ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Commercial, Military

Industry Scan

By | September 1, 2001
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Airlines Select Avionics
Air transport carriers recently selected avionics systems to update their existing aircraft or install in aircraft on order. Here are some examples:

  • Continental Airlines plans to retrofit 208 of its aircraft with Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). Worth some $17 million, this deal will complete the installation of EGPWS in the airline’s fleet of about 430 aircraft. Visit

  • Saudi Arabian Airlines, Corsair and Hong Kong Dragon Airlines have selected CMC Electronics to be the systems integrator and to provide its GPS-based CMA-900 flight management systems for their classic Boeing 747s, 19 aircraft in all. Visit

  • WestJet Airlines, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, selected the Honeywell avionics suite for 26 new Boeing 737s it has on order (with options for 58 more). The total value of the 26 systems is $16.5 million. The suite incorporates nav/com equipment with a multimode receiver, communication management units, RDR-4B weather radar, solid-state flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, flight data acquisition management systems, and traffic alert and collision avoidance systems.

  • United Airlines and British Airways have selected Tecstar’s PMAT 2000 for their Boeing 777 fleets. The PMAT 2000 is a portable maintenance access terminal used to load navigation and operational software updates, host digital maintenance records, and download aircraft fault code data. Visit

  • Japan Airlines has selected CMC Electronics’ CMA-2102 satcom antenna for its three new B767-300ER and eight new B777-200ER aircraft on order. Deliveries are to begin in the spring of 2002.

  • Alitalia has chosen the new-generation flight management system (FMS) developed jointly by Thales Avionics and Smiths Aerospace for its fleet of Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. This new FMS is Future Air Navigation System (FANS) A- and B-compatible. Visit and

  • Brendan Airways, doing business as USA 3000 Airlines, signed a contract for ARINC’s voice and data link message management and flight following services. The contract calls for ARINC’s GLOBALink VHF and HF data link services, OpCenter data link message processing, and WebASD flight tracking service. Visit

Fractional Ownership NPRM
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published on July 18 a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that defines new regulations covering the fractional ownership of aircraft, a shared proprietorship concept that has brought a boom to the executive air-transportation market. Based on recommendations by the FAA-appointed Fractional Ownership Aviation Rulemaking Committee, the NPRM would establish a new Subpart K of FAR Part 91. It largely follows FAR Part 121 and Part 135 rules and would require that fractionally owned aircraft be equipped with the following:

  • Cockpit voice recorder,

  • Flight data recorder,

  • Terrain awareness warning system,

  • Traffic alert and collision avoidance system, and

  • Either an airborne thunderstorm detection system or airborne weather radar.

Comments to the NPRM are due by Oct. 16, 2001. Information regarding the NPRM can be obtained from Katherine Perfetti, Flight Standards Service, phone 202-267-3760. Or e-mail [email protected]. A copy can be accessed from the National Business Aviation Association Web site: See also

Honeywell Initiatives
The Paris Air Show was a busy time for Honeywell. The company announced safety, technology and e-commerce projects.

Honeywell’s Nova Wire Integrity Program (NWIP), expected to debut in the fourth quarter of 2001, will provide operators an integrated, portable system to test and identify faulty wiring and connections in older aircraft. Honeywell predicts it will reduce maintenance costs by 20%..

NWIP functions include wiring system modeling, failure analysis, trend monitoring, prognostics, diagnostic analysis, logging of test results, and automatic test generation. The system can test up to 5,000 wires in a minute and locate faults to within 1 cm.

Airline operators and independent maintenance facilities or maintenance depots will be able to purchase equipment directly with an annual support agreement or select a long-term contract. GRCI will provide architecture modeling and data archiving. Qualtech Systems Inc. will supply advanced diagnostics software and maintenance planning. And Lectromec and DIT-MCO will contribute prognostic accelerated aging/fault detection and circuit analyzers, respectively.

Honeywell also is developing a new flat-panel, Multi-Function Radar Display (MFRD), expected to be available in the third quarter of 2002. The unit will show moving-map navigation, weather, terrain, traffic, checklists, video and other information. The MFRD is intended to retrofit existing aircraft to comply with expected safety mandates and accommodate new features, such as three-dimensional imagery, the company says. The new display aims at aging commercial, military, regional and business aircraft, including helicopters.

Also, Honeywell has launched, an e-commerce Web site for business, regional and general aviation avionics customers. The site will offer original equipment manufacturers, service centers, flight departments and operators a resource for project and program collaboration, account management and customer profiles, fleet operations data, real-time order entry and status, registration and new software upgrades for PC-FMS (a PC-based training tool for flight management system operation), dealer and service center registration, customized product and parts catalogs, and sales bulletins. Honeywell plans in the near future to incorporate into secure supply chain forecasting capabilities, flight planning, weather information, messaging and database downloads. The company also wants to integrate its e-Engine maintenance Web site into the fleet operations tool. Visit

An AEA Honor
Mid-Continent Instruments has won the Aircraft Electronics Association’s (AEA’s) "Associate Member of the Year" award at the AEA’s 44th Annual International Convention and Trade Show in Dallas. This annual award recognizes companies for their participation in the association and in the general aviation industry. Visit and

Suppliers for the A380
European airframer Airbus has announced more suppliers for its super jumbo A380. Thales Avionics, together with its German subsidiary Diehl Avionik Systeme, will provide flight deck displays. The control and display system (CDS), which handles all display and dialog functions, features eight liquid crystal displays (LCDs) with 6-by-8-inch (15-by-20-cm) screens, two keyboards, and two cursor control devices. Trackballs allow pilots to reconfigure the flight path in seconds, Thales claims. The CDS will be integrated at Thales Avionics’ Bordeaux facility.

Thales and TRW Aeronautical Systems (formerly Lucas Aerospace) will provide the A380’s variable frequency electrical power generation system.

Airbus also selected Rockwell Collins to provide the Avionics Full Duplex Ethernet (AFDX) switch for the giant aircraft’s 10/100BaseT Ethernet communication system. The switch provides the communications infrastructure for systems such as displays, radios and navigation sensors. It creates a high-bandwidth information network, supporting advanced data capabilities.

Parker Hannifin Corp.’s Electronic Systems Division, meanwhile, will supply the A380’s fuel measurement and management systems. The fuel measurement system gauges the amount of fuel in wing, fuselage and horizontal stabilizer tanks. This information is computed by the aircraft integrated modular avionics (IMA) suite. The fuel management system, also controlled by the IMA suite, monitors fuel distribution and commands pumps and valves to provide fuel transfer, center-of-gravity control, and refuel functions.

Visit,,, and

Agreements, Agreements
There is plenty of consolidation in the avionics industry. And when companies aren’t merging or acquiring each other, they appear to be cooperating and coordinating with each other. The proof is the many recent agreements made among avionics companies. Consider the following:

  • Northrop Grumman’s Navigation Systems Division (formerly Litton Aero Products) recently signed an agreement with CMC Electronics. It has Northrop’s inertial navigation systems and attitude systems marketed with CMC’s flight management systems and Global Positioning System (GPS) products. Visit And

  • IFR Ltd., the UK manufacturing branch of Wichita, Kan.-based IFR, signed a five-year agreement with BAE Systems to provide test equipment calibration and repair services at 49 BAE Systems sites in the UK. Visit and

  • The UK’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) has entered into a strategic alliance with SKY Computers Inc., Chelmsford, Mass., to jointly provide real-time data processing of signals from radar and electro-optic sensors. This new service will be part of QinetiQ (pronounced kinetic), a commercial venture that in July was split off from DERA, which is a Ministry of Defence agency. Visit and

  • Smiths Aerospace signed an agreement with Janco Aviation Pte. Ltd., Singapore, in which Janco will be the distributor in the Pacific Rim of Smiths’ Boeing 737 flight management systems. Visit

  • CMC Electronics has signed a multiyear agreement valued at some $32.5 million to supply GPS receivers to Honeywell International. The receivers will be integrated into Honeywell’s Local Area Augmentation System as the GPS reference receiver and in several of Honeywell’s airborne navigation and landing systems. Visit


  • Goodrich Corp. and AvroTec Inc., Aurora, Ore., have entered into a cooperative research agreement with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a synthetic vision system for general aviation aircraft. AvroTec will produce the hardware and serve as team leader; Goodrich will develop the synthetic vision software and database formats. Visit and

  • ARINC Inc. and Mxi Technologies have entered an alliance that has Mxi’s Maintenix aviation maintenance management tools incorporated into a portfolio of software products that ARINC offers to airlines. Maintenix provides configuration management, maintenance planning and scheduling, engineering change management, life usage tracking, fault and reliability tracking, real-time diagnostic support and regulatory compliance assurance. Visit and

  • Avidyne Corp., Lincoln, Mass., signed an agreement with Manufacturers’ Services Ltd. (MSL), Concord, Mass., to provide the capability to complete printed circuit board layouts, manufacturing and box assemblies at a greater speed for faster delivery of Avidyne’s flight deck products. Visit

  • The Wulfsberg Electronics division of Chelton Avionics Ltd. and Motorola’s Commercial Government and Industrial Solutions Sector signed a technology agreement that makes available Wulfsberg’s two-way radios for Project 25. A radio-user consortium established Project 25 in 1995 (see June 2001, page 75, and July 2001, page 49) to develop a standard for radios used by public safety organizations to ensure direct communications. Visit and

  • Peerless Electronics Inc., in Lynbrook, N.Y., signed an agreement to distribute circuit breakers produced by E-T-A Elektrotechnische Apparate GmbH, headquartered in Altdorf, Germany. Visit and

  • And TransContinental Avionics Corp., Marysville, Ohio, has signed on the avionics shop, Aero Graham, Fort Pierce, Fla., to be part of its network of avionics dealers. TransContinental also signed an agreement with moving-map display producer Eventide to market its product line. Visit

RTCA Moved
RTCA has a new address: 1828 L Street N.W., Suite 805, Washington, D.C. It retains all other contact information. Visit

Paris, By the Numbers
The 2001 Paris Airshow is now history, but it left behind some impressive figures. The show organizers, the Salons Internationaux de L’Aeronautique et de L’Espace reported the following stats for this year’s event:

  • 1,861 exhibitors from 42 countries,

  • 226 aircraft (22 more than in ’99),

  • 1.24 million square feet (115,371 m2) exhibit area,

  • 121,119 trade visitors (15% over ‘99),

  • About 500,000 visitors (a record, say show organizers), and

  • $55 million in orders announced.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Thales is now the sole shareholder of Thomson Marconi Sonar (TMS), having acquired in late July BAE Systems’ 49.9% share. TMS was formed in 1996 by GEC-Marconi and the former Thomson-CSF.
  • Goodrich Corp. has taken a 95% share in Hella Aerospace GmbH, Lippstadt, Germany, a manufacturer of exterior, interior and cockpit lighting. Visit and

  • Interstate Electronics Corp., an Anahiem, Calif.-based division of L-3 Communications, is acquiring the assets of Software Technical Systems Inc. (STS), a subsidiary of SiRF Technology Inc., in San Jose, Calif. STS produces chipsets, RF cards and software for selective availability anti-spoofing module (SAASM) GPS receivers. Visit

  • Chelton Avionics, Prescott, Ariz., acquired Sierra Flight Systems, Boise, Idaho, maker of synthetic vision flight displays. The Sierra electronic flight instrument system "will form the cornerstone" for Chelton’s line of general aviation products, says Charlie Stuff, Chelton’s president and CEO. Visit

  • The employees of Talon Instruments, San Dimas, Calif., have bought out the company. Steve Lowry, former Talon vice president of sales and marketing, will be president and CEO of the company, which produces VXI-based digital test products. Visit

  • TransContinental Avionics Corp. (TCA), Marysville, Ohio, acquired Xtreme Aviation, an on-line pilot shop based in Ocala, Fla. TCA comprises a national chain of avionics shops. For more on TCA, call 614-975-5788.

Mobile Training for STARS
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its contractor, Raytheon, have rolled out the latest addition to the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) program–a van equipped with STARS controller and tower displays. Unveiled at FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C., the demonstrator will visit 13 sites this summer to familiarize controllers with the new air traffic control interface. STARS is a massive FAA program to upgrade displays and processing systems used to manage arrival and departure data for aircraft within a 60-mile (96-km) radius of airport terminals.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), among other things, wanted the new system to allow for traditional button-based interfaces to minimize head-down time and to use the familiar ABC keyboard, in addition to toolbars and track balls, to access functions. The original display "was designed without controller input," says John Carr, NATCA president, adding that he’s "ecstatic" about the full-up STARS system.

"Now that the [STARS] development is almost complete, there’s a need to get the message to users that they got what they asked for," says Bob Eckel, Raytheon vice president for air traffic management. FAA funded the 28-foot (8.5-m) self-contained van, and Raytheon paid for the equipment, including a terminal controller workstation and two sunlight-readable tower displays. (The second sunlight-readable display is viewable outside the van.) Visit and

New Radios for Speedwing
The British Airways subsidiary, Speedwing, has ordered T6 multimode radios from Park Air Systems to update its ground-based VHF radio infrastructure. The radios supports both 25-kHz and 8.33-kHz channel spacing and will thus comply with International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations for reduced channel spacing, due to take effect late this year. The T6 radios will be installed in base stations wordwide, following the initial deployment to the new Athens Spata airport in Greece. Airlines use the Speedwing radio service for operational mobile communications. Visit

IFE for Narrowbodies
Airbus recently approved Thales Avionics-Inflight Systems’ i-series cabin entertainment and communications system as an offerable product for its single-aisle aircraft. At a customer’s request, the i-series system now can be factory installed by Airbus. The i-series integrates broadband communication, in-seat power, and entertainment onto a single platform. Passengers can receive audio and video entertainment plus access to the Internet and e-mail on their laptop computers. Airbus is installing the i-series system in an A318 as a flight test demonstrator. The aircraft is scheduled to enter flight test in March 2002. Visit

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