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Thursday, December 1, 2005

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RNP Ops at Queenstown

Air New Zealand (ANZ) is working with Airbus and Naverus, a Seattle-based firm specializing in performance navigation, to gain special Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval for its A320 fleet. ANZ wants to be able to make required navigation performance (RNP) -based instrument approaches, rather than visual approaches, below the existing VOR/DME minimums of 3,000 feet above ground level (AGL) at the Queenstown airport. With RNP 0.15 certification--which calls for maintaining a route width of 0.15 nautical miles, centerline to boundary--ANZ A320s will be able to land at Queenstown in poor visibility conditions and use curved approach flight paths. Certification of the new RNP procedures is expected before the end of 2005.

Queenstown airport is surrounded by mountains and does not have an ILS. "That currently limits us to 3,000-feet minimums on the A320, which is very restrictive during our peak skiing season, because we get cloud bases below that level on 20 to 30 days of the year," says Rex Wilson, ANZ's airline engineering manager.

With RNP 0.15 approval ANZ's A320s will be able land with minimum decision heights down to 270 feet. Designed by Naverus, these procedures take advantage of the A320's high-accuracy navigation. All Airbus aircraft are equipped with dual flight management systems (FMS) and GPS capabilities, and are already certified down to RNP 0.3 in approach. Airbus gained the new RNP 0.15 certification in approach earlier this year. In June a successful demonstration flight to Queenstown was conducted, applying the new RNP procedures. Pilots have applied the procedures to arrivals on both of Queenstown's runways, missed approaches, and departures with all engines and with one engine failure. They flew with autopilot engaged and used the new lateral deviation display, which is activated by a software update. ANZ's A320s were delivered with all the hardware necessary for the certification. According to Wilson, the carrier's A320 pilots will begin operating these new procedures, using RNP 0.3 minimums. Then, after collating information and gaining experience, they will begin transitioning to the new RNP 0.15 minimums. Visit www.airnz.co.nz.

ANVIS/HUDs

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Elbit Fort Worth a $57-million framework contract to supply aviation night vision imaging system/head-up displays (ANVIS/HUDs) for Army utility helicopters and other DoD rotary-wing platforms over a five-year period. The system, which U.S. military helicopter pilots have used since the mid-1990s, projects critical flight information into the night vision goggles' view. Visit www.efw.com.

Mexico ATM

Mexico's Servicios a la Navegacion el Espacio Aoro Mexicano has awarded Thales a contract to supply two of its Eurocat air traffic management systems, one for the area control center in Monterrey and the other for an approach center to be located in Chihuahua. The systems will process data from eight en-route and approach radars, and coordinate five neighboring flight information regions (FIRs). Visit www.thalesatm.com.

Name Change

Garrett/Piedmont Hawthorne/Associated, Tempe, Ariz., a company formed a year ago from an amalgamation of firms owned by the Carlyle Group, has a new name: Landmark Aviation. The company includes fixed base operators and provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, as well as completions. Visit www.landmarkaviation.com.

Eaton Acquisition

Eaton Corp., Irvine, Calif., has reached an agreement with PerkinElmer to purchase its Aerospace Division, in Beltsville, Md., for $333 million. The division produces sealing and pneumatic systems for commercial and regional jets. Visit www.eaton.com.

Army Needs Parts

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have significantly increased the U.S. Army's demand for avionics replacement parts for its helicopters, and as a result the service is looking for sources of new or refurbished units, or ones that can be refurbished. The Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM) Logistics and Readiness Center (LRC) Airborne NAVCOMM Division, at Fort Monmouth, N.J., has found three sources of one much needed component, the horizontal situation indicator (HSI) for UH-60 Black Hawks, and continues to seek suppliers of that instrument plus many others. About 200 different national stock numbers (NSNs) of CECOM avionics are on back order, some for as long as two years, according to CECOM officials. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) production and delivery rates on avionics items "have been falling behind demand," they add.

There has been "a severe curtailment of unserviceable returns," i.e., parts coming back for depot level repairs, according to Dick Pribyl, chief of the Airborne NAVCOMM Division. These parts are now returning from the Mideast, he adds, but their return has been insufficient to maintain an adequate inventory. This has occurred, says Pribyl, for various reasons, including the poor transportation infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan, the speed at which Iraqi Freedom was initially conducted, the "conservative stocking" of parts for a leaner military, and the fact that Army helicopters are flying three times more than during their regular schedule.

The Army, therefore, says it needs replacement parts for the Black Hawk, particularly, but also for the H-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache/Longbow and H-58 Kiowa Warrior. Used parts can be serviced by the provider to U.S. military standards or delivered for refurbishment by the OEM or an Army depot.

CECOM is working on a Web site that will list its parts needs. Meantime, companies that produce and/or stock parts can visit the Federal Business Opportunities home page (http://www1.fbo.gov/index.html) or send e-mail to http://vsearch1.fbo.gov/servlet/SearchServlet/.

FAA's New, Upgraded Craft

A Global 5000 that FAA will use to test such technologies as wide and local area augmentation systems (WAAS and LAAS), automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), and new air-to-ground communications systems has been completed by Midcoast Aviation. The new aircraft will be used for flight testing in conjunction with research and development at FAA's Technical Center. The cabin has been configured to accommodate research equipment and includes independent power sources to power monitoring gear. The aircraft was delivered in October.

Meanwhile, six Beech King Air 300s operated by FAA are to be upgraded with Rockwell Collins' Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite, with an option to outfit 12 more. The first installation will begin in January 2006 and subsequent upgrades will begin in August. Collins will hold the King Air 300 Pro Line 21 supplemental type certificate. It covers installation of a dual-channel digital flight control system, an integrated digital autopilot that provides Cat II capabilities and a growth path for required navigation performance, a dual integrated flight management system, Pro Line com/nav and surveillance sensors, GPS with WAAS capability, dual air data systems, dual attitude heading reference systems (AHRS), turbulence detection weather radar, maintenance diagnostics, Collins' integrated flight information system (IFIS) and three 10-by-8-inch liquid crystal flight displays with engine indication. Visit www.midcoastaviation.com and www.rockwellcollins.com.

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