The free weight-and-balance program developed by FltPlan is available for more than 400 makes and model of aircraft and can be used either on the FltPlan website or on its iPad and Android apps. The company added 165 new makes and models to the program since March. Flight departments can share weight-and-balance profiles so all users are working with the same parameters. The iPad and Android app versions can be used offline, too. Users can also email the final results to maintain a record of the weight-and-balance calculations.
Avionics and ATC » Avionics
New developments and products in avionics, specifically about aircraft electronics in the cockpit.
Canada-based Flyht Aerospace Solutions has begun shipping its Dragon portable Iridium satcom device, which uses Apple’s iPad as an interface. Users can make voice and data calls over the Iridium network anywhere in the world. The Dragon device can also be used for flight following services. Because it is portable, no supplemental type certificate is required, and the Dragon does not need to be installed in the aircraft. Price of the Dragon is $10,000, plus annual service charges.
Operators flying Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 jets can now take advantage of Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) capabilities such as required navigation performance authorization required (RNP AR) 0.3. Rockwell Collins also added to Pro Line Fusion its vertical situation display so pilots can see a profile view of their aircraft relative to obstacles and terrain; FMS automated speed selection and takeoff and landing calculations; and an interactive feature that allows users to create their own electronic checklists.
The first Inmarsat-5 Ka-band Global Xpress satellite was launched successfully on December 8. The satellite was expected to reach its final position in a geo-synchronous elliptical orbit by the end of last month. This is the first of three satellites that will create the seamless GX Aviation high-speed satcom network, with performance up to 50 Mbps that can deliver streaming video. GX Aviation mobile broadband service is slated to begin next year, after two other satellites are sent aloft this year. Each satellite weighs more than six metric tons and can provide 89 Ka-band beams.
Vision system manufacturer Intevac Photonics of Santa Clara, Calif., planned to begin deliveries of new night-vision cameras for U.S. Army AH-64D/E helicopters this month, after receiving its largest-ever contract award from the service earlier this year.
The M611 camera, which contains the company’s ISIE (intevac silicon imaging engine) 11 sensor for low light level detection, replaces the existing camera in the Apache’s nose-mounted pilot night vision sensor (PNVS). The ISIE 11 sensor is also being integrated in the F-35 helmet-mounted display system (HMDS).
Australia’s aviation authorities are allowing temporary exemptions from its ADS-B mandate, which became effective last Thursday, in certain airspace. The mandate requires all domestic and foreign aircraft to be ADS-B equipped and compliant for both private and commercial operations when flying at or above FL290 within the Australian continent. Because of the complexity of obtaining certificates and installing the required equipment on aircraft, it is permitting exemptions from Dec. 12, 2013, through Dec.
Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
Aircell will shut down the Airfone air-to-ground communications network as scheduled on December 31, and after that date Airfone users will no longer be able to make calls. Business aviation Airfone users have been using MagnaStar systems to make calls, and a variety of options are available to upgrade or replace those systems.
The FAA awarded a supplemental type certificate to Century Flight Systems for installation of its Century C4000 autopilot in the Piper PA-30 and PA-39 Twin Comanche. Prices start at $19,995 (plus installation). The autopilot’s features, according to Century, include “GPS/VOR/LOC/LOC REV coupling, fully automatic glideslope coupling from above or below, selected angle intercept capability when using an HSI (45-degree intercepts using a DG), altitude hold, voice prompter, attitude hold command, auto-trim or trim prompting.”
Apple’s new iPad Air, which is thinner and weighs one-third of a pound less than the previous-generation iPad, has passed rapid decompression testing conducted by Jeppesen. The company tested the iPad Air to 51,000 feet, similar to tests conducted on all previous iPad versions. “No anomalies were detected during testing of any of the iPad models,” according to Jeppesen, which makes the Mobile FliteDeck and FliteDeck VFR apps for the iPad.