Helicopter EMS operator Mont-Blanc Hélicoptères (MBH), a defeated bidder in a recent tender by a group of hospitals in central France, is suing the group on technical grounds, alleging some of the requirements are irrelevant. In particular, the stipulation for an autopilot compromises safety, according to MBH managing director Yannick Métairie, who dismisses the autopilot as a “hazardous” system.
Honda Aircraft’s first production HondaJet made its first flight last week, from the company’s headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. Taking off at 10:18 a.m. on June 27, the HondaJet, with test pilot Warren Gould at the controls, flew for 84 minutes and reached 15,500 feet and 348 ktas. During the flight, checks included low- and high-speed handling characteristics, Garmin G3000 avionics functionality and operation of the landing gear, flaps and speed brakes.
Rockwell Collins and Kobev International have introduced a new Fans 1/A and CPDLC training program that is available for in-aircraft training at a customer’s location or at Rockwell Collins’s facility in Annapolis, Md., or at Kobev International in Sugar Grove, Ill. The training “emulates a pilot’s real-world communications with ATC,” according to Rockwell Collins, and allows pilots to “have an interactive experience with real-time feedback.” The emulation program was developed by Rockwell Collins’s Arinc Direct.
An Airbus A320 on approach to Gold Coast Airport in Queensland, Australia, on March 31 descended to just 500 feet above the ground before either of the two pilots realized they had mis-set the aircraft altimeter. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reported that 15 minutes before beginning their descent, the crew received the altimeter setting from the ATIS and transferred the information to the cockpit takeoff and landing data card.
The latest version of Star Navigation’s Star-ISMS flight safety monitoring system is designed to supplement an aircraft’s on-board digital flight data recorders through its ability to transmit real-time information to ground stations at user-defined intervals. The new system also provides after-landing reports, intelligent flight data transmission and more detailed live flight data alerts to ground personnel through satellite communications.
UK manufacturer Aveillant last week unveiled a 3-D radar system capable of watching aircraft continuously to distances of 40 nm from the antenna. Since the new system’s antenna does not rotate it is capable of direct contact with the aircraft at all times. It then measures distance and altitude by tracking the target’s Doppler shift and reports back with speed, altitude and direction-of-flight information. The first demonstration of the system is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
Cessna Aircraft rolled out the first production Citation CJ3+ today at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wichita. The upgraded twinjet features a new interior with a redesigned cabin and cockpit, new pressurization and new diagnostics systems. It also has a Garmin G3000 avionics suite that includes turbulence detecting weather radar, TCAS II, TAWS and ADS-B capabilities. The CJ3+ was announced on March 20 and it is expected to receive FAA certification in the second half.
The Viking 400 Series Twin Otter will soon come equipped with a Safe Flight angle-of-attack (AoA) indicator as standard equipment. The TSO’d system consists of a lift transducer, computer and a speed indexer. The speed indexer provides the pilot heads-up guidance to approach AoA. The computer provides Arinc outputs to drive low airspeed awareness and AoA displays on the primary flight display. Safe Flight’s lift transducer is a heated leading edge sensor and is cleared for flights into known icing conditions.
The British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) has announced that it will hold its annual conference at a new venue–The Wing, Silverstone (the UK’s Formula One racing circuit)–on June 10. Conference sessions in the morning will be followed after lunch by a workshop with key personnel from the UK CAA, and the conference will conclude with a business development session with the likes of Arinc Direct and Kennedys Law. The evening will include a jazz band playing on the terrace during a champagne reception.
The recent tragedy of the still-missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has brought the tracking of aircraft sharply into focus, and at a conference last week in Montreal ICAO forged a consensus to develop aircraft tracking as matter of priority. While this is a welcome move, the ability to transmit more than just positional data is critical in allowing ground experts to not only determine the causes of losses, but also to give aircrew a better chance of averting a loss.