New Take on TV
The in-flight entertainment (IFE) manufacturer, Flight Display Systems (FDS), has set out to bring airborne television to the business aviation masses, including to aircraft that lack the large tails or substantial fuselage surface area to support current bizjet antenna mounts. The DeKalb, Ga.-based company recently announced a DirecTV product--Ellipse Direct--that boasts hardware listed at less than $100,000. That's about a third the cost of other airborne DirecTV offerings, FDS claims.
According to David Gray, FDS president, the hardware, installation and supplemental type certificate (STC) costs for an operator will come to as little as $140,000, compared with an estimated $350,000 to $400,000 for a tail-mounted system. Installation can be accomplished in less than 100 man-hours, compared with the approximately 600 man-hours required for a tail-mounted system, he asserts.
Armed with a low-profile, mechanically steered, dorsal-mounted phased array antenna, FDS claims its system will work on many business-class aircraft, from Gulfstreams, Challengers and Falcons to Citations and Hawkers. Even single-engine turboprops like the Pilatus and Caravan will be candidates. The elliptical antenna, mounted on four small struts, extends about 16 inches (40.6 cm) above the fuselage at its highest point. But the structure causes no detrimental airflow effects, according to an analysis by engineers at Georgia Tech. The airflow 3 inches (7.6 cm) behind the radome is the same as it was before the installation, Gray claims.
The antenna is based on a KVH Industries design developed for yachts and recreational vehicles (RVs). FDS designed a new radome, a rugged aircraft mounting system, and ancillary electronics. Ellipse Direct--the antenna and an interface control unit--can interface to any onboard IFE system, FDS says. The antenna is said to be able to change heading at up to 40 degrees per second and acquire a satellite signal without the aid of GPS or aircraft nav systems. Because the antenna's surface area is larger than that of a comparable tail-mounted system, performance is better on the ground, when taxiing and on the edges of reception areas, the company claims. It also avoids the signal loss issues and installation headaches of tail-mounted systems, where the antenna is located farther away from the airframe.
Ellipse Direct has been installed in a Challenger CL600 for certification, which is expected this month. The Maintenance Group, an Atlanta-based installation center, is working with FDS to obtain the CL600 STC and to develop a multiple data package for the Challenger product line. A spin-off from the STC project was the creation of the tooling to measure aircraft contours for each installation, according to Maintenance Group president, Dan Furlong. Visit www.flightdisplay.com.
Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), the German air traffic service provider, recently made the Thales Terminal Coordination System (TECOS)--a flight data management system--operational in towers at Hannover and Bremen airports. This represents the second phase of DFS' Tower Flight Data Processing Systems (TFDPS) program. TECOS systems have also been installed in Stuttgart and Hamburg. Visit www.dfs.de and www.thalesatm.com.
Honeywell's Primus Epic integrated avionics system has received FAA approval for use on Gulfstream's G450 long-range business jet. This represents the third Primus Epic approval on a Gulfstream aircraft and the eighth overall for the avionics system. Visit www.honeywell.com.
The first of seven Kamov Ka-32 helicopters fitted with avionics produced by Israel Aircraft Industries' (IAI's) Lahav Division recently was delivered to the Republic of Korea Air Force. Equipped for search and rescue missions, the Russian helicopter incorporates a navigation system, weather and ground survey radar, digital moving map, color displays, a central processor and operational software. The Korean company, LGI, is installing the avionics in the six remaining Ka-32s, which are to be delivered by the first half of 2005. The IAI package includes open architecture and allows rotary-wing operations day, night and in inclement weather. Visit www.iai.co.il.
Forecast International foresees good news for the business jet market, following two successive years of double-digit declines. The research firm projects a total of 10,809 business jets, valued at $135 billion (in 2004 dollars), to be manufactured from 2004 to 2013. The market's recovery appears already to have begun, as first-quarter production of bizjets increased by 14 percent over production in the first quarter of 2003. Regarding unit production, Forecast International predicts market share will be as follows:
Cessna, 30.2 percent,
Bombardier, 15.7 percent,
Eclipse Aviation, 12.2 percent
Gulfstream, 10 percent, and
Raytheon, 10 percent.
Measured in U.S. dollars, Gulfstream is expected to be the market leader with 24.3 percent. It will be followed by Bombardier (24 percent), Dassault (16.5 percent) and Cessna (16.4 percent).
Forecast International cites two "dynamic segments" in the business aircraft market: entry-level aircraft--including "personal jets," such as Cessna Mustang and Eclipse 500--and long-range jets, such as the Gulfstream G500, Bombardier Global 5000 and Dassault Falcon 7X. Visit www.forecast1.com.
Zurich-based Jet Aviation has joined with Kuwait-based United Projects Co. to establish a fixed-base operation (FBO) at Kuwait International Airport. Construction of a new facility begins in late 2004. To be open in 2005, the FBO will provide private aircraft handling services, line maintenance and aircraft hangarage.
Meanwhile, Jet Aviation in Basel, Switzerland, signed a contract to install head-of-state interiors in two Boeing 747-400s flown by Dubai Air Wing. Completion work will take place over the next two years. Visit www.jetaviation.com.
Rockwell Collins recently certified an enhancement to the Dassault Falcon 50, adding a dual Integrated Flight Information System (IFIS), integrated with a Pro Line 21 retrofit. According to Collins, the new configuration ushers in Class 3 electronic flight bag capability, creating the opportunity for a truly paperless cockpit. The upgrade enables database-driven charting functions and real-time graphical weather services. A single IFIS includes a file server unit (FSU) to manage database information, a high-speed Ethernet link between the FSU and the displays, and a display upgrade to add Ethernet interfaces. The dual-IFIS system also will be standard on the Cessna Citation CJ3 and an option on the Gulfstream G150. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Scandinavian charter flight operator Britannia Nordic has selected the FlightVu cockpit door monitoring system (CDMS) to equip its six Boeing 737-800s. Corsair, a French scheduled airliner, also has selected FlightVu for installation in its fleet of six Boeing 747s, two Boeing 737s and two Airbus A330s. The video security system, provided by AD Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering & Installation Services Inc. (AEI), enables the flight crew to monitor the area outside the flightdeck door without getting up from their seats. Visit www.ad-aero.com and www.aei.aero.
Northrop Grumman announced that the U.S. Marine Corps has integrated and tested its Litening Advanced Targeting system on the F/A-18D Hornet combat aircraft, the eighth U.S. military platform to add it. The Marines will purchase 60 pods for 72 Hornets.Visit www.northropgrumman.com.
Raytheon., Waltham, Mass., has successfully demonstrated its SilentEyes micro unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The UAV was launched from a canister mounted on a MQ-9 Predator in a series of tests conducted in May and June of this year at Edwards AFB, Calif. It flew autonomously and transmitted video images to the ground control station for display and processing. The U.S. Air Force Aeronautical Systems Center managed the demonstration, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems supported the flight tests Visit www.raytheon.com.
The U.S. aerospace industry is "hiring once again," and industry employment appears to be rebounding after a 14-year-long downward trend following the Cold War's end. That's according to Department of Labor data compiled by the Aerospace Industries Association's (AIA's) aerospace research center. Aerospace industry employment figures in the United States hit a 50-year low in February 2004 with 568,700 jobs; however, by June more than 10,000 additional jobs were created in the industry, according to AIA. This growth, combined with "expected retirements over the coming decade, will create a demand for highly skilled workers to enter the aerospace industry," says John Douglass, AIA's president and chief executive officer. AIA cites factors that contribute to growth in employment, including:
Boeing's announcement that it is delivering four more aircraft than the 281 it delivered a year ago;
A 17-percent increase in general aviation billings during the first half of 2004 over the same period in 2003;
Civil helicopter deliveries through June 2004 (395 aircraft), setting "a pace not seen in over 19 years;" and
A 9-percent increase in defense aerospace shipments during the first six months of 2004, compared with the same period last year. Visit www.aia-aerospace.com.
The Taiwanese Air Force has accepted the first of its two Hawkeye 2000 airborne early warning and command and control aircraft from Northrop Grumman. The new aircraft enhances the service's ability to monitor and control the airspace surrounding the island nation. Taiwan is to receive the second aircraft this month. Hawkeye 2000s were first deployed in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom last year. Northrop has delivered a dozen of the airplanes to date. Visit www.northropgrumman.com.
All Weather Inc., Sacramento, Calif., has delivered 20 additional runway visual range (RVR) systems to the Chinese Air Force, bringing the company's total deliveries for this application to 80. The equipment is to be installed in military bases across China. The RVR features a four-head forward scatter visibility sensor and an ambient light sensor. Visit www.allweatherinc.com.
The U.S. Navy recently awarded BAE Systems a $41.9-million contract for the purchase of digital autopilot systems (DAS). Used to upgrade 120 of the Navy's P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, the systems include a digital autopilot computer, two solid state rate gyro assemblies, and a combined autopilot control panel. The contract includes trial kit installations, ground and flight testing, and hardware qualification support. Deliveries are to begin in August 2005 and conclude by 2009. Visit www.baesystems.com.
Honeywell announced that it has completed development flight testing for its new organic air vehicle (OAV). The OAV uses a 29-inch (73.7-cm) diameter iSTAR ducted-fan and is controlled by Honeywell's micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. The vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system was developed for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to gather and send surveillance data. The OAV comes with forward and downward looking video cameras and can be equipped with sensors that detect mines or biohazard material. Tests in all weather conditions were carried out at the U.S. Army's McKenna Military Operations in Urban Training site at Fort Benning, Ga., and at Honeywell's Defense and Space Electronic Systems facility in Minneapolis. Visit www.honeywell.com.
Curtiss-Wright Controls Inc., Littleton, Mass., has won a $6-million contract from Lockheed Martin's Communications Electronics Command Rapid Response office for spare helicopter radar warning receivers (RWRs). An RWR detects radar signals, characterizes them and provides various warnings, so helicopter crews can take evasive action or deploy countermeasures. In other news, Curtiss-Wright Controls recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire Synergy Microsystems Inc., a company producing embedded computing systems. In a reorganization effort Curtiss-Wright also has created three new business groups: Engineered Systems, Embedded Computing, and Integrated Sensing. Visit www.curtisswright.com.
New research from Frost & Sullivan (F&S) suggests that, as fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continue to emerge, the development of training aircraft with increased capabilities will become more and more important. F&S' "Analysis Of World Markets For Military Pilot Training" estimates the aggregate global market for basic and advanced trainer aircraft at $42 billion between 2004 and 2025. F&S forecasts a $5-billion market for trainer aircraft upgrades during the period. Visit www.defense.frost.com.
The U.S. Air Force will use Rockwell Collins' Tailwind 550 multiregional satellite TV systems on three C-9C special mission aircraft. The Tailwind 550, which recently received a supplemental type certificate, will provide breaking news to the aircraft's crew. It allows passengers and crew to view more than 450 channels while flying over the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
In its latest study, "The World Market for Regional/Commuter Transport Aircraft," Forecast International predicts that 3,728 regional aircraft will be built between 2004 and 2013 at a production value of $84.4 billion. The firm predicts the growth in production of 70- to 120-passenger regional jets to be "particularly dynamic" and says Embraer and Bombardier will emerge as market leaders. Visit www.forecast1.com.
The French defense procurement agency has awarded Thales Avionics a contract worth 85 million euros ($103 million) to develop a second demonstrator RBE2 scanning radar for the Rafale combat aircraft. The contract covers risk assessment of the radar integration and in-flight operational testing. The radar includes an active array antenna with a front end comprising transmit/receive modules. In addition, SIMMAD, the French defense ministry's integrated aeronautical equipment support structure, awarded Thales a contract worth 200 million euros ($242 million) for support of Thales equipment on 120 Rafale aircraft. Visit www.thales-avionics.com.
Airbus recently selected Teledyne Controls to be the sole supplier of onboard information terminal (OIT) hardware for the A320, A330 and A340 aircraft families. A Class 3 electronic flight bag, the OIT will be available for new aircraft and for retrofit. The system consists of two 12.1-inch, touchscreen, color, landscape displays that are mounted in the crewmembers' table assemblies. The displays are connected to processors that operate independently but are interconnected for video switching and system redundancy. The OIT is scheduled to be certified in the second quarter of 2005. Visit www.teledynecontrols.com.
Rockwell Collins and NASA recently tested synthetic and enhanced vision technology on a Gulfstream GV aircraft at Reno, Nev., in a mountainous area that also has noise abatement problems. The test showed how synthetic and enhanced vision concepts could enable visual approaches at night and in weather. The pilots made their approaches using a Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics head-up guidance system and a head-down display that showed computer-generated images of the terrain. Approaches were made both with integrated sensor data, from the Collins WXR-2100 multiscan weather radar and other sensors, and without sensor data. The GV also was equipped with a voice recognition system. The test was part of NASA's Aviation Safety and Security program. Visit www.rockwellcollins.com.
Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated a collaboration of manned and unmanned aircraft as one of the concepts being developed for its Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR) program. The demonstration, conducted at the company's Owego, N.Y., facility, simulated a mission with multiple UCARs and a Longbow Apache helicopter, and tested ground- and air-based command and control concepts. The U.S. Army and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are jointly developing the UCAR concept. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com.
Two systems have been delivered for installation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). BAE Systems' Information & Electronic Warfare Systems recently delivered its lightweight electronic warfare suite to Lockheed Aeronautics, the JSF prime contractor. And Honeywell has delivered the first low-probability-of-intercept radar altimeter, the HG7830, to be integrated into the F-35's communications, navigation and identification system, developed by Northrop Grumman. Visit www.honeywell.com and www.baesystems.com.
Carmanah Technologies will supply the U.S. Marine Corps with solar-powered, light-emitting diode lights to illuminate runway edges, thresholds, taxiways and obstructions on airfields. The Victoria, British Columbia-based firm now has provided the U.S. military with more than 9,000 units for over 50 air bases in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America. Visit www.solarairportlights.com.
Alaska Airlines reportedly is the first carrier to equip its fleet with Honeywell's runway awareness and advisory system (RAAS), aimed at ensuring safe aircraft maneuvering on airport surfaces. Honeywell's Mark V and VII enhanced ground proximity warning systems incorporate RAAS, which includes a runway database that, when compared to the aircraft's GPS position, provides aural advisories. RAAS callouts address such situations as aircraft alignment on a runway, inadvertent takeoff on a taxiway, runway distance remaining during rejected takeoff or while landing long, and approaches to runways that are too short for safe takeoff and landing. Alaska operates 108 aircraft. Visit www.honeywell.com.
The U.S. Air Force has tapped Lockheed Martin to provide a second AN/TPS-77 transportable radar system to the Pacific Alaska Range Complex (PARC). Lockheed will provide the radar system and related supplies, equipment and services under the $14.7-million contract. The second radar will help improve surveillance of the 68,000 square miles (176,120 km2) of military training airspace over the 90,000-acre PARC. Visit www.lockheedmartin.com.
EADS is installing its AN/AAR-60 missile launch detection system on six of the German armed forces' CH-53 helicopters heading for duty in Afghanistan. The systems, also fitted to the NH90 and Tiger helicopters, are intended to protect the CH-53s while they perform their crisis management mission. Visit www.eads.com.
South Korean air carrier Asiana Airlines has selected Connexion by Boeing to provide in-flight connectivity to its long-haul fleet. The contract calls for installation to begin during the production of Asiana's 777-200ER, scheduled for delivery in July 2005. Visit www.flyasiana.com.
In two separate 10-year agreements, NetJets Services Inc. has contracted Rockwell Collins to provide avionics maintenance and technical support for its fleets of Gulfstream G200 and Raytheon Hawker 400XP aircraft. Visit www.netjets.com.
1,000th Flight Deck
Avidyne Corp., Lincoln, Mass., announced that it has delivered its 1,000th FlightMax Entegra integrated flight deck. The company claims FlightMax Entegra is now installed in 12 new aircraft models. Visit www.avidyne.com.
Saab recently conducted its first autonomous flight (including takeoff and landing) of an unmanned air vehicle (UAV). Its SHARC (Swedish Highly Advanced Research Configuration) demonstrator UAV is equipped with differential GPS, inertial nav, radar altimeter, air data sensors and a flight management computer with special software. Visit www.saab.se
FlightSafety International, Flushing, N.Y., has been awarded a five-year contract by Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., to provide maintenance technician training at Gulfstream's Savannah, Ga., site. Visit www.flightsafety.com.