NASA’s small aircraft transportation system (SATS), a five-year, $69 million project aimed at maximizing the benefits of light aircraft and small airports, announced at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh that it selected four teams to participate in its initial research and development phase. The Maryland team will focus on evolving existing flight procedures, integrating new technology and studying human factors.
Synthetic vision system
Rockwell Collins is applying years of flight-test research to its new Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system by combining computer-generated synthetic scenes with infrared enhanced-vision views on the primary flight displays and HUD. The goal, the company proclaims, is to give business jet crews the ability to “go anywhere, anytime.”
You may have seen the ads on TV.
Ibis Aerospace selected the FlightLogic synthetic vision system from Chelton Avionics of Boise, Idaho, for its Ae270 a turboprop single, which is scheduled for certification by the end of this year. FlightLogic combines HUD symbology with real-time forward-looking 3-D views of terrain and obstacles, and the so-called highway-in-the-sky concept (in which the pilot flies the airplane on the approach through a series of virtual boxes).
Perched at the top of Gulfstream’s lineup of luxury business jets sits the G550, a longer-legged and heavier version of the G500 for which the original GV and GV-SP lend their names. The $45 million G550’s list of improvements over the G500 includes true New York-to-Tokyo nonstop range, increased payload-carrying capability, higher cruise speed and shorter takeoff distances.
The annual avionics trade show hosted by the Aircraft Electronics Association is a good place to get the lowdown on emerging industry trends and try out the latest cockpit and cabin gear from an array of manufacturers and suppliers.
In an experiment reminiscent of Jimmy Doolittle’s trailblazing instrument blind flight in 1929, researchers at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) have conducted a full takeoff and landing flight of their testbed fly-by-wire Bell 205 helicopter controlled by a pilot completely “under the hood” and receiving all his visual cues via a helmet-mounted enhanced synthetic vision system (ESVS).
Boeing Business Jets said it plans to install the Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics Head-up Guidance System (HGS-4000) as standard equipment in all BBJs and BBJ2s. In addition to traditional HUD functions, the HGS-4000 provides improved low-visibility takeoff guidance as well as runway deceleration cueing, readout of remaining runway length and unusual-attitude recovery cues, said BBJ chief pilot Mike Hewett.
The typical business airplane at different points in its lifetime will receive overhauled engines, a refurbished interior and more than a few coats of fresh paint, along with a host of required periodic maintenance checks and upgrades, all of which constitute the obligatory costs of operating a business jet or turboprop.
“We believe the electronic flight bag is just the beginning of a trend,” said Philippe Roy, general manager of Mercury Computer Systems’ avionics and unmanned systems group.