RVSM Heats Up
Honeywell and West Star Aviation have received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of a system enabling Learjet 35/36 series aircraft to meet the fast-approaching deadline for reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) capability. The RVSM package includes Honeywell’s AZ-252 advanced air data computer, AM-250 barometric altimeter/air data computer, BA-250 altimeter display and AL-800 attitude alerter control, as well as an Aerosonic standby altimeter and Rosemount pitot-static probes. West Star already has completed and delivered its first RVSM-certified Learjet.
Jet Aviation Dallas, an authorized Citation service center, also has completed four RVSM installations, including a 525, a 501 and two 560 Citation jets. All four modifications replaced existing air data computers and altimeters, and the majority of the RVSM work required preparing the aircraft skin for smooth air flow by the static ports. Visit www.weststaraviation.com, www.honeywell.com, and www.jetaviation.com.
Frequentis Awarded Two Contracts
Austrian-based Frequentis recently won a contract from Switzerland’s air traffic services provider, Skyguide, and its U.S. subsidiary, Frequentis USA Inc., has been awarded a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contract. Skyguide chose Frequentis to furnish a tower and approach simulator for its training center in Zurich. This follows an earlier contract that has Frequentis providing three of its VCS 3020X voice communications systems and its newest product, the VCX-network node, for the Geneva area control center.
Meanwhile, FAA awarded Frequentis USA a $4.6-million contract to provide a package called the Conferencing Control System, or CCS, for the ATC (air traffic control) Command and Control Center in Herndon, Va. Frequentis is teamed with eOn Communications and Lockheed Martin ATM to provide multifaceted voice conferencing and switching capabilities to support air traffic management coordination among FAA facilites, airlines and other organizations. Visit www.frequentis.com.
Ducommun Acquires DBP Microwave
Los Angeles-based Ducommun Inc. recently acquired the assets of DBP Microwave Inc., a privately held company in Azusa, Calif. DBP, which produces electromechanical RF and microwave switches, posted sales for the past 12 months exceeding $3 million. Ducommun manufactures illuminated push-button switches and panels, microwave and RF signal processing components, fractional horsepower motors and resolvers. Visit www.ducommun.com.
New ATC Center in Cyprus
The Cyprus Telecommunication Authority has awarded an about $22.5-million contract to AMS, a joint venture between Finmeccanica and BAE Systems, to equip a new air traffic control center in the capital city of Nicosia. Eurocontrol is providing support for the project. Cyprus’ new operating center will provide en route and approach control for the airports in Larnaca and Paphos. The control center will have 39 workstations and an ATC simulator. Visit www.amsjv.com.
Speakers Added to Avionics Expo
John Hallinan, program manager for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Capstone program, will be one of the featured speakers at the Avionics Expo conference and exhibition, to be held Nov. 20-21 at Wiesbaden, Germany. Hallinan, who will provide an update of Capstone activities, will join about 20 other speakers, who will address such topics as automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), controller pilot data link communications (CPDLC), 4D navigation, global air traffic management (GATM), and other new cockpit technologies. For a conference program listing, see the September 2003 issue of Avionics Magazine. Another newly scheduled speaker, Steffen Mauermann, Airbus, will participate in the Avionics Expo conference. He will cover the topics "Broadband in the Cockpit" and "Uplinked Weather Data." The conference will be held in conjunction with an exhibition of avionics manufacturers, including companies such as Rockwell Collins. Avionics Expo is coordinated by UK-based Simply Events and is cosponsored by Avionics Magazine. Visit www.simply-events.com.
Kyrgyzstan’s New ATC Center
An air traffic control (ATC) center equipped with a Thales ATM system recently became operational in Manas International Airport at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The center is part of a modernization program that also includes new equipment in the Osh en route and approach control center and an approach radar and VOR/DME ground navigation system at Manas/Bishkek. Visit www.thalesatm.com.
An aircraft performance computer made by Safe Flight Instrument Corp. has been selected for the U.S. Air Force’s RC-135 fleet as part of the service’s Avionics Modernization Program. L3 Communications’ Integrated Systems will install the computers, which include an automatic throttle system with runway rotation guidance and takeoff/go-around/windshear attitude guidance, as well as center-of-gravity, weight- and-balance, and all takeoff-and-landing flight manual performance calculations. Visit www.safeflight.com.
BAE Systems’ Next-Gen RTOS
BAE Systems has unveiled a new version of its CsLEOS real-time operating system (RTOS)–certifiable to DO-178B, Level A–with integrated fault-tolerant and "hard" real-time features. BAE claims that CsLEOS is the first commercial RTOS "built from the ground up" with a native ARINC 653 interface. (The ARINC 653 standard defines partitions between applications, allowing applications with different levels of criticality to coexist on the same hardware.)
Though CsLEOS is a relative newcomer in the RTOS market–development started three years ago–the product is the first commercial, off-the-shelf, ARINC-653 RTOS to fly on flight-critical hardware, BAE says. CsLEOS "underpins" the integrated vehicle management system computer on the Pegasus X-47A unmanned combat aircraft, developed by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Navy. The product also will be used on a new flight control computer for the C-17 transport aircraft.
The new version of the RTOS supports independently loadable applications and provides native support for OpenGL graphics, allowing secure two- and three-dimensional displays to run on the same processor alongside safety-critical applications. Visit www.baesystems.com.
UAV Wins ‘National’ NAS Approval
The U.S. Air Force has received a national certificate of authorization (COA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The COA will simplify the coordination process required to fly the high-altitude, long-endurance Global Hawk reconnaissance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) in the National Airspace System (NAS). To the Air Force the COA is a step along the way to achieving "routine" airspace access.
The Global Hawk–a UAV with a wingspan almost as large as a Boeing 737–became a household name, flying missions in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The UAV has flown more than 3,000 hours since its first flight in February 1998.
FAA consolidated all the existing Global Hawk COAs–issued for flying in different areas of the United States–into one document, says an agency official. The Air Force still has to brief FAA on the flight plan and emergency and contingency plans before takeoff, but processing and approval timelines will shrink from 60 to as few as five days. The new COA is for flight operations only, an FAA spokesman told our sister publication, Defense Daily, and such approvals will continue to be scrutinized on a case-by-case basis. The military has essentially vouched for the UAV’s airworthiness.
The Defense Department (DoD) is responsible for traffic "deconfliction" with other government assets above altitudes of around 60,000 feet. "Below that, we are on a flight plan, like any aircraft, but must provide a means to assure traffic safety," according to Global Hawk program officials. The streamlined coordination procedures, however, still "limit the long-term flexibility the Air Force requires to execute its mission." The service wants "file and fly" access to U.S. and international airspace.
Under the COA, Global Hawk officials must specify to FAA how it will provide a measure of safety equivalent to that of manned aircraft. FAA Order 7610.4, regarding special military operations, states various means by which this "equivalent level of safety" may be declared, including radar observation, electronic detection systems (such as cameras), visual observation from one or more ground sites, monitoring by patrol or chase aircraft, or a combination of these. Radar observation means using an external radar–provided by a command and control aircraft, by FAA/military surface radar, or even by an airborne escort–to clear the UAV flight path. Coordinating days in advance and taking a variety of these measures to assure safety mean Global Hawk access is still far from routine.
A big part of the plan to assure traffic safety in the future will be adding "see-and-avoid" sensors, which will enable a UAV "pilot" to detect traffic and act to avoid a collision. According to program officials, "An onboard see-and-avoid capability is required to achieve total global access to airspace." The Air Force is developing prospective technologies for implementation, beginning in FY 2008. Although there are individual sensors that may support a solution, a package integrated so as to operate in the UAV environment, and with the size, weight and power constraints of UAVS, does not yet exist.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk features such elements as a fully redundant flight control avionics architecture and air traffic control radios and data links. Global Hawk also can file instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plans. The Air Force is testing the use of Mode-S transponders, which will assist the UAV pilot, air traffic controllers and other aircraft. Northrop Grumman is working on a nose-mounted camera for monitoring what is in front of the UAV during takeoffs and landings, according to Defense Daily. This work eventually could lead to see-and-avoid capability. Under current Air Force contracts, the company also is developing a threat collision avoidance system.
The Air Force is making "many changes" in the production UAV system to assure it meets the same functional standards as manned aircraft, the Global Hawk program office says. This will include refinements to the navigation suite, communications systems and ground station. The traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) "is under study, but [TCAS] is not approved for use on UAVs," officials say. Indeed, Global Hawk "will not be permitted to respond to TCAS alerts without specific ATC direction," they add. The Air Force also expects to implement the navigation and communications standards of the global air traffic management (GATM) program in the vehicles to be delivered in fiscal year 2006.
RAF Now Has Freespeak
Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has chosen a wireless solution for voice communications at the RAF Cosford control center. The service selected Drake Electronics Ltd.’s FreeSpeak multi-user, full-duplex wireless voice communications system for aircraft ground handling and training. The "hands-free" system provides up to 18 switch functions. Visit www.drake-uk.com.
Primus Epic Approved in the G550
Honeywell’s Primus Epic integrated avionics suite received its first Federal Aviation Administration approval under a type certificate for the Gulfstream G550 long-range business jet in mid August. The system, which includes four 10-by-13-inch liquid crystal displays, is called the Gulfstream PlaneView cockpit. Honeywell also produces for the G550 the auxiliary power unit, environmental control system, and cabin pressurization control system. Visit www.honeywell.com.
Protecting the Magic
The Boeing 737-300 that transports the professional basketball team, the Orlando Magic, now has Honeywell’s enhanced ground proximity warning system installed. The aircraft’s operator, Magic Carpet Aviation, selected Orlando, Fla.-based Aircraft Engineering & Installation Services Inc. to perform the system integration. Visit www.aei.aero.
Thales Computers Moves
Thales Computers has moved to a larger facility. Its new address is 3100 Spring Forest Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27616. The company’s phone and fax are 800-848-2330 and 919-231-8001, respectively. Visit www.thalescomputers.com.
Global Hawk’s SMU
Vista Controls will develop the sensor management unit (SMU) for the Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV) under a contract from Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. The SMU subsystem connects the sensor suite with the satellite and ground communications system and interfaces with the UAV’s redundant integrated mission management computer. Visit www.vistacontrols.com.
Checking Speed Using GPS
The Institute of Navigation and the National Aeronautic Association recently selected Calgary-based NovAtel Inc. to develop a GPS differential system for use in establishing straight-course speed records for aircraft in flight. The system would reduce equipment costs and manpower required for these records. Visit www.novatel.com
Curtiss-Wright Buys Peritek
Graphics controller producer Peritek Corp. is now a Vista Controls business unit, having been acquired by parent company Curtiss-Wright Corp. Visit www.vistacontrols.com.