American Airlines has spent some $400 million in the past few years to retrofit its existing fleet for the planned NextGen flight environment in the U.S. But at this stage it has not seen the operational benefits it had hoped for, according to the airline’s director of airspace modernization and advanced technologies.
Total worldwide avionics sales amounted to more than $1.6 billion in the second quarter, according to the latest figures from the Aircraft Electronics Association. The quarterly report includes forward-fit and retrofit avionics sales from 20 aviation electronics manufacturers. According to AEA, the second-quarter sales were 5 percent less than the approximately $1.7 billion in sales recorded in the first quarter.
Bell Helicopter has delivered the first of its new Bell 407GX aircraft in Russia. St Petersburg-based Helidrive, which is the U.S. manufacturer’s independent representative in northwest Russia, will be using the new single for private and charter use. Bell is displaying an example of the 407GX at this week’s JetExpo show in Moscow.
Shadin Avionics received TSO approval for a data converter that integrates an iPad into the cockpit to access real-time flight data. The flyTab Aircraft Interface Module (Aim) was developed in collaboration with the Avionics & Systems Integration Group as a part of the flyTab Class 2 electronic flight bag. The current Aim provides an Arinc 429 interface for two iPads from a single unit. According to the company, Arinc 429, RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, discrete and MIL-STD-1553 data can be easily added and certified.
The EASA granted an approved model list (AML) supplemental type certificate (STC) to Aspen Avionics for installation of its Evolution Flight Display in more than 700 aircraft models registered in EASA countries. These include aircraft made by more than 40 manufacturers, including many twin turboprops. Under the AML STC, owners and operators can install the Evolution PFD and MFD as well as optional features such as Evolution hazard awareness, synthetic vision and EA 100 autopilot adapter.
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.
China Satellite Communications and Row 44 owner Global Eagle Entertainment have signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese airlines that want to add in-flight connectivity services. The agreement will also allow Row 44 customer airlines to continue delivering in-flight connectivity services while flying into and over China. The agreement calls for Row 44 to provide hardware and software to support satellite-based in-flight connectivity.
Aircell, which currently owns and operates the Airfone air-to-ground telephone network, is on track to shut down the system at the end of this year. While some operators may hope that Aircell will keep Airfone running a bit longer so they can avoid having to replace their systems, Aircell has made it clear that Airfone is going away. According to John Wade, Aircell executive v-p and general manager, “The December 31, 2013, shutdown date is firm.
A newly updated FAA draft advisory circular AC 20-151B provides flight departments with fresh guidance necessary in obtaining airworthiness approval for traffic alert collision avoidance systems II (Tcas II), as well as for certification of a stand-alone mode-S transponder system.
The FAA is seeking responses to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that it believes will significantly improve operational flexibility for operators using an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS). Comments on FAA-2013-0485 are due by September 9.