Bus Analysis Tool
Albuquerque, N.M.-based SBS Technologies recently introduced its next-generation PASS 3.0 bus analysis software for Mil-Std-1553 and ARINC 429 and 575. Called the PASS 3200, the software system takes advantage of ActiveX, COM and multitasking functionality, using the 32-bit Microsoft Windows operating system. PASS was developed for use in the laboratory, in flight, on the flight line, or for any application requiring real-time data acquisition and analysis. Visit www.sbs.com.
The third edition of Flight School, previously published as Flight Training, recently was released by Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc. (ASA). The full-color textbook helps student pilots prepare for maneuvers they must learn to gain private and commercial certificates. The reference also can be used in post-flight briefing to reinforce what the student practiced in flight.
ASA also has released its GPS Trainer software, allowing students to use their computers to master the navigational aid. The company added three GPS unit tutorials for a training package of six IFR-approved and handheld GPS units: the Garmin GNS530 and GNS430 and GPSMAP 295; the Bendix/King KLN94 and KLN89B; and the Apollo GX50/60. Visit www.asa2fly.com.
Flightcom Corp. recently introduced its Denali active noise-reduction headset with a panel power option. With this new configuration, the battery box is eliminated and the mic and headphone plugs are replaced with a single five-key, quick-disconnect plug. The panel power installation kit includes a wiring harness that is compatible with 12- or 24-volt DC aircraft systems. The jack can be wired in parallel to existing headset jacks. The headset costs $625. Visit wwww.flightcom.net.
Columbia Research Laboratories Inc. offers its SA-102MFTA and SA-302MFTA precision miniature force balance accelerometers, designed to operate from 24 to 32 volts DC aircraft power. The Model SA-102MFTA is a single-axis accelerometer and the SA-302MFTA is a tri-axial version. Both were designed for airborne telemetry applications. Their output signal format is compatible with most airborne, voltage controlled oscillators. Visit www.columbiaresearchlab.com.
Reliability Test System
Maxwell Technologies Inc. recently released its new line of Automated Accelerated Reliability Test Systems (AARTS). These systems are used to conduct accelerated aging performance characterization tests on discrete transistors, monolithic microwave integrated circuits, hybrid microwave integrated circuits and radio frequency/microwave module assemblies, ranging from DC to 18 GHz, and from four to 96 channels. Data from these tests can be used to determine critical failure rates. Visit www.maxwell.com.
Data Logging System
Clark Solutions has introduced its 5990-Series data logging system, available in bench-top or 19-inch rack-mounted styles. It can be connected to as many as 999 sensors; available sensors include temperature, humidity, pressure, pH, gas concentration and air velocity. All measurements may be time and date stamped. The 5990-Series may be activated manually or pre-programmed with start/stop dates and times or via limit-value overshoot. The unit connects to a printer or personal computer via an RS232 output. Visit www.clarksol.com.
Powercube has developed a line of DC-to-DC converters that employs advanced integrated magnetics technology, offering densities of up to 90 watts per cubic inch and efficiencies up to 90 percent. The converters maintain a constant switching frequency of 375 KHz and offer power ratings of from 25 to 300 watts. The units are available off the shelf or custom made and are offered in full- and half-brick sizes. Visit www.powercube.com.
Gilcom Technologies has developed a voice and data link around Motorola’s Iridium satellite transceiver technology. Called the BlueSkyLink C-1000, the product was designed primarily for cabin installation in aircraft used for corporate transport, air ambulance and charter operations. The installations can be permanent or portable. The package price ranges from $1,995 for a portable unit to $6,995 for an in-cabin installation. Visit www.blueskynetwork.com.
Traveling Wave Tubes
TMD Technologies Ltd., London, has developed PT6715 Ku-band traveling wave tubes for an airborne application. The company also has produced prototypes of higher-duty cycle versions, which are about to enter testing. Visit www.tmd.co.uk.
Data Device Corp. recently announced new Mil-Std-1553 cards and components. DDC now offers single-function, Mil-Std-1553 data bus interface cards, the BU-65567 and BU-65568, for the PC/104 format, developed around the company’s Enhanced Mini-ACE terminal. Intended for embedded flight applications, both cards offer a flexible RT mode with single, double, subaddress-specific circular and global circular buffering options, including 50 percent and 100 percent rollover interrupts. DDC also has added two CompactPCI (cPCI)-format cards to its line of Mil-Std-1553 test and simulation products, the BU-65570T and BU-65572T. The units provide interfacing for one or two, serial, dual-redundant data buses and a cPCI chassis.
DDC also offers the PCI Enhanced Mini-Ace, Mil-Std-1553 series–multichip hybrid solutions that reduce the component count, board real estate and power requirements for interfacing a 32-bit, 33-MHz, embedded PCI bus to a Mil-Std-1553 bus. The design eliminates the need for custom field programmable gate array (FPGA) logic, DDC says. The series features an advanced bus controller architecture that includes a built-in message sequence control engine; instructions for message processing, timing control, branches and subroutines; and user-defined interrupts, flags and general-purpose queue. The interface also provides a built-in FIFO that allows a PCI "master" to transfer a 32-word Mil-Std-1553 message in approximately 1.5 microseconds. Visit www.ddc-web.com.
Obstacle and Terrain Avoidance
Terrain features, wires, pylons and other obstacles–a scourge to helicopter pilots–may pose less of a threat thanks to a new technology from Sensing Devices Ltd., Hod Hasharon, Israel. The company’s Obstacle and Terrain Avoidance System (OTAS) is designed to detect wires, as well as pylons, trees, structures and terrain. It is being developed for operators of helicopters that regularly fly at low altitudes and in all weather and visibility conditions.
OTAS uses the fixed, wide beam of a low-frequency radar (L-C band), which has no moving parts. Resolution is achieved through signal processing rather than scanning, unlike laser or millimeter-wave radar, in other development programs. Rain, fog and dust will not degrade the radar, thanks to the low frequency of operation, according to Sensing Devices. Field tests have demonstrated its ability to detect high-voltage power lines and obstacles at ranges greater than 2,300 feet (700 meters), using a peak power of only 150 milliwatts.
The design minimizes processing requirements, however, by including a smaller number of pixels for the radar’s display. (Each pixel is larger.) The radar provides three coordinates–azimuth, elevation and range–for every pixel. Every wire or obstacle is displayed with its elevation angle.
Three-dimensional terrain mapping and obstacle detection are accomplished through Doppler spectrum analysis, similar to the processing in synthetic aperture radar (SAR). All detected obstacles and wires, along with a 3D or contour map, are presented on the OTAS display, allowing the helicopter crew to maneuver to avoid an accident. Should an obstacle, wire or terrain pose a threat, the system will present a special warning on the display and give an aural signal. For more information on the OTAS, e-mail [email protected].