Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Once again, the most newsworthy technology at the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) show was enhanced vision systems (EVS). It dominated the avionics news at the 2002 and 2003 NBAA shows, and it did so again at the 2004 event in Las Vegas.
Thales and Bombardier Aerospace jointly announced flight testing of a head-up display (HUD)/EVS system that is scheduled to be certified in the first quarter 2005, with deliveries beginning in the second quarter. Launched in 2002, the Bombardier Enhanced Vision System (BEVS) is being tested in a Global Express, and its concurrent approval by FAA and Transport Canada will allow pilots lower approach capabilities. BEVS incorporates Thales' HUD and CMC Electronics' SureSight I-Series forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor. Thales is the system integrator. BEVS will be standard equipment on the ultra long-range Global Express XRS, which is to enter service in early 2006. The equipment will be available for retrofit in the Global Express and as an option in Global 5000.
Rockwell Collins also has selected CMC's SureSight I-Series sensor to be part of its Flight Dynamics EVS package, which uses the HGS-4000 head-up guidance system. The system's initial application, on the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and B737, is scheduled to be certified in early 2006. The HUD/EVS package will be an option for BBJ and B737 customers and standard on all Dassault Falcon jets equipped with the EASy flight deck. Certification of the HUD/EVS system in the Falcon 2000EX EASy and 900EX EASy is expected in mid-2006. The system also will be approved for the Falcon 7X.
Van Nuys, Calif.-based Total Aircraft Service Inc. (TAS) announced at NBAA 2004 that it has integrated its enhanced vision system with Advanced Data Research's electronic flight bag (EFB). TAS is expanding its EVS supplemental type certificate to accommodate various display options, including EFBs, as well as dual cockpit monitors and main cabin entertainment systems, installed in Bombardier Challenger bizjets.
The TAS EVS package employs the Max-Viz EVS-1000 uncooled IR sensor, which recently has been installed in a Falcon 50 and Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. Max-Viz announced that its EVS-2000 enhanced vision system--which fuses the imagery from two sensors, one for short-wave IR and the other for long-wave IR--will be offered as an option in Cessna Citation X and Sovereign aircraft.
Max-Viz officials say they now are developing EVS-3000, which will incorporate the EVS-2000's two IR sensors plus millimeter wave radar. The new system, to be made available in early to mid 2006, also will include a feature called "ground truth," which combines fused sensor imagery with a "Jeppesen-level" database, according to Jim Tuttle, Max-Viz's president and chief executive officer. The Jeppesen database is not so detailed as ones showing color imagery that simulates sky and terrain, but Tuttle says it will confirm the runway end and the aircraft's position and heading. The ground-derived data will be compared with GPS data to establish an integrity check. This should allow lower minimums during approaches at night or in inclement weather.
Technology for the EVS-3000 will benefit from two research and development programs. One program has Max-Viz working with Rockwell Collins, the U.S. Air Force, NASA and FAA. The other is an independent demonstration program with Sierra Nevada Corp. Tuttle says the programs are to determine the optimum blend of synthetic and real enhanced vision, and how best to display that information to the pilot. Visit www.max-viz.com., www.tasaircraft.com, www.rockwellcollins.com, www.cmcelectronics.ca and www.thales-avionics.com.
Honeywell will participate in the Pentagon's Advanced Technology Support Program III, providing rapid access to electronics technologies and expertise. It joins Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. Visit www.honeywell.com.
Airbus has tapped Teledyne Controls, Los Angeles, to supply its onboard information terminal (OIT) hardware for the A320 and A330/340 families of aircraft. The Class 3 electronic flight bag will be available for factory installation and retrofit in single-aisle and long-range Airbus aircraft. Visit www.teledyne.com.
Falcon 20/200 Upgrades
Universal Avionics Systems Corp, Tucson, Ariz., and Premier Air Center Inc., East Alton, Ill., have teamed to update the primary flight displays on Falcon 20/200 aircraft. The upgrade will include Universal's EFI-890R high-definition, active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD), a Class A terrain awareness warning system, Vision 1 synthetic vision system, dual electronic flight bags, dual UNS-1F flight management systems and dual radio control units, in addition to other units from other original equipment manufacturers. Visit www.premierair.com.
Large Display TSO'ed
FAA has awarded Innovative Solutions & Support Inc., Exton, Pa., a technical standard order (TSO) certification for its large flat panel display system. The new system can be used for primary flight displays, multifunction displays and tactical displays on air transport, military and business aviation aircraft. It comes in sizes ranging from 8.4 to 20 inches. Visit www.innovative-ss.com.
Connexion by Boeing and the Japanese mobile communications company, NTT DoCoMo, have jointly launched a roaming service that allows users of NTT DoCoMo's Mzone wireless local area network (LAN) service to connect to Connexion's high-speed Internet service. The service--which costs users between $17 and $30, depending on length of flight--now is available on several Lufthansa flights and was to be made available on an ANA flight, a Japan Airlines flight, and a Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) flight by year end. Visit www.connexionbyboeing.com.
Air Force NVGs
The U.S. Air Force has awarded ITT Industries a $40-million firm, fixed-price contract to supply AN/AVS-9 night-vision goggles (NVGs) for crewmen who fly KC-10 and KC-135 tankers, C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft, and H-60 utility helicopters. The company's Night Vision Division, based in Roanoke, Va., is scheduled to complete the work by July 2007. Visit www.ittind.com.
TriStar Radar Displays
Honeywell has signed an agreement with Marshall Aerospace to provide multifunction radar displays for nine L1011 TriStar tanker aircraft to be used in the UK. The display controls RDR-4B weather radar. This eliminates the need for a separate control panel and independent displays for primary functions. Deliveries will begin this year and conclude in 2005. The display provides interfaces to multiple radar systems. Visit www.honeywell.com.
The first modified production aircraft upgraded under the G-5 Galaxy avionics modernization program (AMP) was completed and delivered to Lockheed Martin to begin the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program. The AMP is just the first phase of a comprehensive modernization plan for the U.S. Air Force's C-5A/B Galaxy strategic transport fleet. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com.
LynuxWorks has introduced Version 2 of its LynxOS-178 real-time operating system (RTOS), adding support for the complete suite of ARINC 653 application programming interface (API) calls.
The company also announced progress toward certifying its RTOS as an FAA reusable software component (RSC). Such certification could cut the cost of avionics significantly by reducing the time required for approval. According to LynuxWorks, a new avionics system using an RSC-approved RTOS would have to recertify the code closest to the hardware--the board support and chip support packages--but not the kernel or kernel library. The hardware-related increments make up only 10 percent of RTOS software. The company has been working with FAA for about two years and hopes to obtain RSC approval early next year. Visit www.lynuxworks.com
Inmarsat recently commissioned the 500th channel of its Swift64 aeronautical satcom service. More than 400 aircraft utilize Swift64, which was launched two years ago. Most aircraft have single-channel satcom transceivers, but some aircraft incorporate up to four channels, according to an Inmarsat official. Swift64 achieves data speeds ranging from 64 to 256 Kbits/s. Inmarsat now is gearing up for its SwiftBroadband aeronautical service. The first Inmarsat IV satellite, to be located above the Indian Ocean region (IOR), is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in early 2005. The Atlantic Ocean region (AOR) satellite is to be in orbit in mid-2005, and POR, over the Pacific, is scheduled for operation in 2006. The digital Inmarsat IV weighs 13,230 pounds (6,000 kg), more than twice the weight of the analog Inmarsat III satellites, and has a 148-foot (45-m) span, which more than doubles that of the Inmarsat III. Each Inmarsat IV satellite will offer 630 channels at 200 KHz each and provide 100 times more power output than the Inmarsat III. Visit www.inmarsat.com
Gulfstream has selected Chelton's HGA-6000 high-gain satcom antenna as an installation option for the BroadBand Multi-Link (BBML) system on G450 and G550 aircraft. Supplemental type certificate approval on the G550 is expected by the end of 2004 and on the G450 by spring 2005. Also, Embraer has chosen Chelton's HSD-7000 Inmarsat Swift64 Aero High Speed Data system to provide its Legacy corporate jet with global in-flight connectivity. Visit www.cheltonsatcom.com.
Thales has begun shipping its new TopSeries in-flight entertainment (IFE) system to Airbus for installation on its A380 flight test aircraft. The installation of the TopSeries i-5000 is to be completed by July 2005. It will be the first IFE system on the super jumbo aircraft. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.
Antenna for ARINC
ARINC plans to use the new MIJET ultra-low profile broadband antenna in the implementation of its Commercial SKYLink satellite broadband service for airlines. The antenna, developed by Starling Advanced Communications, uses a folding-reflector design that gives full broadband performance at a fraction of the size and weight of a typical Ku-band antenna. Visit www.arinc.com.
Avidyne, Lincoln, Mass., has received technical standard order (TSO) approval for the XM WX Satellite Weather and Heads Up Technologies XM receiver interface for its FlightMax Entegra display systems. Avidyne is the first company to certify the XM weather interface for the single-engine piston through light jet market. Visit www.avidyne.com.
A contract modification agreement with FAA has Raytheon making incremental improvements to the U.S. wide area augmentation system (WAAS), to achieve full lateral precision with vertical guidance (LPV) performance. The improvements include installing 13 more ground stations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and incorporating an enhanced algorithm to improve WAAS availability. Visit www.raytheon.com.