Business aviation stands to be one of the beneficiaries of Cobham Satcom’s new Aviator S family of satellite communications systems, which should be FAA-approved some time in 2015. The UK-based group, which last year acquired satcom specialist Thrane & Thrane, unveiled the Aviator S technology at June’s Paris Air Show. The key breakthrough is the company’s success in reducing the number of boxes required for the system from three to two, by incorporating the amplifier and diplexer into the antenna unit.
Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System
Chicago Jet Group has received the first FAA supplemental type certificate for a future air navigation system (Fans) 1/A+ and controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) retrofit. The Fans/CPDLC system is installed in a Dassault Falcon 50 managed by Chicago Jet and also represents the first Fans-over-Iridium retrofit for a business jet.
Fans capability will be required for flying the most efficient tracks across the North Atlantic, and this retrofit also meets the upcoming Eurocontrol Link 2000+ mandates that take effect on Feb. 5, 2015.
Chicago Jet Group received the first-ever Fans retrofit STC approval from the FAA on September 5, the company and partner Universal Avionics announced yesterday. The Fans 1/A+/controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) system, which was installed in a Dassault Falcon 50 that Chicago Jet group manages for a customer, uses an International Communications Group NxtLink ICS-220A Iridium satcom.
For operators flying with cathode-ray tube RM-850 radio management units with screens that are getting hard to read, Honeywell is offering an upgrade to the RM-855 with a liquid-crystal display (LCD). While Honeywell bought a quantity of the RM-850 displays, “[that] stock has now become depleted,” according to the company. “Honeywell is no longer able to repair units with CRT failures.” The RM-855 is a form, fit and function replacement unit; however, it requires a new mating connector. The existing wires need to be re-pinned into the new connector.
Rockwell Collins’s planned acquisition of airborne communications provider Arinc positions it to benefit both on the ground and in the air from the increasing “digitization” of airline communications. The future paradigm for ATC calls for replacing voice communications between pilots and controllers with digital data messaging, and Arinc’s ground infrastructure provides one of two major pipes for routing those messages.
With the new Xplore system Arinc Direct is jumping into the market for small portable Iridium-powered onboard communications devices that use Apple’s iPad as the control/display unit for cockpit and cabin data services.
Xplore is a small box, two inches thick and no larger than an iPad, that users will carry onto the aircraft, thus no installation of an avionics unit is required. Xplore needs to be attached to power and to an external dual Iridium/GPS antenna to enable communication with Iridium satellites.
Rockwell Collins has signed a series of contracts to supply the Bristow Group, SunExpress Airlines and Iberia Airlines with various avionics equipment. This includes TCAS for Bristow’s 44 Sikorsky helicopters and a package to allow the airline customers to comply with Eurocontrol’s Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) requirement.
UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. The FAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating this summer.
Arinc Direct (Booth 1200) is showcasing the preproduction version of Xplore, a communications service that offers, on an iPad, Acars messaging, voice and a messaging platform for SMS and instant messaging and BlackBerry email services. The new product is “in the final stages of testing before certification and full production,” according to Arinc Direct, which is taking pre-orders at the EBACE show.
As Arinc Direct approaches its tenth anniversary next month, success in the Asian market has been such that the data and communications specialist has appointed a full-time Asia Pacific division director: Monte Bolt, who is based in Singapore. Bolt heads a team supporting an Asian customer base that has surpassed 200 aircraft.