Book about Free Flight
The noted author and long-time national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows, has published a book entitled Free Flight: From Airline Hell to a New Age of Travel. As the title quite adequately describes, Fallows writes of the emerging "logjam" in commercial air travel. He notes that innovations over the past three decades largely have been limited to moving passengers more cheaply and safely between major hubs. But traveler comfort, convenience and flexibility have been left out, he adds. In his book, Fallows sees three groups that are inventing and building ways to eliminate the gridlock problem. He cites the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the Klapmeier brothers of Cirrus Design in Duluth, Minn., who invented the "first genuinely new small airplane in more than 25 years," and Eclipse Aviation, Albuquerque, N.M., which "uses technologies first applied on cruise missiles to develop ‘cheap’ jet planes for ‘air taxi’ services…" Published by Public Affairs Books, Free Flight costs $25 and comprises 272 pages. Visit www.jamesfallows.com and www.publicaffairsbooks.com.
Emergency Locator Transmitter
ARTEX Aircraft Supplies now offers a new emergency locator transmitter, the Model ELT C406-1. It transmits on all three emergency frequencies: 121.5Mhz, 243.0 Mhz and 406.025 MHz. It was developed for aircraft owners and operators who prefer to use a single-connector antenna and single-coax-feed cable to accommodate the three frequencies. The C406-1 comes with either a rod or blade-type antenna. ARTEX is a Chelton Group company located in Aurora, Ore. For more information, phone 800-547-8901 or 503-678-7929.
Cicoil Corp., Valencia, Calif., has introduced a process for producing silicone-encapsulated ribbon cable. Called the 700X, the process produces cables that are up to 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) in width and up to 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) in thickness. The cables can be used for applications involving temperature and environmental extremes, including vibration, shock and repetitive motion. Visit www.cicoil.com.
The AC45LP Low-Profile Aircraft Scale, produced by Intercomp Co., Minneapolis, Minn., was designed to weigh aircraft ranging in weight from an F-16 to a Boeing 747, yet to be handled by just two persons. Providing on-site latitude/altitude correction, the wireless unit delivers a weight accuracy of +/- 0.1% of applied load. The AC45LP uses frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) telemetry. The accompanying AC2000-RF CPU (central processing unit) wireless interface can be positioned nearly anywhere in a hangar and simultaneously monitor and control up to 32 scales. The software is preprogrammed to include most commercial aircraft configurations. All data can be transferred to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Visit www.intercommpco.com.
Training for FAA Testing
Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc. (ASA) recently released several references to further the training of pilots and mechanics. For $9.95, one can acquire the updated Guide to the Biennial Flight Review, which helps pilots with flight reviews and updates flight instructors who conduct the reviews. The book includes questions and answers plus references for further study.
ASA also now offers the 2002 Test Prep series for pilots and Fast-Track Test Guide series for mechanics, as well as updates to the 2001 editions of the two references. The updates can be downloaded from the ASA Web site, www.asa2fly.com. Many changes to this year’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests derive from the new FAA Instrument Flying Handbook. Prices for the test guides begin at $12.95.
In addition, ASA offers Prepware, a reference that combines all the information found in the Test Prep and Fast-Track Test Guide series with the benefits of computer-based training, including performance graphs, built-in timers, realistic FAA test samples, and other features.
Airborne Data Server
A cabin file server based on PC-server technology, bundled with software applications, has been developed to bring basic networking, e-mail, moving map capability, and Internet access to corporate and commercial aircraft. Pentar Avionics, Bothell, Wash., has introduced its JetLAN Advantage, a package that includes hardware and software. Based on the company’s JetLAN cabin file server, the new product adds secure access in the aircraft to a ground network server. E-mails, therefore, are not stored and forwarded to an intermediate account. This feature is in addition to such provisions as file sharing among passengers, printer services, modem sharing and data storage. In recent tests of ground server access, users on board a corporate Bombardier CL-604, with just 4800 bits/sec bandwidth available, could send and receive e-mails simultaneously. Visit www.pentar.com.
Flight Planning Software
RMS Technology has added weather features, video help files, takeoff performance and access to free approach plates to its Flitesoft flight planning software. The weather features include radar in motion, temperature/dew-point spread, isobars and wind symbols, along with a weather report averaging one to two pages in length. The video help files provide instruction for every major program function via step-by-step audio-video presentations. The Flitesoft takeoff performance feature provides pilots with takeoff roll distance and the distance to clear 50-foot (15.2-m) obstacles. And the latest version of Flitesoft permits Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) members with access to the Internet to download free current and legal approach plates. Visit www.rmstek.com.
CMC Electronics Cincinnati recently placed on the market its new TVS-8500 infrared thermal imager, a fully integrated unit with on-board data storage and image analysis. It includes a 5-inch (12.7-cm) liquid crystal display (LCD) that presents five cursors as well as vertical and horizontal profile lines. The TVS-8500 can record in real time and play back imagery at rates of from 1 to 120 frames/sec. It includes automatic temperature ranging, which allows the user to follow critical temperatures over quickly changing scenes. The units thermal dynamic range is from —40ï¿½ to 900ï¿½ C. Visit www.cmccinci.com.
dB Systems Inc., Redmond, Wash., has on the market its Model 375 audio panel. It is a plug-and-play replacement for the Andrea AN/AIC10, AN/AIC18 and AN/AIC24 military intercom systems, which are installed on the UH-1H, B-47, B-52, H-19, C-130, C-141, KC-135, S-60, T-38, AH-1T, SH-3, CH-3C and CH-53 among other aircraft. The Model 375 doubles the number of channels in the older units and reduces the noise from bleed-over static when switching channels. Technicians can swap out the older units for the Model 375 within a half-hour. www.dbsystemsinc.com
A 4-channel oscilloscope that includes a 1-Gigasample/sec sampling rate, an analog bandwidth of 500 MHz, and memory length of 1 megaword (Mword) has been introduced by Yokogawa Martron, in High Wycombe, UK. The DL1740 SignalExplorer includes a 6.4-inch (16.3-cm) liquid crystal display and USB-compliant interfaces to allow the connection of keyboards and USB printers. Other interfaces include GP-1B, RS-232 and an optional SCSI link. The 500-MHz bandwidth is achieved via a dedicated single-chip input amplifier. The DL1740’s dedicated, high-speed data processor allows a screen update rate of 30 times/sec. The SignalExplorer occupies an A4-size footprint on a test bench and weighs 12 pounds (5.5 kg). Visit www.martron.co.uk.
Video Windows Card
A single-slot 6U VME-based video windows card is now available from Primagraphics, Amherst, Mass. Called the Puma, the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product will acquire and display a range of video inputs, from TV to high-resolution RGB (red/green/blue) video. It was designed for military command-and-control consoles and video replay systems, as well as for airborne displays. One Puma card will display two live video windows selected from any combination of four independent color or grayscale composite inputs and a single RGB input. Additional video windows can be obtained by daisy-chaining multiple Puma cards, using DVI/PanelLink cables. Visit www.primagraphics.net.
Tyco Electronics, Harrisburg, Pa., recently introduced its Pivot Block terminal block, which uses insulation displacement contacts (IDCs) to terminate wires without stripping and crimping. Users terminate wires by pivoting a lever on the terminal block; this forces the wire into the IDC contact. The Pivot Block provides a snap and tactile feel when wires are terminated, indicating a proper connection. It accepts solid and stranded wire from 22 to 24 AWG (American wire gage). Visit www.tyco.com
Cable and Connector Diagnostics
A device that detects and indicates the consequences of faulty aircraft wiring and connections has been developed jointly by two companies: International Aero Inc., Burlington, Wash., and Phoenix Aviation and Technology, in the UK. Called the Portable Cable Diagnostic Unit (PCDU), the handheld device uses time domain reflectometry (TDR) to map the circuitry. The information is downloaded to a processor for fault detection to within 0.4 inch (1 cm). TDR has long been used for twisted pair cable, but the PCDU works on single- core wire as well. It can, in fact, process mixed harness bundles of single, twisted or coaxial cable types up to 100 at a time. The PCDU conducts an inspection in less than an hour, and the operator does not have to remove parts, pull wires or visually inspect every inch of wiring to unearth blemishes, cuts or separations. In addition, the PCDU can verify the proper installation of wire and connectors. The PCDU is a derivative of Phoenix’s Automatic Real-Time Cable-Monitoring Analysis System (ARCMAS). Visit www.intl-aero.com.
Fluke Corp, Everett, Wash., has introduced a new oscilloscope calibrator and added new waveform mathematics capability to its 190 series of ScopeMeter test tools.
The 9500B "single box" calibrator supports a broad oscilloscope workload bandwidth–from DC to at least 6 GHz. And it provides the traceable signals required to calibrate a wide range of oscilloscope instruments, made by Agilent, Tektronix, LeCroy and others. It can be upgraded when workloads change and offers simultaneous output on five channels. It allows hands-free calibration with Active Head Technology.
Meanwhile, Fluke now offers new firmware that adds mathematics capabilities to its 190-Series ScopeMeter, a dual-input oscilloscope with bandwidth up to 200 MHz and a real-time sampling rate of 2.5 GS/sec. Visit www.fluke.com.