Paris Air Show

CMC’s new PilotView EFB, Hawk avionics make debuts

 - June 13, 2009, 2:32 AM

Esterline CMC Electronics (Hall 3 Stand D50) is giving Paris showgoers their first glimpse of the company’s latest portable computer with the unveiling of a new version of the PilotView electronic flight bag (EFB) called the CMA-1410.

The new unit, which was put into production last month, features a 10.4-inch- diagonal display, Intel Centrino mobile processor running Windows XP, USB ports and built-in Wi-Fi capability. The EFB allows pilots to view electronics charts, graphical weather downloads, checklists, operator manuals and other electronic data in the cockpit. Boeing has selected it for its 737 family of airliners, including the Boeing Business Jet version.

The CMA-1410 has a brighter touchscreen than its predecessor, the 8.4-inch CMA-1100. The smaller tablet computer, introduced by CMC Electronics in 2004, is certified for installation in dozens of airliners and business jet models including the Gulfstream 550, Bombardier Global Express and Boeing 737. According to CMC, the CMA-1410 is “plug-and-play interchangeable” with the CMA-1100.

CMC Electronics also has announced the delivery of safety-of-flight software for its CMA-9000 flight management system, which has been selected for the Thales avionics suite in Sukhoi’s new SuperJet 100 (SSJ-100) regional airliner. The SSJ-100 on display here at Le Bourget is equipped with dual CMA-9000 FMS units.
The CMA-9000 is a family of FMS units designed for modern digital cockpits. Derived from the CMA-900 FMS/GPS and CMA-3000 helicopter FMS, CMA-9000 is certified for multi-sensor (GPS, inertial, DME) navigation.

Marking another Paris Air Show first for CMC Electronics, the Canadian firm’s cockpit avionics suite is featured in one of the initial production batch of Finnish air force BAE Hawk Mk 51 upgraded trainers on static display on the flight line. CMC Electronics was selected by Finnish defense group Patria to install glass cockpits in the country’s 15 Hawk trainers.

The Hawk provides basic and advanced training at Kauhava air base for pilots who eventually will transition to the F-18C and F-18D fighters. The Patria contract covers the adaptation of CMC Electronics’ Cockpit 4000 integrated avionics suite for the Hawk Mk 51 trainer aircraft and simulator. The Patria upgrade of core avionics comprise CMC’s open-architecture mission computer, SparrowHawk head-up display and multifunction displays.

Patria currently supports a fleet of 67 Hawks for the Finnish air force, the majority of which were assembled by Patria. The fleet includes 18 ex-Swiss air force Hawk Mk 66 trainers purchased in 2007. Patria also has responsibility for maintaining the Hawks during their in-service life, as well as performing modifications.

Patria is a defense and aerospace firm with business areas covering armored wheeled vehicles, mortar systems, helicopters and military aircraft. The company is owned by the Finnish government and EADS.

CMC commercial vice president Bruce Bailey told AIN that the Canadian group is successfully riding out the current economic downturn with a portfolio that is well balanced both geographically and in terms of the split between military and civil products. “Diversification has helped us, such as the way we are providing commercial retrofits for military aircraft,” he explained.

Another positive trend for the company, according to Bailey, has been the expansion of the market for onboard cabin communications systems for passenger aircraft. “The Inmarsat 4 satellites are much more capable, with up to 300 to 400 kilobits per second,” he said. “With approvals now coming from North America and Europe, satcom is coming to more and more aircraft and we are well positioned in this market.”

CMC’s military vice president Jean-Michel Comptois said that new opportunities still keep arising in his sector, such as an unforeseen contract to upgrade aging Casa 101 aircraft for Jordan and an order to modernize the avionics suite of Poland’s Orlik basic trainer.

Another continuing military program is the provision of a full glass cockpit for the Korean Aerospace Industries XKT trainers ordered by Turkey. The modernized aircraft is due to make its first flight in November and should be ready to enter service in 2012.

“The niches that we find ourselves in are largely unaffected [by the downturn],” said Comptois. He said that upgrades to basic trainers, allowing pilots early exposure to glass cockpits, are still in demand due to the obsolescence of earlier equipment.
The company is also now set to start delivering its Cockpit 4000 suite for Hawker Beechcraft’s T-6B Texan trainer. So far it holds a production order for 30 of these and hopes to have 44 more by October.

“Flexibility is the key to our success,” concluded Bailey. “We are very prepared to deliver a very high degree of customization.” He added that the fact that CMC is not dependent on a small group of customers has left it less exposed to the current dip in demand from some aerospace sectors.