Sunday, January 1, 2006
Another Step for ADS-B
ACSS, an L-3 Communications and Thales company, and UPS Aviation have partnered to develop an automatic dependent surveillance system-broadcast (ADS-B) package designed to assure the safe separation of aircraft on the ground and while lining up for an approach. Announced at the 2005 Paris Airshow, SafeRoute will first be installed on UPS aircraft, along with Class 3 electronic flight bags (EFBs). ACSS currently is developing the software for the system's two capabilities: surface area movement management (SAMM) and merging and spacing. Operators will be able to procure the capabilities separately. UPS plans to install both capabilities in its fleet. ACSS expects to have SafeRoute certified in 2007.
The ADS-B capability can be installed in ACSS' surveillance processor or hosted in another supplier's product. SafeRoute software is being written to the ARINC 653 standard, so its installation will not require complete regression testing.
UPS plans to save fuel and reduce noise and emissions using the merging and spacing capability at its base in Louisville, Ky. A ground unit with special spacing software--to be installed at the Indianapolis, Ind., air route traffic control center serving the Ohio Valley--will sequence the aircraft to waypoints in preparation for approach. The unit then calculates spacing instruction--in terms of time, not distance--which is transmitted to the aircraft lining up for an approach. Pilots receive the spacing instruction via data link; UPS plans to use the airborne communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS). With instruction data entered into the surveillance processor, the SafeRoute software determines the best control settings for a continuous descent arrival (CDA). Trial CDAs flown in late 2004 showed "the potential to achieve a 30 percent reduction in noise and 3 percent reduction in emissions," says Karen Lee, UPS' director of flight operations.
On the ground, traffic information can be overlayed on airport maps, which UPS plans to have installed in its new EFBs. In this case, the SAMM system "listens" passively to transponder transmissions from other aircraft and, potentially, ground vehicles. More than having the system show ownship position and the positions of other aircraft on the ground, ACSS plans to have it also give the pilot a visual and aural alert in case of a possible incursion. In such an instance, the map image of the runway or taxiway on which a conflict could occur would turn yellow first, then red (as shown above).
UPS hopes to save fuel burn from the SAMM capability, as well as from CDAs. For example, with the enhanced situational awareness on the ground, pilots can better time their decision to switch from auxiliary power unit (APU) power to engine start.
FAA is enthusiastic about ADS-B, as is evident from its decision last year to select the technology as the preferred option for the future surveillance system in U.S. airspace. However, the technology is new, and ACSS and UPS are working closely with the agency to assist in writing the technical standard order (TSO) requirements for ADS-B. Visit www.l-3com.com/acss.
The U.S. Air Force has contracted Northrop Grumman to begin producing the RQ-4B Global Hawk reconnaissance unmanned air vehicle (UAV). This larger version of Global Hawk is intended to carry 50 percent more payload--about 3,000 pounds (1,360 kg)--and generate more electrical power than the current UAV. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.
Focal Plane R&D
Sensors Unlimited, Princeton, N.J., will develop an "unprecedented" 1280-by-1024-pixel, uncooled, dual-wavelength-- visible and shortwave infrared--focal plane array under a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Visit www.sensorsinc.com.
Rockwell Collins' WXR-2100 multiscan hazard weather detection system has been approved for installation on Airbus A320, A330 and A340 aircraft. The fully automatic radar provides weather detection out to 320 nautical miles. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Engenuity Technologies Inc., a Montreal-based producer of visualization and simulation software, has acquired BGT BioGraphic Technologies Inc., also based in Montreal. BGT makes artificial intelligence software for the gaming, entertainment and visual simulation industries. Visit www.enguititytech.com.
Growth at Iridium
Bethesda, Md.-based Iridium Satellite claims the number of aircraft fitted with its satellite communications equipment has grown by more than 100 percent over the past 12 months. The number of Iridium subscribers surpasses 5,000, the company reports. It also claims that the number of aircraft equipped with Iridium-based data systems has grown by 200 percent in a year's time. New customers include airlines like El Al and fractional services like NetJets. Visit www.iridium.com.
The U.S. Marine Corps will use a multilateration system developed by Sensis Corp., Dewitt, N.Y., at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Calif. The multistatic dependent surveillance (MDS) system will provide advisory air surveillance for Joint National Training events and after-action reporting, delivering a single unified picture of airspace activity. The system's coverage volume is 965 square miles at altitudes from 100 to 26,000 feet. Visit www.sensis.com.
EADS Deutschland GmbH has awarded Tech S.A.T, GmbH, Poing, Germany, a contract to design, produce, integrate and deliver the core system of the military test facility (MTF) for the A400M transport aircraft. The contract calls for real-time interface systems for the mission management system and for the defensive aids subsystem. It also calls for the core system for the military integration bench, custom software packages for the MTF, and engineering support during the MTF's integration and test.
In other news, Tech S.A.T and /dev Software GmbH have merged. The two German companies have worked closely together for 15 years, but the merger brings hardware and software expertise under one roof. Visit www.techsat.com.
Universal Avionics Systems Corp., Tucson, Ariz., recently gained supplemental type certificate (STC) and technical standard order (TSO) approval from FAA for its Vision-1 synthetic vision (SV) system egocentric 3D view. Certification of the egocentric 3D perspective--which presents on a display the view ahead of the aircraft, as if the pilot is looking out the windscreen--follows by about 3.5 years approval of Vision-1's exocentric 3D perspective--a kind of "God's eye" view, as if positioned behind and to the left of the aircraft, looking at the terrain and flight plan ahead. The egocentric view is approved on Universal's PFD-890R and EADI-550 displays; the exocentric STC applies to the ND-890R and MFD-640 display systems. Visit www.uasc.com.
FAA, Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have all granted operational approval for the Bombardier Enhanced Vision System (BEVS). BEVS is standard equipment on the Global Express XRS, scheduled to enter service early this year. It is optional equipment for new Global 5000s and can be retrofitted on Global Express business jets. BEVS, which combines a Thales head-up display with CMC Electronics' SureSight infrared sensor, will enable pilots to descend below published minimums. Recent FAA rule changes regarding enhanced vision systems allow BEVS-equipped aircraft to fly straight-in approaches down to a decision height of 100 feet. Visit www.bombardier.com, www.cmcelectronics.ca and www.thalesgroup.com.
Rockwell Collins announced that its eXchange broadband data and live TV system is being installed on a Bombardier Global 5000 demonstrator aircraft and on Samsung Techwin's two Bombardier Global Express XRS business jets. Collins reports that a third customer also has ordered the system, which, it claims, will be the first to present live broadband television on business jets flying over the ocean. The eXchange TV system will provide up to four channels of "time sensitive" programming around the world through agreements with content providers, such as MSNBC, CNBC, BBC World, EuroNews and EuroSportNews. The broadband data and TV system, which integrates Collins' Airshow 21 cabin electronics system, is the result of an agreement with Connexion by Boeing and provides transoceanic capability comparable to that of the Connexion by Boeing system developed for commercial aircraft. The eXchange system combines the antenna technology and signal processing capabilities of Collins' Tailwind 500 multiregion Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV system with the broadband Internet, data and entertainment connectivity service of Connexion by Boeing to offer real-time, nearly global two-way, Ku-band data coverage. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com and www.connexionbyboeing.com.
FAA has contracted AeroSat Airborne Internet LLC of Amherst, N.H., to demonstrate and evaluate basic concepts and components of its Airborne Internet system. FAA is evaluating the potential of Airborne Internet technology to meet advanced communications requirements of the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Internet-based technology could, for example, automatically update critical data, such as weather, turbulence and landing conditions at different airports. Under the 12-month contract, AeroSat Airborne Internet will conduct flight demonstrations on FAA test aircraft at the William J. Hughes Technical Center. Data will be exchanged between the air and the ground at 45 Mbits/s and then will be passed from aircraft to aircraft, demonstratinging a range of communications that previously was possible only through the use of satellites. Visit www.faa.gov.
EADS Map Generator
EADS Defence Electronics, Friedrichshafen, Germany, has gained a ?50-million order to equip Eurofighter (cockpit shown above) and Tornado aircraft with its digital map generator (DMG) systems. A total of 364 DMG systems have been ordered for installation in Eurofighters operated by Germany, UK, Spain, Italy and Austria, and in Tornados operated by the German armed forces. Tactical information, such as the current deployment situation, and radar images can be displayed on the digital map. Also, flight information, such as flight corridors or approach and departure procedures, can be overlaid on the map. Deliveries of the DMG system are to run through 2012. Visit www.eads.net.
Raytheon Aircraft has announced FAA certification of a fully integrated avionics system on the Beechcraft Bonanza G36--formerly designated the A36. The dual-display equipage includes Garmin's G1000 avionics and newly certified autopilot, the GFC 700. In the upgraded aircraft a 10-inch liquid crystal primary flight display replaces traditional cockpit instruments, and a 10-inch multifunction display combines engine instruments, terrain, navigation and integrated autopilot controls. Other features include: a solid state attitude and heading reference system which can align while in motion; integrated digital air data computer; integrated Mode S transponder with traffic information service (TIS); dual, integrated radio units; VHF navigation with ILS approaches; VHF communication with 16-watt transceivers and 8.33-KHz channel spacing; XM's WX satellite weather data link; integrated XM digital audio; Honeywell's KN63 DME; and L-3 Avionics' Skywatch traffic advisory system and Stormscope lightning detection. Visit www.raytheonaircraft.com.
Interstate Electronics will study advancements in GPS anti-jam technologies and develop a proof-of-concept receiver under a contract from the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). The L-3 Communications subsidiary will review deep integration, beam-forming, chip-scale atomic clocks, YMCA receivers and software defined radio. It says it will develop technologies for the identification, enumeration and characterization of jamming sources, using multi-element GPS receiver architectures. Visit www.iechome.com.
The Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiary, Schweizer, recently flight tested a surrogate helicopter fitted with X2 fly-by-wire technology. The 30-minute flight in November is another step along the road to the development of an X2 technology demonstrator rotorcraft. Coaxial X2 technology is designed to improve vertical flight and allow cruise speeds of up to 250 knots. The demonstrator, expected to fly this year, combines a fly-by-wire control system with advanced control laws that integrate the main rotor, aft propulsor and engine to meet commands from the cockpit. Visit www.sikorsky.com.
Honeywell has teamed with RUAG Aerospace Services to provide its Primus Epic Control Display System/Retrofit (CDS/R) for six Bombardier Challenger 601-1A bizjets owned by Germany's Ministry of Defense. Derived from the Primus 1000/2000 and Primus Epic integrated avionics systems, CDS/R offers two, three or four 8-by-10-inch active matrix liquid crystal displays. RUAG Aerospace, Wessling, Germany, will lead the design, installation and certification effort. RUAG also will install Honeywell Primus 880 weather radars and the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) with runway awareness and alerting system. The existing Honeywell autopilot and non-Honeywell flight management systems will be retained as part of the installation. Visit www.honeywell.com and www.ruag.com.
Helo Health Monitoring
Altair Avionics Corp., Norwood, Mass., has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) for its SmartCycle+ aircraft and engine usage monitoring system and for its data transmission unit (DTU) for the Sikorsky S-76A, A+, A++ and S-76C helicopters. It plans to secure STC approval for the S-76C+ by mid-2006. The JAR-OPS-3-compliant SmartCycle+ records parameters to produce engine usage, exceedence and event data. The STC marks the first certified application of an Altair product on a helicopter. Specializing in data acquisition and delivery products, Altair has been in business since 1995. Visit www.altairavionics.com.
Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd. has selected two products from CMC Electronics to offer as optional equipment on its PC-12 turboprop aircraft. CMC will supply its PilotView electronic flight bag (shown above) and SureSight M-series enhanced vision system (EVS) sensor. Both systems are to be approved on the PC-12 this month. The EFB will function as a stand-alone system and as a display for the EVS sensor.
In related news, Pentastar Aviation, Waterford, Mich., has had the PilotView Class 2 EFB certified for the Gulfstream G-II, G-IV and G-V, and ABC Completions, Montreal, has the EFB certified for the Bombardier Global Express. In addition to business aircraft, the Dubai Air Wing's L100-30 Hercules aircraft will be fitted with the PilotView EFB. Visit www.cmcelectronics.com.
UAV First Flight
EADS Military Aircraft staged the maiden flight of the high-speed demonstrator unmanned air vehicle (UAV), CARAPAS (CApacitè drone RAPide AntileurreS) at the Biscarrosse missile test center in France. The primary purpose of the flight was to test the UAV's systems, operating procedures and technical installations. The demonstrator system comprises the CARAPAS UAV, mission sensors, data links and the associated ground links, which ensure mission planning, flight management, mission analysis and data fusion. Assisting in the UAV's development is Italy's Galileo Avionica, which produces the Mirach 100/5 aerial target simulator. Visit www.eads.com.
The Max-Viz infrared (IR) enhanced vision (EV) system has been awarded supplemental type certificates (STCs) for two aircraft types. The EVS-2500 system has been approved for the Boeing 767-200, -300, -300 freighter and -400ER aircraft. Associated Air Center, part of Landmark Aviation, installed the first system in a B767. In addition, the Max-Viz-1000 has been STC'd for the Agusta A109E helicopter. The company's EVS systems have been certified and installed on more than 36 aicraft, including 12 helicopters. Visit www.max-viz.com.
Pipers with Entegra
The New Piper Aircraft Inc. has announced its plans to offer Avidyne's FlightMax Entegra integrated flight deck on the Seneca V and Malibu Mirage as standard equipment. The Seneca will have two 10.4-inch diagonal displays, while the Mirage will have three displays, including a dual-redundant EXP5000 primary flight display. Piper now offers the Entegra system on its Meridian, Warrior, Archer, Arrow and Saratoga aircraft. Among the customers to receive Entegra-equipped Warrior IIIs is the University of North Dakota, which ordered seven aircraft. In addition, the Tampa, Fla.-based aircraft manufacturer announced it will add Avidyne's CMax electronic approach chart display and integrated MultiLink services as part of the optional equipment package for Piper entry level and mid-range aircraft. The MultiLink services include satellite weather capabilities, text messaging and flight tracking. CMax allows access to Jeppesen's JeppView electronic airport diagrams and departure/arrival/approach charts. Visit www.avidyne.com.
In the November 2005 issue of Avionics Magazine, we used the phrase, "parts manufacturing authority." As readers pointed out, the official FAA term for PMA is "parts manufacturing approval." Both phrases, however, are used almost interchangeably in the industry today.