A new commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) single-board computer (SBC) has been introduced by Vista Controls, a Curtiss-Wright company. The VCP P3A was designed to provide fast access to large amounts of data. It gives users in military applications the option of an extended-temperature networked processor in a Windows-based client/server operating environment. The VCP-P3A uses the latest-generation, Socket 370 Intel Pentium Celeron high-speed (up to 1.2-GHz) processor, as well as a 133-MHz system bus and PC266 memory bus. Visit www.vistacontrols.com.
Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc., Newcastle, Wash., now offers its new Flight Timer, a chronometer that provides multiple timer functions, count-up and count-down capabilities, elapsed trip-timer, and a digital notepad for squawk codes or frequencies. Pilots can use the Flight Timer to calculate time to the next waypoint, fuel tank changes, turns in holding or an instrument approach. It includes a backlit liquid crystal display, stopwatch, fuel timer and multifunction clock (AM/PM, Zulu and military time). The Flight Timer costs $49.95. Visit www.2fly.com.
Traffic Avoidance Transponder
Now, instead of relying on visual surveillance and information from air traffic control (ATC) for traffic avoidance, pilots of small aircraft can use Honeywell’s new Bendix/King KT 73 transponder to receive traffic data from ATC radar systems. The data comes courtesy of a free-of-charge service called Traffic Information Services (TIS) and can be gained via the transponder’s Mode S data link capability within a 55-mile range of the ground radar. The information is linked to a Bendix/King electronic cockpit display (KMD 850, KMD 550, KMD 250 and versions of the KI 825) to show a frequently updated map and up to seven nearby aircraft. The information, which includes each nearby aircraft’s relative location, direction of flight, and altitude above or below the equipped aircraft, is updated every 4.7 seconds. The KT 73 costs $5,290, considerably cheaper than a traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS), which costs some $20,000. Visit www.honeywell.com.
The Series 481 multichannel signal conditioner by the Electronics Division of PCB Piezotronics Inc. was designed to prepare measurement signals from piezoelectric sensors for input to recording or analysis instruments. It allows for one of three charge sensitivities to be selected through an input via computer or keypad control. The Series 481 signal conditioners are available in eight- or 16-channel configurations. Options include RS-232 computer interface and RS-485 serial interface, to daisy-chain multiple units. Visit www.pcb.com.
Costa Mesa, Calif.-based StacoSwitch recently introduced a new line of rugged trackballs for both the military and commercial marketplaces. The military version is protected from radio-frequency and electromagnetic interference. It has three buttons and can replace a three-button mouse. The military version comes standard with a Mil-C-38999 connector. The commercial version is either PS/2- or USB-compatible and has optional, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting for the three buttons. Its ruggedness is comparable to the military version. Visit www.stacoswitch.com.
Two new antennas for satellite communications recently were unveiled by Chelton Inc., Orlando, Fla. The IGA-3000 intermediate-gain antenna conforms to Inmarsat specifications for use with Aero-M satcom systems, and the IGA-5000 supports Aero-I applications. The two new antennas use the next-generation phased array technology and electronic steering pioneered in Chelton’s HGA-7000 high-gain antenna, which recently received Inmarsat approval for Aero H/H+ and the Swift64 high-speed data service. The IGA-3000 and -5000 are less than 2 inches high, reducing aerodynamic drag. Visit www.cheltonsatcom.com.
Fuel System Test Set
A fuel system test set developed by UK-based BCF Designs Ltd. for the UK Ministry of Defence is intended for use across all aircraft platforms. Electronic test circuitry, accessed and controlled by aircraft-specific, menu-driven software, provides for the automatic setting of aircraft test parameters and the storage of test results, complementing manual procedures. Embedded fuel tank data and fault diagnostic software allow users to identify problems without defueling tanks. Visit www.testbcf.com.
EVS for Helicopters
Max-Viz Inc., Portland, Ore., recently conducted tests of its enhanced vision system (EVS) on a helicopter to demonstrate how an EVS could assist rotary-wing pilots, particularly in operations where they are unfamiliar with the terrain. Three EVS-1000 uncooled long-wave infrared (IR) sensors, each with a 50-degree field of view, were fitted to an AH-1F Cobra to provide a panoramic (150-degree) view. Imagery from the sensors was transmitted to three dedicated, video-capable displays mounted to a fold-down panel on the Cobra’s instrument pedestal. With IR imagery, the pilot was able to monitor terrain and nearby obstacles in darkness and other low-visibility conditions. Visit www.max-viz.com.
Green Hills Software Inc., San Francisco, recently introduced a new way to debug real-time systems without the need to stop them to examine data. The MULTI debugger, used with Express Logic’s ThreadX real-time operating system, makes it possible for a real-time system to control continuously operating hardware, such as motors or actuators, all the time. "User threads and ISRs [interrupt service routines] will no longer require special handling to be debugged, and no I/O [input/output] hardware or drivers are required," according to Express Logic’s president, Bill Lamie. The debugging technology, called Run-Mode JTAG Debug, enables interrupts to continue to be serviced and allows other ThreadX application threads to continue to operate normally while one or more threads are stopped for examination by the debugger. Visit www.ghs.com.