EFB for a BBJ

Jet Aviation recently designed, certified and installed an electronic flight bag (EFB) with accompanying articulating arm and power supply in a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ). Jet Aviation Engineering Services (JAES), San Antonio, Texas, designed and certified the EFB; systems were installed on the left and right sides of the BBJ cockpit, in Jet Aviation’s Basel, Switzerland, facility. The EFB is a PC pen tablet with a 10-inch touch-screen, color liquid crystal display (LCD). Designed for both in-flight and taxi use, it is preloaded with flight charts, maps and flight planning software, flight and ground operations data, minimum equipment lists (MELs) and electronic check lists. The EFB can receive video signals and allow the pilots to display GPS directions and approach charts, obtain weather briefings, retrieve e-mail and operate basic computer applications, such as Microsoft Word and Outlook Express. An integrated local area network (LAN) output allows for printing capabilities. JAES now is working on a comparable unit for the Gulfstream V and Embraer legacy aircraft. Visit www.jetaviation.com.

ARINC Service for Link 2000+

Eurocontrol has selected ARINC Inc. to be the data link service provider for the Maastricht (Netherlands) upper air center, as part of the agency’s Link 2000+ controller pilot data link communications (CPDLC) program. ARINC will deploy a network of 12 VHF digital link (VDL) Mode 2 ground stations to support CPDLC communications above 24,500 feet (FL245) in the skies over Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and northern Germany. The system is to be operational in October.

Eurocontrol launched Link 2000+ in 2002 to implement operational air/ground data link services in the core area of Europe. The program will start with a limited set of CPDLC messages. The message sets will expand during the program’s duration, through 2007. The airlines initially participating in the program are Scandinavian (SAS), American and Lufthansa.

Separately, Eurocontrol has contracted ARINC to install and maintain a VDL Mode 2 air/ground test station at the agency’s experimental center in Bretigny, France. And ARINC recently opened two new regional offices, in Madrid and Barcelona, to serve its airline and airport customers in Southern Europe. Visit www.arinc.com.

Transatlantic Union

The push to modernize air traffic management (ATM) is gathering strength. Early during the Paris Air Show in June, Airbus, Thales and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) created a new company called Air Traffic Alliance GIE (Groupement d’Interet Economique). This solidifies the alliance formed by the three companies a year ago to seek the "best way to meet air traffic demands," according to an air show release. A four-member executive committee heads the new company; Lionnel Wonneberger is its president.

Later at the Paris show, Air Traffic Alliance and Boeing Air Traffic Management (formed by Boeing Co. in November 2000) announced a cooperative agreement "to work jointly towards accelerating existing air traffic modernization efforts, foster new initiatives and jointly address issues affecting future global operational efficiency and safety," according to another show release. Wonneberger and John Hayhurst, president of Boeing ATM, made the announcement.

Details regarding the partnership will evolve; however, Hayhurst said the two entities plan to "hold regular meetings to review key issues" surrounding air traffic management, and they will seek ways to "engage ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization], Eurocontrol, FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] and others" in the quest for a modern, global ATM environment.

Wonneberger added that producing new, interoperable ATM systems is essential, considering "an estimated 100,000 flights a day and air traffic growing an average five percent a year."

Visit www.boeing.com and www.airtraffic-alliance.com.

Satnav, Capstone Progress

Satellite navigation has made significant progress this summer, with aircraft in Alaska’s Capstone program being equipped with wide area augmentation system- (WAAS) capable receivers and the certification in July of a new integrated avionics system that is WAAS/GPS-capable.

By July, seven aircraft in Alaska had been fitted with a Chelton Flight Systems avionics package that includes a satnav receiver, which allows pilots in the Capstone program to use GPS as a sole means of navigation. It was certified under the TSO 145/146 standard on March 27. Since then, at least two of the seven aircraft–flown on medevac and charter missions–have been using the GPS daily during instrument flight rules (IFR) operations over Alaska’s remote terrain, according to James Call, aviation safety inspector at the Capstone office. FAA ordered for Capstone about 200 of the Chelton systems, which also include a synthetic vision feature. "Summer is the busy season, so installation of the Chelton system has slowed a bit," says Call. "Come October, we should see a lot more aircraft being equipped."

In addition to the Chelton package, Capstone also has 10 CNX80 integrated avionics systems, produced by UPS Aviation Technologies (UPS-AT). Also WAAS/GPS-capable, this avionics package received supplemental type certificate (STC) and technical standard order approval on July 1 for use in more than 850 aircraft makes and models. (UPS-AT’s WAAS/GPS receiver gained FAA approval in December 2002.) In addition to the WAAS/GPS receiver, the CNX80 includes a built-in VHF nav/com, a high-resolution color display, and the ability to control a remote transponder. Visit www.alaska.faa.gov/capstone/, www.sierraflightsystems.com, and www.upsat.com.

IG Slams FAA Management

A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) inspector general (IG) has determined that 14 of 20 major Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs are years behind their original schedules and more than $4.3 billion over their original budgets. High on the list was the wide area augmentation system (WAAS), which has seen more than $2 billion, or 227 percent, cost growth. Local area augmentation system (LAAS), Cat I, has slipped from 2004 to 2006 and LAAS Cat II/III has become a "research and development effort with an uncertain end date," says the IG. Plans for controller pilot data link communications (CPDLC) have been deferred "because the approved baseline of $167 million (for ground stations at 20 locations, beginning in 2003) is no longer valid, and because of uncertainty about how quickly airlines will equip." FAA now estimates a cost of $237 million for just eight locations, the IG says. The report considers cost/schedule baselines for many FAA projects to be unreliable. Given the startup of big new air traffic control (ATC) programs like En Route Automation Replacement Modernization (ERAM) and Next-Generation air/ground Communications (NEXCOM) and past cost growth, the IG urged a rethinking of the agency’s investment strategy for airspace modernization. Visit www.oig.dot.gov.

AFI Expands

Despite the down market, Air France Industries (AFI) is expanding Boeing 777 support, branching into regional airline work, and adding to its mainstay Airbus business. In addition to a B777 support agreement with Alitalia, the airline-owned maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) organization has signed pacts with Air Austral and Vietnam Airlines.

The seven-year contract with Air Austral involves B777 in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cabin upgrades; the two-year pact with Vietnam Airlines involves B777 (non-avionics) support and assistance in acquiring JAR 145 certification. (Joint airworthiness requirement 145 concerns approved maintenance organizations.) The seven-year arrangement with Alitalia covers components, repair and spares pooling for the Italian carrier’s six B777s; in a parallel, five-year contract Alitalia will repair and overhaul auxiliary power units (APUs) for Air France’s B747 Classic fleet. Air France’s fleet of 25 B777s is growing, too, with 13 firm and seven optional B777-300ERs on order.

More B777 business may be in the offing, as Skyteam partner Delta Air Lines mulls support options. "We are exploring a larger role in the relationship relative to avionics, especially on the 777s," says Basil Papayoti, director of sales and marketing for Delta TechOps. Delta has only eight B777s and "is not going to grow that fleet," he says. "The logical thing is that a lot of [B777] work is going to be looked at to go to AFI." There are synergies between the MROs–Delta’s expertise in Boeing 737NGs, 757s and 767s, and Canadair Regional Jets (CRJs), compared with AFI’s expertise in B777, B747, Airbus aircraft and Embraer Regional Jets (ERJs).

AFI cemented a relationship with Brazilian carrier TAM for component maintenance on its Airbus fleet, including 48 A319/A320s and nine A330s, establishing a "fast shop" close to the airline’s operations.

And, in a new direction, AFI–in partnership with TAT Industries–will support Air France’s Regional Airlines subsidiary’s fleet of 36 ERJ135s/145s. The agreement covers component logistics, repairs and parts pool access. Other Airbus support deals include Virgin Atlantic and Royal Jordanian, for A340-600 and A340-200 aircraft, respectively, and Star Airlines, Corsair, Air Calin and My Travel for A330 support.

Most recently, AFI announced an agreement with Air Mauritius to strengthen the carrier’s technical skills on its five-aircraft A340 fleet. Visit www.airfranceindustries.com.

Circuit Breaker Research

U.S. government agencies recently contracted Eaton Corp. to continue its development of arc fault circuit breaker technology. This follows a previous $1-million contract from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAVAIR), which involved flight testing Eaton’s 115-volt AC, 400-Hz arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breaker. Units on board a Navy DC-9 and FAA’s Boeing 727 test bed accumulated more than 5,000 hours.

With the new contract, Eaton is to develop a 28-volt DC multiphase circuit breaker for use in fuel systems. The contract also calls for miniaturizing the technology, for installation in fighter aircraft. The new contract was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and Wright Patterson Air Force Research Labs, as well as by FAA and NAVAIR. A particular problem in aging aircraft, arc faults can occur when insulation around wire or cable is damaged or deteriorated. The arc fault circuit breaker is designed to recognize the various types of arcing faults and act instantly to interrupt the circuit. Visit www.eaton.com.

B767 Tanker: Rockwell, ACSS

Boeing has tapped Rockwell Collins and ACSS to equip the 767 Tanker Transport. Collins will provide com/nav equipment, as well as repair, spares ownership and field engineering support. It will oversee the integration of the Link 16 military data link and provide the ARN-153 Tacan (tactical air navigation) system. The latter will be modified for air-to-air beacon capability, "allowing the tanker to act as a Tacan ground station in the air, so an airplane being refueled can use [the system] to find the vehicle," explains Ken Peterman, vice president of marketing for Rockwell Collins Government Systems. Collins also will provide the ARC 210 VHF/UHF multimode radio and DF-430 direction finder, along with commercial com/nav, weather radar, satcom and some display modifications.

ACSS will provide the military airborne surveillance system (MASS) and the XS-950SI Mode S data link transponder with built-in IFF (identification friend or foe) for the program. MASS uses automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology, adding military rendezvous and formation position-keeping capabilities, as well as a proprietary "encroachment alert" function. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com and www.l-3com.com/acss.

Rotorcraft Radios

Rohde & Schwarz has received a 26-million-euro ($32-million) order to supply VHF/UHF transceivers, plus associated control units and test systems, for the Tiger combat helicopter and the NH-90 utility helicopter, for the German military. Visit www.rohde-schwarz.com.

Pro Line on the Challenger

Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line 21 avionic system with four 12-by-10-inch color liquid crystal displays recently received Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada certification on board the Bombardier Challenger 300 mid-size business jet. Collins was in charge of the avionics program, which also included fitting the Challenger 300 with terrain and traffic warning systems, turbulence-detection weather radar, and a voice/data transceiver that accommodates VHF data link Mode 2. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

Surveillance at Pax River

The U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center is deploying Sensis Corp’s Multistatic Dependent Surveillance (MDS) system to monitor and track aircraft in the 1,800 square miles of airspace over the Patuxent River Atlantic Test Range, in Maryland. With MDS, naval test aircraft can be more accurately monitored and non-military aircraft entering test range airspace can be quickly identified. Visit www.sensis.com.

Elbit Acquires OIP

Through its subsidiary, Elop Electro-Optics Industries Ltd., Israel-based Elbit Systems Ltd. has acquired the Belgium company, Optronics Instruments & Products NV (OIP), from Delft Instruments NV, based in the Netherlands. Visit www.elbit.co.il.

Detector Technology

The U.S. Air Force has issued Sensors Unlimited Inc., Princeton, N.J., a contract for the first phase of a 33-month program to develop a high-frame-rate, high-bandwidth, low-noise, focal plane array and camera for active tracking, wave front sensing, laser ranging, imaging and scoring. Visit www.sensorsinc.com.

Primus Epic Certified

Honeywell’s Primus Epic integrated avionics system recently received its first approval, on the Agusta/Bell AB139, as part of an Italian type certification. Deliveries of the utility helicopter, approved for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations, are to begin later this year. Visit www.honeywell.com.

SAS Broadband Service

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) has signed an agreement to have cabins in 11 of its long-haul aircraft equipped for Connexion by Boeing’s broadband mobile information service. Installations will begin in early 2004. Visit www.boeing.com/connexion.

HUD for the A380

Airbus selected Thales Avionics to provide the digital head-up display for its new A380. Visit www.thalesgroup.com.

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