LCD Flight Display Upgrade Achieves Service Bulletin for Saab 340s

The TF-8601 LCD flight display has achieved a service bulletin for the Saab 340 global fleet. Photo: Thomas Global Systems

Saab 340 operators now have a path toward upgrading their aircraft’s cathode ray tube (CRT) displays with new liquid crystal display (LCD) technology after the approval of a service bulletin to install Thomas Global’s TFD-8601 displays across the global fleet.

TFD-8601 was jointly developed by Sydney, Australia-based avionics display maker Thomas Global Systems and Regional Express, the world’s largest Saab 340 operator. Rex has already retrofitted its entire fleet of over 50 Saab 340s with the TFD-8601.

Thomas Global describes the TFD-8601 as a “plug-and-play replacement” for Saab 340 CRT displays, based on the company’s adaptive display architecture processing platform. It is also approved as an upgrade for Embraer EMB 120, Dassault Falcon 20 and Falcon 50, Hawker 800, Bombardier CL-600, and Gulfstream Astra.

“Thomas Global’s LCD displays are the right fit to efficiently innovate the Saab 340 flight deck for the future. We expect TFD-8601 LCD displays to enhance reliability, reduce lifecycle costs, and provide functional growth capability for Saab 340 operators,” Per Lovatt, general manager of Saab Regional Aircraft said in a statement.

The Saab 340 regional aircraft. Photo: Saab

The Saab 340 service bulletin is the latest aircraft type that Thomas Global has introduced a CRT-to-LCD upgrade around, following the company’s recent confirmation of Delta Airlines as upgrading its Boeing 757 and 767 fleet with its TFD-7000 series displays. The drop-in replacement displays are based on a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) architecture that takes the analog output from the existing symbol generator and converts it into a digital image for the new LCD screen. That allows the symbol generator’s outputs to be displayed exactly as they were on the legacy CRT displays.

Maintenance techs can complete the upgrade in a few hours with no changes to existing cockpit panels or wiring and no crew retraining or changes to flight simulators, according to Thomas Global CEO Angus Hutchinson. The displays have also earned FAA technical standard order authorization and supplemental type certification approval.

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox