For U.S. Part 91 business jet operators that fly to Europe, the upcoming Future Air Navigation System (Fans) mandate means not only new operational procedures but also yet another letter of authorization (LOA) requirement from the FAA. Fans and controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) are essentially functions that will be baked into the flight management system (FMS), yet each operator’s implementation of procedures, training and a maintenance program for Fans/CPDLC will need a formal stamp of approval from a local FAA office.
Flight management system
Boeing’s 787-8 Dreamliner is wrapping up a weeklong visit to the FIDAE 2012 airshow in Santiago, Chile, where all the airplane’s technological wizardry, including the most comprensive array of Honeywell equipment on any Boeing airliner, went on display.
Europe’s Sesar program has validated the air traffic management efficiencies to be gained from knowing that aircraft will pass specified waypoints on time in the world’s first initial four-dimensional (I-4D) flight by an Airbus A320 test aircraft, flying from Toulouse to Copenhagen and Stockholm. According to Dr.
Thai Aviation Industries (TAI) and Rockwell Collins have just completed a major avionics upgrade for the Royal Thai Air Force’s C-130 Hercules fleet. The upgrade began five years ago and was accomplished in two phases, each covering six aircraft. The program allows the C-130 fleet to meet CNS/ATM (communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management) mandates until at least 2020, in turn allowing unrestricted access to global airspace.
With the award last summer of a $160 million contract to provide avionics for the U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aerial refueling tanker, Rockwell Collins (Booth Q79) became the primary avionics supplier for all USAF tankers. The U.S. manufacturer recently completed a fleetwide update of systems on the KC-135 Stratotanker, and will provide flight deck displays and other systems on its replacement, the KC-46A.
With demonstrated benefits of reducing track miles, mitigating noise and lowering fuel burn and emissions, performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures are being adopted on a worldwide basis. But 15 years after Alaska Airlines flew the first procedures, widespread implementation of PBN is uneven and its benefits largely unrealized.
Rockwell Collins provided AIN with more details of the avionics for the Brazilian KC-390 military transport. The avionics company believes that Embraer’s recent choice represents a strategic win, since it is the first military application of the Pro Line Fusion suite.
Despite all the fits and starts, NextGen in the U.S. will eventually affect business aircraft operators, although perhaps not on the schedule that the FAA currently espouses. It is not too soon to start considering the impact of NextGen on business aviation and how it will drive equipment requirements.
At this year’s Paris Air Show, Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 5 Stand 242) is showing, for the first time, the Cockpit 9000 avionics suite selected as an upgrade for Lockheed Martin C-130 cockpits.
Flight testing of the A400M airlifter is on track, and Airbus Military expects civil type certification (TC) by the end of the year, according to the new head of the program, Cedric Gautier. The four development aircraft have now logged more than 1,600 flight hours and will be joined by a fifth next October, which will be in production configuration.