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.
Garmin today announced a new angle-of-attack (AOA) indicator system and a new radar altimeter for general aviation aircraft installations. The GI 260 AOA price starts at $1,499 and offers aircraft owners a way to take advantage of the FAA’s new effort to encourage adoption of AOA systems by making installations less costly. The new $6,995 GRA 55 radar altimeter can help helicopter operators meet the requirements of new FAA Part 135 regulations that mandate such equipment for helicopter emergency medical services operators and other operations.
The FAA proposed an airworthiness directive last week on the autothrottle computers installed on the Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900 to correct a glitch that in 2009 allowed a faulty radar altimeter aboard a Turkish Airlines 737 to tell the autothrottles to revert to idle thrust while the aircraft was still on final approach. The aircraft crashed in Amsterdam, killing nine people and injuring 117.
Honeywell’s SmartView Lower Minimums (SVLM) must be able to show precisely where the aircraft is, without the use of additional navigation signals from transmitters on the ground, as well as tell the pilot when a system malfunction makes the lower-minimums approach unsafe. Honeywell uses five monitors to ensure the integrity of the system and the aircraft’s position.
Avionics manufacturer Garmin (Stand 2011) is experiencing growing interest in its products from the Brazilian marketplace, which has the second-largest general aviation fleet in the world. Garmin flight decks are prominent in two popular Brazilian business jets: the Embraer Phenom 100 and 300. In addition, many Brazilian operators are choosing the Garmin G950 and G1000 upgrades for Beechcraft King Airs, as well as the Garmin GTN series touchscreen GPS/navigation and communication systems for a variety of aircraft.
Bell Helicopter announcedforeign approval of seven products distributed through itsAeronautical Accessories brand.Approvals were received in May from the Ukraine State Aviation Administration, Brazil’sAgência Nacional de Aviação Civil(ANAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for numerous products, including Ukraine approvals for Bell 407 cabin floor protectors and baggage floor protectors; ANAC approvals for the health and usage monitoring system for the Bell 429, an antenna kit for the Bell 407
Garmin’s touchscreen GTN series GPS/navcoms have been optimized for helicopters, with new features that eliminate the need for operators to install the fixed-wing GTN version in helicopters. The new helicopter-optimized GTN comes in five configurations that meet vibration and temperature testing standards and offer optional NVG compatibility and optional H-Taws.
DAC International has received FAA parts manufacturer approval for its GDC62 radio altimeter interface unit and the GDC66 fuel quantity adapter unit. These converters, developed specifically for the Piper Meridian, permit the continued use of the existing radio altimeter and fuel quantity computer and are required for the G950 cockpit retrofit STC owned by Cutter Aviation. DAC International’s engineering and certification division achieved the approvals in partnership with Cutter Aviation.
Garmin unveiled its first radar altimeter–the GRA 5500–yesterday. An all-digital design that employs digital signal processing technology, the GRA 5500 already holds FAA TSO authorization and is available immediately, at a retail price of $13,995 (without antenna).
Several OEMs have already selected the GRA 5500 for upcoming aircraft, including new versions of the Cessna Citation X, Sovereign, Latitude and Longitude and Bell Helicopter’s 525 Relentless.
Kitchener Aero Avionics obtained STC approval for a glass cockpit for the Eurocopter EC120. It includes the Garmin G500H flight display system with helicopter synthetic vision, an attitude heading reference system and air data computer.
Also STC’d in the EC120 are the Garmin GDL69/69A XM weather datalink, an Avidyne TAS-605 traffic awareness system and a Honeywell KRA-405B radar altimeter. All of these additional systems are controlled by and displayed on the G500H. Images from an external video camera or Flir system can also be displayed on the G500H MFD.
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