Aerial View Systems has been in business in Newport Beach, Calif., for 25 years developing increasingly sophisticated external cameras for business jets. The cameras not only provide passengers stunning scenes of the outside world on entertainment system monitors, but also enable pilots to view problems with flaps, landing gear, APUs and so forth, as well as to see taxiing aircraft that might not be viewable from the cockpit.
Since almost one third of helicopter accidents with fatal casualties are caused by impact with obstacles and cables, developing and improving anti-collision systems against low-visibility obstacles is clearly a key objective for avionics specialists. Finmeccanica’s Selex Communications has had success with various military users of its laser obstacle avoidance and monitoring (LOAM) system since introducing it in 2000.
The so-called “smart cabin automated dimming system” (Scads) marks the latest stage in evolution of the electrically dimmable E-Shade smart window from InspecTech of Fort Lauderdale.
A new Article 222 of UK Air Navigation Order 2009 makes it illegal “to shine any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft.” The country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hopes the article, coupled with new technology used by police air support units, will increase conviction rates.
Italy’s Elettronica has entered the last phase of development of its directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for the anti-missile protection market, and is due to complete ground tests and flight trials by the end of 2009. The project was launched in 2007 to create a system that would protect aircraft from infrared-guided (“heat-seeking”) surface-to-air missiles, and in particular, man-portable air defense systems.
Airborne Law Enforcement Services (ABLE) of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, Calif., will be the first customer for FLIR Systems’ Ultra 9HD airborne thermal imaging system. An Ultra 9HD mounted on one of ABLE’s EC 120s is on display at FLIR’s Heli-Expo booth (No. 3928).
In response to numerous reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft, the FAA last month issued advisory circular (AC) 70-2 requesting all aircrews to report immediately incidents of unauthorized laser illumination to the appropriate ATC facility. The AC also requires air traffic controllers to notify pilots immediately about laser events.
The House of Representatives passed legislation that aims to punish anyone convicted of knowingly pointing a laser at an aircraft with a maximum of five years in prison. Introduced by Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.), the bill stems from a number of cases over the past few years where pilots have reported lasers being shone in the cockpit, causing temporary loss of vision. To date, no accidents have resulted from laser pointing.
As the aircraft fleet ages and the number of in-flight material fatigue incidents climbs, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia says he has found a new and reliable method of identifying potentially dangerous cracks in aging aircraft.
The House of Representatives passed a bill last week that imposes a $250,000 fine and up to a possible five-year prison term for people who point lasers at aircraft. Sponsored by Ric Keller (R-Fla.), the legislation is the outgrowth of several recent incidents. Laser beams can temporarily blind pilots and, in some reported cases, cause permanent eye damage. The bill now awaits passage by the Senate.