a circular connector serving as the interface between an EFB and aircraft power, data and other inputs. Another standard under development, ARINC 633, will address the EFB interface with ACARS and XML data links to the ground.
ARINC 828 covers a range of connectors beginning with the "J1" base connector to an EFB processing unit, and including three optional connectors — J2, J3 and J4 — depending on the EFB class of operation, the type of aircraft and customer options. In this way, ARINC 429 inputs may be used to receive avionics data from classic aircraft without installed servers.
The circular connector, based on MIL-Spec 38999 design, represented the "best fit on the basis of our requirements," said Andreas Ritter, a Lufthansa 737 captain and chairman of the EFB subcommittee that drafted the standard. He said the specification is relevant mainly for Class 1 and 2 EFBs, computing devices that are carried on board or mounted in the cockpit, respectively.
"The market is moving quickly," Ritter said. "There are a lot of retrofits right now in the Class 2 market and you want to be sure they are compliant."
Airframers Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier participated in the EFB subcommittee along with airlines and companies including Jeppesen and Lufthansa Technik. Boeing and Airbus now sit on the executive committee of AEEC, which formerly was called the Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee.
Some attendees expressed reservations over adopting the specification, equating it to a component certification. In response, Roy Oishi, AEEC executive secretary, said the standard provides only direction for user compliance to gain the advantages of EFB interoperability and "has nothing to do with regulatory certification." — Bill Carey
ITT Corp. said it will pay $1.7 billion to buy New York City-based EDO Corp. The transaction was expected to close early next year.
EDO designs and develops advanced systems for the military, including antennas, communications and surveillance systems. The company employs 4,000 people worldwide and had 2006 revenue of $715 million.
"This combination is all about growth and demonstrates our disciplined approach to creating value for our shareholders by expanding from our strong core businesses and entering attractive adjacent markets," said Steve Loranger, ITT chairman, president and CEO.
Textron, based in Providence, R.I., announced plans in October to acquire UAV manufacturer United Industrial Corp. (UIC), of Hunt Valley, Md. The $1.1 billion transaction was approved by directors of both companies and was slated to close in the fourth quarter.
UIC, through its principal operating subsidiary AAI Corp., manufactures the Shadow 200, Shadow 400 and Shadow 600 family of UAVs. The company’s foremost unmanned aircraft system is the U.S. Army’s RQ-7B Shadow 200, which has been used in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The system recently was selected by the U.S. Marine Corps., which is retiring its Pioneer UAV.
UIC employs 2,500 people, with projected 2007 revenue of $700 million. The company will become part of Textron’s Bell business segment, and is seen as synergistic with Bell Helicopter Textron, which manufactures the Eagle Eye unmanned tiltrotor.
"AAI is a superb strategic fit for Textron," said Lewis B. Campbell, Textron chairman, president and CEO. "It is in perfect alignment with our strategy to add important capabilities to our existing aircraft and defense businesses.... The addition of AAI broadens our leadership into unmanned vehicles.
Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft flew for eight hours while carrying a 1,000-pound payload, the company said in September. During its longest flight to date, and the program’s 42nd flight overall, the aircraft reached an altitude of 5,000 feet near Victorville, Calif.
Boeing said the half-ton payload simulated the delivery of critical supplies to the battlefield. Future payloads will include a combination of sensors, weapons and systems to perform a variety of missions.
Since its first flight last June, the A160T has logged several additional flights, including a five-hour flight on Aug. 29. Boeing had plans to fly the aircraft for 18 consecutive hours with a 300-pound payload.
The A160T is a turbine-powered version of the piston-powered A160 helicopter. The aircraft used during the tests is the second of 11 A160Ts Boeing Advanced Systems is building for the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency.
The Hummingbird autonomous unmanned aircraft, measuring 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, eventually will fly more than 140 knots with a ceiling of 25,000 to 30,000 feet for up to 20 hours.
Hamilton Sundstrand, Windsor Locks, Conn., will supply integrated secondary power systems, consisting of the environmental control system, auxiliary power unit and main engine start system, for the U.S. Marines Corps fleet of CH-53K Super Stallion heavy-lift helicopters.
Under terms of the contract, which has a potential value of more than $400 million, Hamilton Sundstrand will design, develop and produce the systems.
The Sikorsky-built CH-53K will replace the service’s current inventory of CH-53Es. Initial operating capability is slated for 2015. The Hamilton Sundstrand environmental control system consists of flight deck and avionics, air conditioning, cabin ventilation and heating, engine bleed system, and supply air for the onboard inert gas generation system.
The environmental system and main engine start system will be built at Windsor Locks. The auxiliary power unit will be built at the company’s San Diego facility.
McDonnell Douglas signed a $145 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy for continued system configuration set support of the F/A-18 A through F series and EA-18G weapons system. The contract provides for studies and analysis related to avionics integration and acquisition product activities such as integration and testing.
Raytheon won an $86 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide targeting systems and spares for the Predator/Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle program. The contract provides for Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems, retrofits and associated spares to support the Predator/Reaper program.
Lockheed Martin won a contract from the U.S. Air Force for 45 additional Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods. Sniper pods are currently flying on the F-15E, F-16 blocks 30/40/50 and A-10, in addition to international F-18 and Harrier platforms.
CAE signed a contract to design and manufacture two full-flight simulators for Emirates-CAE Flight Training valued at about $25 million. Emirates-CAE Flight Training is expanding its facility in Dubai with the addition of a CAE 7000 Series Bombardier Global Express and a CAE 5000 Series Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 800 XPi full-flight simulator.
General Atomics, San Diego, won a $21.9 million contract modification from the U.S. Air Force to provide organizational maintenance support for the Predator MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft system. The support includes air crew duties/responsibilities, maintenance, quality assurance, parts/supplies ordering and flying and maintenance schedule development.
ViaSat, Carlsbad, Calif., received an $18.3 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for the continued development of the Joint Communication Simulator (JCS). The award extends JCS capabilities at three locations to include Link 16, new operating modes and other new CNI signals. The award covers task orders for JCS feature development in support of Air Force and Navy avionics system testing through 2013.
Raytheon won an $11.9 million contract to manufacture ALR-69A(V) radar warning receiver systems for the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia. The contract is for the first phase of a low rate initial production program. This phase calls for development as well as production of 13 all-digital receivers.
Skyquest Aviation, a U.K.-based manufacturer of video equipment for airborne surveillance aircraft, said it won a contract to design and build a Smart PC display system for SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems U.K. to be used in airborne radar applications. Under terms of the contract, Skyquest will develop a LCD display panel with an integrated processor to enable local software applications to run behind the display. Skyquest will deliver initial units this year and anticipates full production in 2008.
Row 44, Westlake Village, Calif., will use satellite antenna and additional RF components from AeroSat Corp., Temple, N.H., for its aviation broadband system. Under the agreement, AeroSat will provide two-way Ku-band antennas and high-power amplifiers for use in Row 44’s system.
American Airlines will use in-flight entertainment and in-seat power systems by Inflight Canada for its Boeing 767-300 refurbishment project currently under way. Financial terms were not disclosed.
CMC Electronics was selected by Piaggio Aero Industries to retrofit six Piaggio P166-DP1 aircraft with the latest version of its GPS-based CMA-9000 Flight Management System.
Cessna Aircraft selected the moving map and passenger information system from Rosen Aviation, Eugene, Ore., as standard equipment on the Citation XLS+. The RosenView LX features worldwide mapping, satellite imagery, graphic detail maps and street-level detail for the United States and western Europe. Cessna has selected the Rosen 10.4-inch display for bulkhead mounting.
Intelligent Automation Corp. (IAC), Poway, Calif., was selected by Era Helicopters to provide its IAC 1134 Health and Usage Monitoring System and Flight Operations Quality Assurance for Era’s Agusta A119 and the Eurocopter AS350 helicopters.
Honeywell said its EVXP Health and Usage Monitoring System was selected by Sikorsky Aircraft as a standard option for the S-76C helicopter. The system, including onboard sensors and data processor, monitors aircraft vibration, engine and structural health. In addition, Honeywell said, the EVXP system provides exceedance monitoring and recording, power margin and automatic power assurance testing, performance trending, cycle counting, operational usage monitoring and flight data monitoring and recording.
TerraMetrics, Littleton, Colo., won an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract to investigate and develop a synthetic vision system for helicopter pilots. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. TerraMetrics is collaborating with Boeing and Rockwell Collins on the effort.
The County of Santa Clara, Calif., selected Era Corp., Reston, Va., to install a noise and operations management system integrated with its multilateration flight tracking solution, MSS by Era, at the county’s Reid Hillview Airport. Era said the combined system will create accurate flight tracking down to the airport’s surface. Also, the system will include a fully redundant data center to ensure data availability.