IMA Architecture Of A350XWB Is Improvement Over A380

Building on the example of the Airbus A380, the integrated modular avionics (IMA) architecture of the new A350XWB, constructed with fewer, more standardized components and interfaces, represents a step improvement in design and performance.

Among work packages awarded for the A350, Thales will provide common Remote Data Concentrators (cRDC) and Core Processing Input/Output Modules (CPIOM) for the avionics platform. The cRDCs concentrate data remotely from sensors and actuators, converting between discrete/analog and digital signals, and communicate with avionics processors via the aircraft’s Avionics Full Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) network. Thales also is responsible for the AFDX "end system," the interface between avionics subsystems and AFDX switches that route Ethernet frames to their proper destinations. Rockwell Collins is supplying the switches, as it does on the A380.

Development and production of the cRDCs will be performed by Diehl Aerospace, of Germany. Formed in July 2006, the company is a joint venture of Thales and family-owned Diehl Stiftung & Co., with shares of 49 percent and 51 percent, respectively. With complementary skills, Thales and Diehl have cooperated on A380 and military A400M aircraft systems and are presenting a common front for the new Airbus wide-body, leveraging competencies in cockpit displays and IMA.

The team at this writing had won A350 work packages expected to generate up to 2 billion euros over the first 20 years of the aircraft’s service life, including the Air Data and Inertial Reference Unit and electrical power conversion system. It was seeking further content in the form of in-flight entertainment, mood lighting and doors and slides control.

Diehl Aerospace in May sponsored a press trip to its Nuremberg facility to highlight work on the A350, Boeing 787 cabin lighting and other programs.

The "enhanced" avionic architecture of the A350 is one area where the partnership has borne fruit. Improving on the IMA deployed on the A380 — a technological leap in itself — the A350 IMA will host more functions with half the part numbers, the companies say. The architecture will consist of 21 CPIOMs of two different types, versus 22 CPIOMs of seven different types on the A380. It introduces 27 cRDCs of two different types, replacing a number of computers and controllers specific to applications. Both the A380 and A350 architectures have 16 AFDX switches.

"There is no major evolution" at the network level; rather the improvement lies in standardization using the common RDC approach, said Gil Michielin, Thales vice president and general manager of Commercial Aircraft Solutions. The cRDCs will interface with different sensors, reducing application-specific LRUs.

CPIOMs, running on an ARINC 653-compatible operating system developed by Thales and Diehl, support different partitions and applications. "A single CPIOM is obviously able to support different partitions, which means different elements of a given application at different criticalities," said Arnaud Rame, Thales A350 program director.

The streamlined architecture hosts 35 functions as opposed to 21 for the A380, a nearly 70-percent increase, executives noted. Examples of newly hosted functions are hydraulics, the wing-ice protection system and the doors and slides control system.

Functions can be updated through "incremental certification," Rame said.

"Each time you perform an evolution of a function, it’s not necessary to rerun all the certification process, because the platform and the [support] tools have been certified to ensure that your software will remain certifiable and you need to check just what you’ve modified," he said.

In the past, a new function would have required a standalone LRU, added Christian Below, Diehl Aerospace vice president of marketing and business development. "Here, you can decide a new function just as a software packet, which you then host with standardized tools," he said. "Now, more than hardware and software, we provide a solution and an architecture, but others are enabled to implement their functions."

It is a solution that Thales and Diehl have developed on their own initiative. On the A380, development of the IMA architecture was shared with the Airbus equipment design organization.

"It was the first time that Airbus had decided to implement such an architecture [and] it was important to secure the development," Michielin said. "This is why development was shared between Thales, Diehl and Airbus. For the first time on this program, and taking into consideration our performance on the 380, Airbus has decided to give the full responsibility for all of the avionics platform to Thales and to Diehl. So we will cover all of the platform. It’s a very important responsibility." — Bill Carey

Commercial

NextGen Czar

Citing the need for faster deployment of its NextGen air-traffic modernization effort, FAA in May announced the appointment of Victoria Cox to the new position of senior vice president of NextGen and Operations Planning.

Cox, previously a vice president of FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), will report to Henry P. "Hank" Krakowski, ATO chief operating officer. FAA also named Michael Romanowski director of NextGen integration and implementation, reporting to Cox.

As NextGen senior vice president, Cox will have oversight of the multi-agency Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), which has been responsible for coordinating efforts of FAA, NASA and the departments of Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security. JPDO retains a long-term planning role but now reports to Cox, FAA said.

"Given the aviation community’s increasing need for faster modernization of our air-traffic control system, we must implement NextGen at a quicker pace," Acting FAA Administrator Robert A. Sturgell said May 20, announcing the appointment. "The FAA is putting an emphasis on near- and mid-term implementation, while the JPDO continues its focus on long-term research and development, and cross-agency cooperation."

The Cox appointment was publicized within FAA more than a week before that announcement, and was discussed by the principals at the RTCA 2008 Symposium in Chantilly, Va., on May 13.

"Late last week we made a decision at FAA to create a senior vice president position for NextGen and operational planning," said Krakowski, who gave the keynote address. "The main purpose of this position will be to really focus like a laser beam on the next five to 10 years and the next five years in particular, to start actually implementing that which we have been talking about for many years now through the JPDO and our industry conversations as well."

Also addressing the symposium, Cox said the idea of an associate administrator of NextGen was floated in draft FAA reauthorization language. But other branches of FAA, which have been participating in the NextGen effort through the agency’s Operational Evolution Partnership (OEP) process "were very comfortable and, to my surprise, argued strongly against the associate administrator for NextGen approach" giving the nod to ATO leadership.

Taking the initiative over JPDO is not the single most important aspect of the reorganization, Cox said. "Of the three pillars of the management of NextGen as proposed under this new FAA structure, the one that’s gotten the most attention has been the placement of the Joint Planning and Development Office under the senior vice president for NextGen and Operations Planning," she said.

"But the other two pillars that are just as important are the responsibility for the integration and implementation of NextGen. Integration is key. We’re not going to succeed with this unless we come up with a management plan that allows us to integrate all those very pieces, internally within the FAA... but also externally with our external partner agencies and with industry."

FAA plans to expedite NextGen through an integrated testbed approach centered around airports in Miami and Daytona Beach, Fla., and possibly involving metropolitan New York airports. The agency was to submit a plan to the Office of Management and Budget for evaluation. "In Florida, we’ll assess our ability to conduct trajectory-based operations by demonstrating the ability to maintain a single aircraft track or trajectory throughout a flight, first by leveraging existing technologies," Cox said.

"Future tests will integrate new networking capabilities as they are developed. Networked operations will allow seamless passing of data between automation systems for integrated coordination of aircraft tracks. Ultimately, adding the fourth dimension of time will be a key enabler of our NextGen transformation." – – Bill Carey

Superjet Flies

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 accomplished its first flight May 16 at a testing base at Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia.

The 65-minute flight was captained by Alexander Yablontsev, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Chief Pilot, and test pilot Leonid Chikunov. During the flight, the twinjet made four passes over the runway at different altitudes, completed a box approach pattern and landed.

With versions planned for 75 and 95 seats, in both basic and long-haul configuration, the Superjet 100 is the first Russian airliner designed to meet Western certification standards.

The regional aircraft is being built by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. and Italy’s Alenia Aerospace, which is providing aftermarket support outside of Russia. Thales is providing the avionics suite.

Berlin Air Show

Following is a summary of commercial air-transport developments at ILA 2008, the Berlin Air Show, as reported by John Persinos, Aviation Today publisher and editorial director, in a daily blog. The event was held May 27-June 1 at Schoenefeld Airport. For a full account, see www.aviationtoday.com/av/blog/?cat=4

Boeing announced it is jettisoning efforts to develop a successor to the 737, citing insufficient in-house technology that can deliver the outsized boost in performance that operators seek for a next generation, single-aisle aircraft. Insiders say that Boeing’s surprise decision to abandon the Replacement Study — dubbed 737RS — will probably affect how Airbus proceeds on its ASOX replacement for the A320.

Boeing officials said the new imperative will be in fundamental research in aerodynamics, composites and advanced hybrid alloys.

EADS and its subsidiary Airbus exerted a major and conspicuous presence, as expected. Airbus executives said they are optimistic the company will reach its projected target of 20 A380 orders in 2008. They also pointed out that production of the A320 is on track to soon reach 40 aircraft per month, a record-breaking build rate for the airframer. They predicted 700 A320 sales over 20 years, which roughly fulfills the company’s original business plan for the aircraft. With heavy irony, they also pointed to Boeing’s pronouncements in the 1990s that it would soon push the A320 out of the market.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders took issue with the oft-repeated assertion that European aerospace is a quasi-nationalized endeavor. In a press conference, the usually unflappable Enders was visibly angry. "I just want to clarify" recent news reports, he said. "You all saw it, some of you even wrote it: ‘Airbus is looking for government subsidies,’ blah blah blah."

Enders blasted the idea that Airbus goes around with hat in hand, looking for an unfair advantage from Europe’s hard-pressed taxpayers. "There is no application for launch aid, or launch assistance, or whatever for the A350XWB," he said. "It will be funded entirely by Airbus and our shareholders. All we ever asked for is a level playing field.

"...Boeing receives $800 million in direct and indirect subsidies on an annual basis," Enders added. "Those are not my numbers, they are the EU numbers. In this cut-throat competitive world it cannot be that one side gets assistance like that and the other doesn’t."

Boeing and Airbus are heavily involved in developing and implementing fuel cell technology. Better jet engines were a major focus at ILA 2008. Eco-friendly engines on showcase were new powerplants such as the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan, and the General Electric GEnx. Rolls-Royce touted the fact it has embraced environmental benchmarks set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), a group comprised of roughly 40 members from government agencies and private companies. ACARE calls for the following achievements by 2020, compared with the starting point of 2000: a 50 percent reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer; 80 percent reduction in NOx; and a 50 percent reduction in perceived external noise levels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the show in front of Airbus’ A380. Attendance was 10 percent higher than the 250,000 visitors in 2006. There were 1,127 exhibitors from 37 countries and more than 300 aircraft on display, said Dietmar Schrick, managing director of the German Aerospace Industries Association BDLI, which organizes ILA with Messe Berlin. – – John Persinos

RNP China

Boeing said a China Eastern Airlines B737-700 completed a flight into China’s Lijiang Airport to validate the benefits of Required Navigation Performance (RNP). Boeing, Jeppesen, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), FAA and China Eastern have been working together to expand air-traffic routes in China using RNP.

The RNP procedures for Lijiang were designed by Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen, Englewood, Colo. Jeppesen in April said it was qualified by FAA to provide RNP consulting services per AC 90-101.

Previously, Boeing teamed with CAAC and Air China in 2004 for a RNP demonstration at Lhasa Gongga Airport. In 2007, Boeing, China Eastern Airlines, CAAC and FAA completed a 737-700 RNP flight into Linzhi Airport in Tibet.

Naverus China

Required Navigation Performance (RNP) service provider Naverus opened an office in Beijing, as the company looks to expand its footprint in China.

Naverus, based in Kent, Wash., is working in cooperation with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), signing a broad Strategic Partnership with the CAAC’s Center of Aviation Safety Technology. Since 2004, Chinese regulators and Naverus developed RNP procedures in Lhasa, Linzhi and Jiuzhai. Currently, Naverus is working to implement RNP at three more airports and with two additional aircraft types.

"We are proud to be a significant part of China’s foundation of air transportation safety," said Dan Gerrity, Naverus CEO. "RNP is the key to safe and environmentally friendly expansion of aviation in China as they add hundreds of aircraft to their fleet and build dozens of airports in the coming decade."

Era Acquisition

SRA International, Fairfax, Va., a provider of technology services to government organizations, in late April announced a definitive agreement to acquire surveillance system provider Era Corp., of Reston, Va.

The transaction was expected to close by the end of SRA’s fiscal year June 30.

Era, which has production facilities and R&D centers in the United States and Czech Republic, has been selected for ADS-B and multilateration procurements in the past two years, including Dublin, New York, Singapore, Thailand and Johannesburg.

"Era is a perfect fit for SRA," said SRA President and CEO Stan Sloane.

"They are a global market leader with a solid management team, dedicated employee base and valuable intellectual property. Era has established a great track record of winning new business and exceeding customer expectations, and we anticipate that the air surveillance market will continue to offer abundant opportunities for growth as traditional ground-based radar is replaced by these more powerful, dependable systems."

Adaptive Compression

FAA said a software program launched in March 2007 has so far saved airlines $27 million and 1.1 million in delay minutes.

The Adaptive Compression software works by scanning for airport arrival slots that would otherwise go to waste when a flight is cancelled, delayed or re-routed.

Open slots are filled with the next available flight. The system updates slot assignments and automatically notifies controllers, without adding to controller workload.

"This software pays an immediate dividend to passengers," said FAA Acting Administrator Robert A. Sturgell.

"When a plane can’t land because of weather, the software makes it possible for that slot to be filled automatically by another plane."

Rockwell Broadens Portfolio With Athena Purchase

A supplier relationship based on need has evolved into an acquisition founded on synergies and poised for growth.

Athena Technologies was a small technology company with expertise in flight control and navigation systems for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Founded in 1998 and employing seven people initially, Athena in 2000 launched the first generation of its GuideStar line of integrated flight computers, sized using micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to fit UAS, target drones and missiles. Requiring a military-grade GPS sensor, it filled the bill with Rockwell Collins’ Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM), providing for secure reception of the U.S. military’s Precise Positioning Service.

Athena "needed sensors; we had a sensor," recalled Steve Kennel, Rockwell Collins director of advanced sensors. "...We kind of danced around that theme for awhile."

Rockwell Collins was eyeing the burgeoning UAS market, searching for "disruptive technologies" with beyond-normal growth potential, Kennel said. He described the publicly traded, $4.6 billion aerospace heavyweight as more of a traditional controls company where technological change is incremental. Athena’s embedded control algorithms and fault-tolerant control technology, which can detect and isolate a sensor or actuator failure and reconfigure the flight-control system "on-the-fly," offered a fresh approach.

The upshot: Rockwell Collins in April acquired Athena for $107 million. Avionics met with Kennel and David Vos, Athena’s co-founder and former CEO, at the company’s Warrenton, Va., facility soon after the acquisition closed. Athena is known now as Control Technologies within Rockwell Collins.

"We were out looking for partners to take our growth way beyond what can be achieved by organic growth," said Vos, now Rockwell Collins senior director of control technologies. "...I was looking for a collaboration partner; I wasn’t looking to sell the company. It just so happens I sold the company [while] looking to collaborate."

Athena brings to Rockwell Collins a UAS portfolio that includes the U.K. Ministry of Defence Watchkeeper program, awarded to Thales U.K. and based on the Elbit Systems Hermes 450 platform, for which Athena is providing a GuideStar INS/GPS and air-data sensor suite. Since 2004, Athena has provided its GS-211e flight computer for the Shadow Tactical UAS built by AAI Corp., now part of Textron Systems. (AAI in May announced that Shadow had accumulated 300,000 flight hours in service with the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.)

Other platforms with Athena guidance and control systems include the Insitu Integrator; General Atomics Sky Warrior; EMT Luna; Alenia Aeronautica Sky-X and Sky-Y; CEI BQM-167A target drone; and Aurora Flight Sciences GoldenEye 50 and 80.

Rockwell Collins plans to leverage Athena’s expertise for military fixed- and rotary-wing platforms, commercial air-transport and regional aircraft, ground vehicles, "soldier systems" and engine controls. (Athena also builds Standard and Compact Engine Control Units.) "We’ve got the bridge to the rest of it," said Kennel.

Under the Rockwell Collins banner, Athena has ambitious growth plans. As of May, the company employed 80 people, with 20 open positions in engineering, business development and program management. Vos said the company may eventually expand beyond its current, 43,000-square-foot facility, which only officially opened last September. The company will be "a small, dynamic, growing piece of Rockwell Collins," Vos predicted. "...It’s a relationship based on tremendous opportunity and a broad spectrum of market." — Bill Carey

Military

Reaper Squadron Combines RAF, USAF Crews

The MQ-9 Reaper UAV developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, hit a milestone in May, having flown more than 320 missions and more than 2,400 combat hours throughout Afghanistan since October 2007, the U.S. Air Force reported.

The unit contributing to the mission is the 42nd Expeditionary Attack Squadron, a combined unit of the USAF and British Royal Air Force. Crews have been split between the two services, with a British pilot and an American sensor operator, and vice versa.

The expeditionary unit pilots the unmanned aircraft during launch and landing on a flight line in Afghanistan and turns control of the Reaper over to personnel at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada after it has reached altitude, said Maj. John Myers, the 42nd squadron commander.

"Our main mission is to launch and recover airplanes that are flown primarily from the States from the mission control element," Myers said.

In addition to piloting the aircraft during take off and landing, the squadron also provides air-base defense and close air support for units in the vicinity.

"I can tell you it’s not unmanned; it’s a lot of work," Myers said. "But the reward is great. Other than being in the cockpit and being out over the battlefield, this is the next best thing... being here."

Thales, Samtel JV

Thales in May announced plans to form a joint venture with Samtel Display Systems Ltd., of India, in an effort to gain a stronger foothold in the Indian market

Samtel and Thales will hold 74 percent and 26 percent of the venture, respectively. The joint company, Samtel Thales Avionics Pvt. Ltd., will be based in New Delhi and managed by a five-member executive committee.

The company will develop and produce a Helmet Mounted Sight & Display (HMSD) and avionics systems destined for the Indian market, Thales said.

Products made in India will be eligible to help meet Thales’ offset obligations for various supplies to the Indian defense ministry, the companies said.

Thales, which has been operating in India since 1953, said it has stepped up its presence in recent years.

The company provides air defense radars, avionics, optronics and sonars, with sales of €200 million annually.

The companies already are working together on the supply of HMSDs for Indian navy MiG 29K aircraft. Samtel also has begun to provide Thales with cathode tubes for its avionics displays.

Nano Vehicle

AeroVironment, Monrovia, Calif., was awarded a Phase II contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design and build a flying prototype for the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program.

The company completed a $1.7 million, Phase I contract with a preliminary design review. Phase II of the program, initiated in March, is a six-month, $636,000 development phase that will culminate with the demonstration of a "rudimentary, three-inch flapping-wing air vehicle system."

Following a successful demonstration, DARPA has the option to extend the program for an additional 18 months which could increase the Phase II contract value, AeroVironment said.

The NAV program was initiated by DARPA to develop a new class of air vehicles capable of indoor and outdoor operations (Avionics, March 2007, page 28). The extremely small, unconventional aircraft is designed to provide new military reconnaissance capabilities in urban environments.

AeroVironment’s NAV is designed to weigh no more than 10 grams and have the ability to carry a payload of up to 2 grams. The company’s NAV team also developed the Black Widow and Wasp MAVs for DARPA.

Netherlands UAS

AeroVironment, Monrovia, Calif., signed a $7.7 million contract with the Netherlands Ministry of Defence for supply of the RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft system. The contract includes aircraft systems, training, logistics support and airworthiness certification.

The Raven is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides real-time video imagery for "over the hill" and "around the corner" reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. Each Raven system consists of three aircraft, a ground control station, a remote video terminal, system spares and related services.

AeroVironment said it has delivered more than 9,000 small unmanned aircraft to date. Other international purchasers of Raven include Italy, Denmark, Australia and Spain.

Endurance Record

Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft in mid-May set an unofficial endurance record for unmanned aircraft weighing 1,102 to 5,511 pounds, with an 18.7-hour flight.

The aircraft used in the endurance test was one of the A160Ts Boeing Advanced Systems is building for customers including the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and U.S. Naval Air Systems Command.

The same aircraft achieved another flight milestone May 9 by successfully completing hover-out-of-ground-effect demonstrations at altitudes of 15,000 and 20,000 feet, at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

Watchkeeper Aloft

Thales completed the first flight April 16 of the Watchkeeper UAV. The aircraft was the first produced as specified by the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD), which has ordered the Watchkeeper system.

The air vehicle, based on the Hermes 450 manufactured by Elbit Systems, flew from Megido airfield in northern Israel.

Thales U.K., as prime contractor, will deliver equipment, training and facilities, with a planned in-service date with the British Army Royal Artillery of 2010, the company said.

Production of the Watchkeeper system will take place at UAV Tactical Systems Ltd. (U-TacS), the Thales U.K. and Elbit Systems joint company, based in Leicester, U.K. This year will see testing and integration of the aircraft’s automatic take-off and landing system, I-Master radar and electro-optical, infrared and laser target designator payloads.

Trainer Team

Boeing and Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi signed a teaming agreement at the Berlin Air Show to cooperate in selling the Alenia M-311 basic and M-346 advanced jet trainers on the international market.

Alenia Aermacchi is producing 15 M-346 trainers for the Italian air force.

The aircraft was in the final phase of a competition to provide an advanced jet trainer to the United Arab Emirates, competing against the Korean Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50.

Business/GA

New Legacies

Brazilian airframer Embraer in May officially named its midlight and midsize business jets the Legacy 450 and Legacy 500, respectively, at the European Business Aircraft Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The new business jets, previously known only as MLJ and MSJ, are positioned between Embraer’s Phenom 300 and Legacy 600 business jets.

The company has said it will invest $750 million on research and development of the new models.

The airframer had signed more than 100 letters of interest, and was receiving customer orders at EBACE, said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer executive vice president for executive jets.

Both Legacies will be equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics suite, with four 15-inch LCDs and standard Synthetic Vision. Included will be the company’s advanced MultiScan weather radar. The aircraft will be fly-by-wire, with sidestick pilot controls.

Honeywell is supplying HTF7500-E turbofans, nacelles and thrust reversers under a contract valued at $23 billion, including aftermarket support, over the life of the agreement.

Embraer said the Legacy 450 is designed for a range of 2,300 nautical miles with four passengers, or 2,200 nautical miles with eight passengers.

The Legacy 500 is being designed for a range of 3,000 nautical miles with four passengers, or 2,800 nautical miles with eight passengers.

The Legacy 500 is expected to enter service first — in the second half of 2012. The Legacy 450 will follow in 2013.

‘Cirrus Perspective’

Garmin and airframer Cirrus Design Corp. unveiled the "Cirrus Perspective" flight deck, an all-glass, integrated avionics suite tailored for Cirrus’s single-engine piston SR-22 G3s.

Garmin, Olathe, Kan., said the Cirrus Perspective will be offered as an option on the G3s. The cockpit includes a pair of 12-inch primary flight and multi-function displays, a "Level Mode," which, when engaged, brings the aircraft to straight and level flight, and dual, solid-state Attitude and Heading Reference Systems.

Other features include Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology, dual integrated radio modules, GTX 32 Mode C transponder, digital audio control system, Garmin "SafeTaxi" airport diagrams and integration with Garmin’s GFC 700 automatic flight control system.

Cirrus, Duluth, Minn., said it expected deliveries of Perspective-equipped SR-22 G3s to begin in June.

Previous generations of the SR-22 included avionics eqiupment from Avidyne Corp., S-TEC Corp. and Garmin, Cirrus said. That suite is still standard equipment on the SR-22 G3s.

SmartDeck STC

L-3 Communications’ SmartDeck Flight Control and Display System received FAA supplemental type certification (STC) for the Cirrus Design SR22 G2 single-engine piston.

The STC will be offered through authorized dealers for retrofit. Introduced in 2007, SmartDeck is designed for installation on new general aviation aircraft, turboprops and light jets.

Bristow FOQA

Bristow Group received FAA approval for its Flight Operations Quality Assurance Program (FOQA).

It said it is the second helicopter operator in the United States, after Era Helicopters, to receive that distinction.

Bristow said the core of the program is the Aircraft Logging and Event Recording for Training and Safety (ALERTS) system, designed by Appareo Systems, of Fargo, N.D.

The system was designed for Bristow’s Air Logistics unit to ensure improved training and compliance with standard operating procedures.

S61 Cockpit

Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America, of Richmond, BC, Canada, in May flight tested a Sikorsky S61 equipped with an Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) from Sagem Avionics, Grand Prairie, Texas.

The first test flight took place May 20 at the company’s Langley, BC, avionics facility, and testing was to continue for several weeks.

The aircraft "made aviation history, transforming many of the dated S61 systems into a multi-mission capable, state-of-the art helicopter," said Elvis Moniz, director of operations for Vector-Langley and project lead for the S61 glass cockpit project.

Since the launch of the Sagem ICDS at the HAI 2007 conference, Vector and Sagem Avionics have made the system available on helicopters including the Bell 205 and Bell 206, Eagle 212, Bell 407, Sikorsky S61, Eurocopter AS350, Robinson R44 and MD500.

Citation XLS+

FAA granted type certification to Cessna Aircraft’s Citation XLS+ business jet, the company announced in June.

Cessna said the aircraft completed its 600-hour flight testing on schedule.

The Citation XLS+, first introduced in 2006, is equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite and FADEC-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545C engines, Cessna said.

The "restyled" flight deck is configured with four 8-by-10 inch LCDs displaying Broadcast Graphical Weather, TCAS II and EGPWS.

The Rockwell Collins FMS-3000 flight management system is standard, with dual Control Display Units.

At maximum takeoff weight, the Citation XLS+ will depart from runways as short as 3,560 feet at sea-level conditions and travel as fast as 440 knots, with a range of more than 1,858 nautical miles. The delivery of the first XLS+ is expected by the end of this year.

Contracts

  • Raytheon won a $21.1 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy to manufacture various quantities of line items for the Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared Radar System used on F/A-18s. Work will be completed by 2010.

  • VMETRO, of Houston, won a second low-rate initial production contract from Northrop Grumman for components of the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System, used by U.S. Navy helicopters to detect mines at or near the water’s surface. VMETRO will provide an additional three Central Electronics Chassis (CEC). The CEC is a liquid-cooled air transportable rack system with VMETRO CSW1 VXS (VITA 41) switch cards and VPF1 quad processor payload cards.

  • Midcoast Aviation, St. Louis, Mo., was granted a STC to install CMC Electronics’ PilotView EFB on the Bombardier Challenger series business jet.

  • Honeywell was selected by Bombardier to provide a cockpit display upgrade for the Global Express. The upgrade will add Honeywell’s DU-875 avionics system, including LCDs, chart capability, maps and XM graphical weather.

  • Thales will supply two Airbus A320 full flight simulators for Russian carrier S7 Airlines. Both simulators will be installed at the S7 training center at Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport. The first will be ready for training in December; the second in 2009.

  • Japan Airlines International will equip its entire current and future fleet of Boeing 777s with the Boeing Class 3 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). The airline has 40 777s in service and has been operating the EFB on two 777s as part of a validation trial since June 2007. Retrofit kit installation for the remaining fleet of 777s will begin in April 2009 and all installations should be complete by the end of the 2011, Boeing said. JAL is scheduled to take delivery of three more 777-300ERs in 2008, all of which will be delivered with the EFB installed.

News releases, executive appointments and Calendar announcements for Industry Scan should be sent to Managing Editor Emily Feliz at efeliz@accessintel.com.

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