Garmin’s release of a new version of its experimental G3X avionics system not only marks a major move into a big market but also the expansion of its Team X, a group of engineers and designers paving the way to new lower-cost products for experimental aircraft. The G3X system can be seen this week at Garmin’s booth (No. D-034) at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla.
Avionics and ATC
New developments and products in avionics, specifically about aircraft electronics in the cockpit; and news, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
Hilton Software’s WingX Pro7 iPad app can now share flight plans between devices without an Internet connection. The FlightShare function allows any device running WingX Pro7 to send a flight plan and other information to another device on the same network, but now the sharing can be done via portable ADS-B receivers and AHRS devices. WingX Pro7 is now compatible with the iLevil ADS-B receiver/AHRS device, the Zaon MX1090 ADS-B traffic receiver, Sagetech’s Clarity ADS-B receivers and AHRS devices and Skyguard’s TWX ADS-B receivers.
At the Aircraft Electronics Association convention held last week in Las Vegas, Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs, clarified new FAA rules governing avionics database updates during a regulatory training session. The new rules allow pilots to update databases, provided no tools are needed. Because the previous requirement was part of preventive maintenance but was removed from 14 CFR Part 43, “no records are required,” Peri said.
Universal Avionics has completed helicopter vibration testing and approval for its UniLink UL-800/801 communications management unit (CMU), expanding the company’s line of products designed for the helicopter market. The UniLink UL-800/801 is an ACARS-compatible CMU that includes digital ATIS, pre-departure clearance, aircraft tracking, messaging, weather information and graphics. The system is also provisioned for the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network, providing a platform for future compliance with emerging datalink requirements.
The FAA’s new final rule allowing pilots to update navigation and avionics databases took effect on January 28. The rule covers “updating of databases used in self-contained, front-panel or pedestal-mounted navigation equipment.”
Satcom Direct held its 9th annual conference in early February, bringing together not only its own customers but also a variety of hardware manufacturers and other companies that benefit from and provide services via satcom. The conference grows every year and is evidence that the steady pace of satellite communications development has led to a greater variety of airborne telecom services–and even some reductions in pricing–for aircraft operators.
AOPA “vigorously opposes” the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s plan to prohibit the future use of emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) that use a 121.5-MHz signal. The proposal will have a negative effect on aviation safety, according to AOPA, and the association told the FCC it should immediately abandon its proposed rule changes and defer to the FAA on matters of aviation safety. According to AOPA, there are more than 200,000 general aviation aircraft still carrying 121.5-MHz ELTs.
Controller operational errors are on the rise, according to a February 27 audit report from the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), prompted by requests from the Senate subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security and, separately, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. According to FAA data, controller operational errors at the Southern California (SoCal) Tracon, jumped from 33 in FY09 to 189 in FY10, an increase of 473 percent.
Operators at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, Conn., are stepping up efforts to keep their ATC tower open after withdrawal of federal funding. Kyle Slover, COO of local FBO Volo Aviation, told AIN that discussions about options for keeping the tower open on a privately funded basis were already under way before the FAA’s March 22 announcement that 149 towers are to close at U.S. airports beginning April 7.
The FAA released guidance yesterday to the 149 airports whose contract towers are scheduled to close as a result of budget cuts that outlines the shutdown schedule and addresses what will happen to the tower structures and equipment.