Farnborough Air Show

IS&S showcasing its cockpit upgrades

 - November 27, 2006, 11:58 AM

Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) is showcasing its Cockpit/IP (information portal) line of cockpit upgrades that are being installed on a wide variety of platforms, from the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop through the Boeing 737 Classic and 767 airliners to the Lockheed Martin C-130 military transport.

According to Roman Ptakowski, the company’s president, the C-130 upgrade has been installed in Royal Netherlands Air Force aircraft by Cambridge, UK-based Marshall Aerospace and on several other fleets. It involves replacing the primary flight display, navigation display and engine instrument display system with 6- by 8-inch (10-inch diagonal) flat panel displays.

The PC-12 upgrade, which uses 15-inch diagonal screens to replace the primary flight, navigation and multifunction displays, is available through Western Aircraft of Boise, Idaho, and Atlanta-based Epps Aviation. Ptakowski said the first aircraft to be equipped was voted Queen of the Fleet at the last Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association convention.

767 Upgrade

The IS&S president is particularly proud of the 767 upgrade. His company worked with cargo carrier ABX Air to gain supplemental type certification for the modification, which uses flat panels to replace the two pilots’ primary flight and navigation displays. It costs a flat $275,000 including installation kit and labor, and crucially involves less than four days’ downtime for the airplane where alternative approaches take anywhere from four to eight weeks, Ptakowski said.

So far ABX has equipped six of its own airplanes and has started doing third party installations at its Wilmington, Ohio, base. IS&S (Hall 3 Stand B17) has also received orders for 737 Classic upgrades, and is working on the first one for an undisclosed customer, Ptakowski said.

“There is only so much real estate in the cockpit and an increasing demand for information to be presented,” Ptakowski commented. The new displays can be used for new functions such as required navigation performance (RNP), automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) and cockpit display of traffic information. They can also display charts, satellite weather graphics and the infrared pictures generated by synthetic vision systems.

“We offer a very cost-effective solution with minimum downtime,” Ptakowski added. The IS&S approach involves using as much existing wiring as possible and an architecture based on three components: a display unit with integrated symbol generator, a control panel and a data concentrator unit, which acts as the input/output processor for onboard information.