ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Embedded Avionics

Beechcraft, Rockwell Collins Talk Avionics Upgrade

By Juliet Van Wagenen | May 27, 2015
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[Avionics Today 05-27-2015] Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics flight deck is making its way onto the factory line for Beechcraft’s King Air turboprop aircraft. The two companies announced at the 2015 European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) last week that the avionics suite will soon be offered as standard equipment on board the business jets, with touchscreen Primary Flight Displays (PFDs) and an array of improvements to enhance operations and ease strain on King Air pilots.

Pro Line Fusion King Air display
Pro Line Fusion King Air flight deck displays. Photo: Rockwell Collins

“The new flight deck is a great leap forward in terms of situational awareness and intuitive touch screen operation,” Christi Tannahill, senior vice president of turboprop aircraft and interior design for Textron Aviation, told Avionics. “On the three 14-inch widescreen displays, pilots can view high-resolution synthetic vision, make user-friendly flight plan changes just by touching on the map, and even display video from an optional enhanced vision sensor. Pilots have everything they need, when they need it, right at their fingertips.”

The new flight deck boasts database updates using a standard USB drive port or an optional Aircraft Information Manager (AIM) wireless data loading service as well as a video window on the display to view inputs from external cameras. It also offers a path to software upgrades for future Rockwell Collins head-up guidance systems, enhanced vision technology and Multiscan weather radar, among others.

Systems such as the standard Synthetic Vision System (SVS) and equipment to increase enhanced situational awareness promise to up safety for biz jet pilots.

“Whether you are a single pilot owner-operator commuting between business locations, running a special mission operation, or flying as a corporate crew, you benefit from the ease of operation, and resulting confidence in your flight,” said Tannahill.

The King Air announcement comes after Rockwell Collins introduced a version of the flight deck for the rotorcraft market earlier this year.

“It has a lot of capability including synthetic vision, high-res topographical maps and graphical weather that are just as important to King air owner/operators as it is to larger transport operators. While the King Air is one of the first installations of Pro Line Fusion, it will be introduced to other market segments as well, such as airline aircraft, helicopters and military platforms,” Adam Evanschwartz, director of business and regional systems marketing at Rockwell Collins, told Avionics.

Moreover, the flight deck is “NextGen ready,” offering avionics that can enable technology associated with air space modernization as well as a package of baseline DO-260B compliant equipment to enable Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B).

“Airspace modernization initiatives around the world make flying more efficient and convenient for operators,” said Evanschwartz. “Capabilities such as ADS-B, [Satellite-Based Augmentation System] SBAS and [Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance approaches] LPV come together to help reduce traffic-related delays and give operators more route flexibility so that that can choose the most economical flight trajectories.”

Pilots flying new Beechcraft King Air 350i, 250 and C90GTx turboprops can come to expect the new avionics suite as they achieve certification on the three models in upcoming months. Aircraft deliveries are set to begin this summer starting with the King Air 250 turboprop, followed by King Air 350i/ER in the fourth quarter of 2015 and the C90GTx in early 2016, according to Tannahill.

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