The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently approved the first standalone micro electromechanical system- (MEMS)-based attitude heading reference system (AHRS) for general aviation. Crossbow Technology, San Jose, Calif., designed the equipment to meet all FAA requirements. The AHRS500 is certified to technical standard order (TSO) 4 (bank and pitch) and 6 (heading). It also has passed the new multiple-lightning strike test as part of its qualification, says Dean Johnson, vice president for inertial systems.
The baseline for Crossbow’s AHRS was low-cost but reliable sensors developed by the auto industry for coarse inertial applications such as skid detection. The company then developed calibration approaches, packaging, software algorithms and environmental design features. The result, according to Crossbow, is a flight-proven AHRS that operates independently, without requiring air data or GPS inputs to correct operation. Mean time between failures (MTBF) is about 20,000 hours and pricing is $15,000 in quantities of one. Crossbow designed the AHRS to provide attitude and heading measurement with static and dynamic accuracy better than traditional spinning mass vertical and directional gyros. Visit www.xbow.com.
Rugged pressure transmitters from Druck Inc., New Fairfield, Conn., feature advances in application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and surface-mount technologies, with user-adjustable zero/span controls accessible via a removable screwed end cap. The PTX 7900 series offers a "standardized" core available in pressure ranges from 1 to 10,000 psi (pounds/square inch)–sealed gauge or absolute–with proportional two-wire 4-20mA (milliamp) output. Accuracy is +/-0.25 percent F.S. for combined nonlinearity, hysteresis and repeatability, with an operating temperature range of minus 40 degrees C to 100 degrees C. The sensor is enclosed by an electron beam-welded stainless steel body and Hastelloy isolation diaphragm. Visit www.druck.com and www.pressure.com.
New SW44217 and SW44220 pushbutton switches from Electro-Mech Components, South El Monte, Calif., provide dual- and quad-lamp design for maximum brightness and lamp/light-emitting diode (LED) redundancy. The snap-feel illuminated switches also feature gold-plated contacts, interchangeable lenses with clear top covers, black opaque sides and legend plates. The switches measure 0.75 inch (19 mm) square and require about 1.6 inches (40.6 mm) of space behind the panel. Standard solder lug terminals are used for interconnection. Visit www.electromechcomp.com.
UK-based Drake Electronics Ltd. has launched FreeSpeak, a license-free digital wireless, voice communication system (VCS) operator position. This lightweight system, packaged in a user "beltpack," provides an alternative to the traditional console-mounted, hard-wired operator position, the company says. The functions include selection of radios, telephone lines, direct access keys, speed dial keys and intercom connections. FreeSpeak is interoperable with traditional operator positions.
In a normal environment, operating range can extend to 985 feet (300 meters) from the FreeSpeak antenna; the range can be augmented via multiple antennas. Antennas can be located as far as 0.93 miles (1.5 km) from the central equipment, using CAT 5 connections. An application would be for supervisors who need mobility and perform monitoring or active control roles. Visit www.drakeelectronics.com.
Data Acquisition System
The PI-3105 multichannel, analog/digital (A/D) data acquisition system from Pulse Instruments provides programmable gain, filter, strobe timing and CDS timing on a per-channel basis and offers global offset control. A/D modules can be swapped out to optimize speed or resolution. At this time, the 14-bit/10-MHz modules are ready to ship, and 16-, 12- and 10-bit modules at various speeds are in development. The PI-3105 is aimed at multiple-output analog device testing, with one to 32 channels of signal conditioning and A/D conversion, and digital data multiplexing for efficient channel usage. Digital data is interfaced to a digital data acquisition system, the 100-MHz PI-41000 card in cPCI. Visit www.pulseinstruments.com/acquisition.
Radar Video Processor
Primagraphics, of Charlottesville, Va., has introduced radar acquisition, tracking and distribution servers in PCI and VME formats. The company’s Radar Video Processor (RVP) family comprises a core set of integrated software modules, using standard operating systems and computing platforms. The modules support tasks such as radar video acquisition, clutter processing, networked radar video distribution, plot extraction and automatic target acquisition. RVP video server, RVP plot extractor and RVP tracker configurations are available, along with a range of options for packaging and functional enhancements. Packaging options include 4U, 19-inch (48.3-cm) rack-mount; ruggedized naval enclosure; and 6U, single-slot VME card. Visit email@example.com.
Ground School DVD
Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc.’s new "instrument rating" course, available on DVD, provides more than seven hours of information for students preparing for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) knowledge exam. The offering, priced at $99.95, includes interactive quizzes with real FAA exam questions, plus a test prep book and computer testing supplement. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Jose, Calif.-based Nufern has unveiled specialty multimode optical fiber tailored to perform at extreme temperatures and harsh environments. The fiber comes in step-index and graded-index configurations, with numerical apertures ranging from 0.06 to 0.45 and core sizes from 20 aem to 700 aem. Radiation-resistant specialty multimode fibers are available on request. The company also has introduced double-clad optical fiber for high-power lasers and amplifiers, featuring low-numerical aperture (NA), single-mode, large-mode area or multimode cores. Double-clad fibers include Panda-type polarization. Nufern also has announced a line of RGB fiber in both germanium-doped and pure core silica versions, with low attenuation and in wavelengths as low as 400 nanometers. Visit www.nufern.com.
Jeppesen has identified the IR-310 GPS receiver as compatible with company software applications such as FliteMap and JeppView FliteDeck. Based on the SiRF Star II architecture, the IR-310 tracks up to 12 satellites simultaneously, reacquiring satellite signals in less than 100 milliseconds and updating position once per second. The device offers positional accuracy to within 1 to 5 meters through differential capability and real-time RTCM (Radio Technical Commission Maritime) corrections. It is capable of operating within the wide area augmentation system (WAAS) and the European geostationary navigation overlay service (EGNOS) system. Power is supplied through a universal serial bus (USB) connection via a PC or handheld computer. Visit www.jeppesen.com.
Flight Status Information
Flight Explorer, of Arlington, Va., has announced Flight Explorer FastTrack, a service that enables any Web site to display accurate flight status information. The turnkey service is aimed at Web sites operated by airlines, airports, travel companies and other aviation-related entities. Visitors to FastTrack-enabled sites can track flights in the United States, Canada and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. They can view an aircraft’s position, flight status, altitude, ground speed, aircraft type, arrival and departure airports, departure time, estimated arrival time and arrival/departure weather, either graphically or textually. Users need to know the airline/flight number, the airline and arrival/departure airports, or the airports and times. Visit www.flightexplorer.com.
Systran Corp., Dayton, Ohio, has unveiled the LinkXchange LXVME2500 crossbar switch, a managed, non-blocking crosspoint switch on a 6U VME64X card. The unit can switch digital signals from 65 megabits/sec to 3.2 gigabits/sec. The protocol or structure of data is transparent to the switch and is unaltered by its passage through the switch, for minimal latency. The product includes eight switched ports, and an expansion card, attached directly to the base switch, adds eight ports. An LXVME2500 includes eight small form-factor, pluggable (SFP) transceiver modules, each of which provides the physical ports for one input/output pair. Different SFP transceiver module types support different data rates and formats. Visit www.systran.com.
Ensco Inc., Endicott, N.Y., has launched a verification program for safety critical avionics software testing through RTCA/DO-178B/ED-12B. The Six Star program involves continually refined testing approaches and automation at six service levels: software requirements, design, source code, review, analysis and module test. At each level the program supplies a defined set of tasks to evaluate the avionics software development against safety critical standards. Quick turnaround is available for "rough order of magnitude" quotes, and customized quotes based on source lines of code requirements or complexity are provided. Remote or on-site unit test development capability is also offered. Visit www.ensco.com.