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Thursday, June 1, 2006

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Electronic Flight Bag

Virgin Atlantic Airways has picked Chicago-based navAero's t?BagC22 Class 2 electronic flight bag (EFB) as part of a project to equip its fleet of Airbus A340s and Boeing 747s. The installation will use navAero's EFB hardware and the SkyBook electronic flight bag platform from Lufthansa Systems, which is the systems integrator for the project.

The t?BagC22 features a built-in ARINC 429 receiver interface and a 10.4-inch t?Pad 1000 display. Avionics Support Group of Miami, navAero's partner, will provide supplemental type certificate (STC) engineering services for the package.

Lufthansa's SkyBook, which includes the company's eRouteManual electronic charts, Lido OC (operation center) route planning system and Topas takeoff performance software, will allow pilots to receive various airspace updates. For example, information for flight preparation and ground briefing at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports in London can be accessed through a universal serial bus (USB) key, which plugs directly into the t?BagC22 connectivity assembly interface.

Virgin Atlantic says it chose the Class 2 EFB over a Class 1 or Class 3 version primarily because of retrofit cost savings and operational commonality across its mixed aircraft fleet. The companies plan to begin airborne trials this year, with the first EFB-equipped flight anticipated in December 2006. The entire Virgin Atlantic fleet is scheduled for equipage by the end of 2007. Visit www.lhsystems.com, www.navaero.com and www.virginatlantic.com.

Enhanced Vision Camera

Tucson, Ariz.-based Universal Avionics Systems Corp. has agreed to market CMC Electronics' SureSight M-Series enhanced vision system (EVS), which increases pilot situational awareness at night and in reduced-visibility conditions. It is designed to reduce controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) occurrences and approach and landing accidents, and to check for runway obstacles. Universal will incorporate the EVS unit, which uses an infrared camera, into its EFI-890R and MFD-640 flat panel displays, as well as the Universal cockpit display (UCD). The camera has a 320-by-240-pixel display, a number that is doubled (640 by 480 pixels) when the unit is incorporated with the EFI-890R or MFD-640. Shipments of the EVS units will begin in late 2006. Visit www.usac.com and www.cmcelectronics.ca.

High-Speed 1553 Progresses

The Canadian company, Edgewater Computer Systems, claims to be about six months away from fully qualified, preproduction Mil-Std-1553 hardware that provides an uncompressed data throughput of 200 Mbits/s--200 times that of the legacy bus--while maintaining a 10-12 bit error ratio. The company is working with the U.S. Air Force to integrate interface cards into F-16 avionics boxes in preparation for flight tests later this year. An addition to the standard covering high-performance requirements--Mil-Std-1553B, Notice 5--was issued earlier this year.

The F-16 test is intended to prove that the Edgewater technology can transfer a data-intensive video file to the cockpit for display and send a file, such as map data, over the same bus deterministically and correctly. High-speed data transfer over existing wiring would make it affordable to upgrade the internal networks of older aircraft. And it could enable applications such as over-the-air video streaming. The F-16 could be an early customer, although there's interest from the Navy, as well, says Duane Anderson, Edgewater president and chief executive officer. The technology probably won't be integrated into major programs before 2008, he adds. The system is protected under ITAR rules, and the spec is available to authorized persons in the U.S. at http://assist.daps.dla.mil/.

Edgewater, which has pursued "Extended 1553" since 1999, provided the USAF technical content for the spec, "which is based on our technology," Anderson says. The standard is complete, he says, but there is "no limitation," so other contractors can build to it. The spec covers the physical and data link communications layers.

Data Device Corp. (DDC), which is developing high-speed 1553 technology, as well, completed a flight test on a Boeing F-15E1 advanced technology demonstrator in December 2005. That demo achieved 40 Mbits/s simultaneously with the legacy bus and up to 120 Mbits/s on a bus dedicated to higher-speed transfer. Since then DDC has achieved 150 Mbits/s in ground tests concurrently with the 1-Mbit/s bus, according to Todd Decker, marketing manager for 1553 products. The company expects to have technology in line with Notice 5 late this year, he adds.

Missile Protection

General Dynamics Canada has awarded a $10.4-million contract to BAE Systems to provide 31 AN/ALQ-144A(V)5 countermeasures systems, spares and logistics support for a fleet of 28 new Canadian CH148 Cyclone helicopters. The ALQ-144A protects helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft against surface-to-air and air-to-air infrared homing missiles. Under an agreement with Sikorsky International Operations Inc., General Dynamics Canada will integrate the multisensor systems into the CH148, which is based on the H-92 Superhawk. The CH148s will support surveillance, search-and-rescue and drug interdiction missions. Visit www.baesystems.com.

Piaggio P180 Upgrade

Rockwell Collins now offers its Pro Line 21 integrated display system (IDS) and AHS-3000 attitude heading reference system (AHRS) as an upgrade for Piaggio P180 operators. Pro Line 21 provides the ability to replace existing monitors with liquid crystal displays (LCDs). The AHS-3000 features digital micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors that supply heading and altitude information to the flight deck. Certification of the P180 modification program is scheduled for September 2006. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Standby Instrument

Brazilian manufacturer, Embraer, has chosen Thales' integrated electronic standby instrument (IESI) for its Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet. The IESI provides aircraft attitude (gyro horizon), airspeed and altitude in a single instrument and can be integrated with other avionics systems. Also installed on all Embraer regional and business jets, the instrument features an active matrix liquid crystal display in a three-ATI format. The Phenom 100 is scheduled to enter service in mid-2008 and the Phenom 300 about a year later. Visit www.thalesgroup.com and www.embraer.com.

Broadband Service

Panasonic Avionics Corp. plans to launch a broadband data communications service for commercial and business aviation. The company also plans to expand its existing direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television service from domestic to international coverage. Each service uses a single antenna mounted on the aircraft. The antennas can be installed together under the same radome.

Customers will have the option to purchase the services separately or together. Panasonic says more than half of its clients want both broadband and DBS television. The company is evaluating whether to offer an Internet protocol (IP) service in addition to DBS. Announcements about airline customers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and satellite service providers are expected in 60 to 90 days. The data rate for the commercial service is quoted at 10 Mbits/s.

Panasonic anticipates the international DBS television service will be available this year. The first aircraft installations of the broadband service are scheduled for early 2007. Visit www.panasonic.aero.

Logistics Support

Smiths Aerospace has received an up to $34.5-million U.S. Navy contract to provide performance-based logistics (PBL) for the stores management upgrade system (SMUG) on F/A-18 aircraft. The program is set for completion in 2016. Visit www.smiths-aerospace.com.

Bizjet CDM

Honeywell's Global Data Center has launched a real-time flight data management service that interacts with FAA's Enhanced Traffic Management System (ETMS). An upgrade offered with the company's Flight Sentinel, the service will allow bizjet operators to link into FAA's Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) program, which displays various data about aircraft flow in the National Airspace System.

In an unrelated agreement, Honeywell will finish the development and certification of a Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) and Ground-Based Regional Augmentation System (GRAS) for Airservices Australia. Both systems monitor the accuracy of GPS navigation signals and transmit a correction, or augmentation, signal to the GPS navigation systems of nearby aircraft. The systems will provide increased safety for commercial operators, especially in low-visibility conditions. GBAS is eventually expected to provide Cat II and III landing capability. The companies anticipate certification in 2008, with the services operational immediately after. Visit www.honeywell.com and www.airservices.gov.au.

Flight Info System

As part of a retrofit project, Raytheon Aircraft Services in Little Rock, Ark., has equipped a Hawker 800XP with Rockwell Collins' integrated flight information system (IFIS). The system features electronic charts, weather services and various types of air traffic information. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Airborne SAR

Elisra Group subsidiary, Tadiran Spectralink, has completed the first installations of its airborne search-and-rescue system (ASARS-G) on Agusta Westland EH-101 helicopters operated by an unnamed European NATO nation. ASARS-G, as well as the PRC-434G/SV personal survival radio, also is being installed on a fleet of NH Industries' NH-90s for another NATO country. Visit www.tadspec.com.

Flight Monitoring

Aeroflot Russian Airlines has picked Teledyne Controls' wireless quick access recorder (WQAR) for installation on its western fleet. The airline also will use Teledyne's Wireless GroundLink service to supplement its flight data monitoring program. Aeroflot says that Teledyne's service will allow it to reach a goal of analyzing 95 percent of recorded data after each flight. Visit www.teledynecontrols.com and www.aeroflot.com.

Rollout

Elbit Systems Ltd. of Israel and Avioane Craiova of Croatia have rolled out the first IAR-99 Soim training aircraft developed for the Romanian Air Force. The aircraft are equipped with Elbit avionics, including its advanced combat training system (ACTS). Avioane Craiova manufactures the IAR-99 Soim and Elbit is the avionics supplier. Visit www.elbitsystems.com and www.acv.ro.

Network Waveform

The U.S. Air Force , in partnership with BAE Systems and Fairfax, Va.-based SRA International, has tested the Flexible Access Secure Transfer (FAST) Internet protocol (IP) waveform. A series of flights using an F-15, a Beechcraft King Air and two ground stations demonstrated the ability to add a high-speed IP connection to the multifunction information distribution systems (MIDS). The service contracted BAE Systems to develop and demonstrate FAST, which improves tactical communications and adds a mobile network to existing Link 16 terminals. Visit www.baesystems.com.

Data Link

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have awarded the second phase of the Quint Networking Technology (QNT) program to a group headed by Rockwell Collins. Along with Thales, Boeing and Launch Pad Labs, Collins conducted architectural studies and hardware risk reduction as part of a $3.5-million Phase 1. The second phase, worth $19 million, will continue the development of the data link technology for use on weapons systems and by tactical unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Type Approval

Atlanta-based EMS Satcom's eNfusion AMT-3800 high-gain antenna has received type approval from Inmarsat. The fuselage-mounted antenna is compliant with the ARINC 781 standard. AMT-3800 has two modules, the antenna and the diplexer/low-noise amplifier (DLNA), instead of three modules required under ARINC 741. Visit www.emssatcom.com.

Visualization

Bluffdale, Utah-based Linux Networx and Computational Engineering International of Apex, N.C., are partnering to develop a family of visualization systems that they say will have up to twice the power of previous-generation supercomputers. Visit www.linuxnetworx.com and www.ensight.com.

Satcom Systems

SkyTrac Systems Ltd. will supply Iridium ISAT-100 terminals for up to 50 helicopters operated by the Deutsche Rettungsflugwacht (DRF), a German air rescue and emergency medical service (EMS) provider. DRF will use the terminals for air-to-ground voice and data transmission, as well as for flight following. The units will be integrated into the helicopters' Euronav flight management systems. SkyTrac is an Iridium supplier in Penticton, Canada.

Another Iridium dealer, Sky Connect, has received an order from Era Aviation of Lake Charles, La., for 75 Tracker systems, with an option for 50 additional units. Era plans to install the systems, which provide real-time information about air-, land- and ship-based resources, on its fleet of Agusta, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky helicopters. Visit www.iridium.com, www.skytrac.ca and www.skyconnect.aero.

WAAS Application

Universal Avionics Systems has completed the first flight tests of its "W" series flight management system using the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). The company conducted six WAAS instrument approaches--five at Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington, N.M., and one at Tucson International Airport. Universal used its Raytheon King Air 350 advanced avionics test platform, which has an EFI-890R suite, for the test flights. Visit www.uasc.com.

EFIS Retrofit

Landmark Aviation of Tempe, Ariz., has delivered the first M28 SkyTruck equipped with Chelton Flight Systems' FlightLogic electronic flight instrument system (EFIS). The system integrates a remote-mounted attitude heading reference system (AHRS), GPS and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) receiver, and an air data computer, as well as existing VHF equipment. FlightLogic also comes with a terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS). Visit www.landmarkaviation.com and www.cheltonflightsystems.com.

Passenger Services

American Airlines and American Eagle have chosen ARINC's Web-based OpCenter to serve as a backup for their flight operations computers. OpCenter is an electronic mail server that allows airline personnel to send and receive messages with aircraft, air traffic service providers and remote operations. Visit www.arinc.com and www.aa.com.

TCAS Application

L-3 Avionics Systems has added a verbal intruder positioning (VIP) feature to its SkyWatch 497 traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) for general aviation. The capability extends aural alerts for range, bearing and relative altitude when a traffic advisory (TA) is issued for approaching aircraft.

For example, pilots will hear warnings such as "Traffic, Traffic--12 O'Clock High--3 miles," in addition to the standard visual display of nearby traffic. The system displays up to 10 aircraft simultaneously. The VIP upgrade also is available as a retrofit option on aircraft with SkyWatch 497. Visit www.l-3com.com and www.flyskywatch.com.

Flight Deck

New Piper Aircraft Inc. of Vero Beach, Fla., has chosen Avidyne's Entegra flight deck for its PA-44 Seminole training aircraft. Entegra is now used on New Piper's entire line of 11 aircraft models. The flight deck comes with two 10.4-inch high-resolution displays--an EXP5000 primary flight display and an EX5000 multifunction display. Visit www.avidyne.com and www.newpiper.com.

Electronic Warfare

The U.S. Navy has contracted BAE Systems to supply 13 additional low-band transmitter-antenna groups for EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft under a $24.3-million contract. The system protects aircraft by jamming enemy radar and communications signals. Visit www.baesystems.com.

Helicopter Upgrade

CHC Helicopter Corp. subsidiary Heli-One of Norway has contracted CMC Electronics to provide its CMA-9000 flight management system and CMA-3024 GPS sensor as part of a retrofit project for an unnamed military Puma operator. The helicopter is the first application to feature both CMC products on the same aircraft. Visit www.cmcelectronics.ca and www.chc.ca.

ISO Certification

ITCN Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, is now certified to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 9001:2000 specification. The approval covers specialized testing products, components and engineering services. Visit www.itcninc.com.

Acquisition

EADS Test & Services, Irvine, Calif., has acquired IFR, a French company offering software systems for aircraft management, specifically maintenance information systems. Visit www.racalinst.com.

Alliance

LynuxWorks of San Jose, Calif., has agreed to market and distribute products made by Aonix, San Diego, alongside its LynxOS series. Visit www.aonix.com and www.lynuxworks.com.

Restoration Project

Avionics providers Gables Engineering and Vermillion Inc. have donated equipment to a project to restore the first production Beechcraft King Air, LJ-1. Visit www.gableseng.com, www.vermillioninc.com and www.kingairfoundation.com.

Software Tool

Boeing has chosen Alameda, Calif.-based Wind River Systems' Workbench software development tool for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. Visit www.windriver.com.

Lighting System

Precise Flight Inc. of Bend, Ore., has chosen Leading Edge Avionics, also of Bend, as the launch customer for its HID (high-intensity discharge) Pulselite system on Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. Visit www.preciseflight.com.

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