Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been demonstrating its latest upgrades for the Dornier 228 twin turboprop at this week’s Aero India show in Bangalore. On display for the first time is a new glass cockpit developed by the Swiss-based Ruag group.
In a new safety alert for operators (SAFO), the FAA reminds pilots not to depend upon cockpit technology as the primary means to control the aircraft in all situations.
“A recent analysis of flight operations data (including normal flight operations, incidents and accidents) identified an increase in manual handling errors,” said the SAFO, issued on January 4.
On average about three crews every day will face one of pilots’ greatest fears: smoke in the cockpit. Quite often, smoke is easily controlled, by switching off electrical consumers and pulling circuit breakers, for example. But uncontrolled smoke in a cockpit can quickly obscure vital flight instruments, effectively incapacitating the flight crew at a most critical time.
Accidents in recent years have brought glass panel training and operational excellence under the spotlight, and the industry continues to develop training and safe practices to keep up with the new technology.
PPG Aerospace won a contract to supply cockpit windows for the new Eclipse 550, as well as improved-design windshield spares and side-cockpit window spares to Eclipse Aerospace for the existing Eclipse 500 fleet. The lighter-weight glass-faced acrylic windshields for both aircraft will be heated, meet requirements to resist strike by a two-pound bird at 200 knots and have an anti-static coating. The side-cockpit windows will be acrylic. PPG will start cockpit window deliveries to Eclipse in the middle of next year to coincide with deliveries of the first Eclipse 550s.
Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) is introducing a new, integrated multifunction standby unit (IMSU) for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft that measures, processes and displays altitude, airspeed, slip/skid and navigation data in a single display. The unit features a high-resolution LCD with LED backlighting that automatically adjusts for cockpit lighting.
EADS Sogerma (Booth No. 5431) is exhibiting at the NBAA convention for the first time and is showcasing a full-size mockup of a cockpit seat that could fit into a super-midsize to large-cabin business jet.
The new MD 302 standby attitude module (SAM) developed by Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics offers avionics installers another option for standby instruments, especially in panels with little extra space. The MD302 is entirely self-contained and provides attitude, altitude, airspeed and slip information in a small package measuring just two inches by five inches and weighing 1.6 pounds.
Charter provider Amira Air of Vienna, Austria, became the first operator of Bombardier’s new Global Vision flight deck. The cockpit is installed on a Global 5000 owned by Nikki Lauda, three-time Formula One world champion, airline owner and pilot. The legendary racing driver has been using the airplane to travel among F1 races and to other destinations, since receiving the airplane in April.
No one can accuse Kestrel Aircraft of lacking ambition. The company unveiled a revised cabin mock-up of its in-development, all-composite single-engine turboprop over the summer. It features an executive interior nearly as opulent as what would be found in a new $40 million corporate jet, resplendent with high-gloss wood veneers, upscale leathers, a wide aisle and oversized oval cabin windows reminiscent of a Gulfstream. Basically, everything a traditional turboprop is not. All this in an airplane that is expected to hit the market with a price tag around $3 million.