Comlux Nearing Fans/CPDLC and ADS-B Upgrade for Challenger 600s

 - March 14, 2014, 8:10 AM
L to r: Carey Miller, Universal Avionics; Scott Trainum, ICG; Scott Brooks; Comlux America; Kim Stephenson, L-3 Aviation Products; Adam Tsakonas, ICG; Bruce Bunevich, Universal Avionics at the Aircraft Electronics Association show (Photo: Matt Thurber)

Owners of Bombardier CL-600 series jets will have an option for upgrading their jets, including older ones, to the latest NextGen technology, including Fans 1/A CPDLC and Link 2000+, under a new STC that Comlux America is pursuing. The STC will also include ADS-B OUT compliance, which means that even older Challenger 600s will be able to continue flying in ADS-B airspace around the world and after Jan. 1, 2020 in the U.S. The STC will involve adding avionics from Universal Avionics and International Communications Group (ICG) and an L-3 Aviation Recorders cockpit voice recorder.

Fans 1/A controller pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) is basically text messaging between pilots and air traffic controllers. Link 2000+ is a European mandate for similar airborne text messaging capability. And ADS-B upgrades for some older jets like the Challenger 600 have generally not been targeted by manufacturers and avionics shops. For jets like the Challengers that often fly overseas, this STC offers a solution that covers a much-needed basket of technologies. Challenger 605s have a service bulletin from Bombardier, so don’t need to be addressed by this STC, according to Scott Brooks, Comlux’s regional sales manager.

The 600 through 601-3R Challengers will need to upgrade both FMS units to the Waas LPV Universal Avionics FMS (w series). Also part of the STC is Universal’s UniLink UL-801 communications management unit, which handles datalink messaging over land via VHF and can deliver textual weather to the cockpit. Universal’s latest SCN 31.0 software upgrade for the UniLink also handles the unique requirements for Link 2000+ messaging. For over-ocean messaging, the ICG Nextlink ICS120 or 220A Iridium satcom is approved for Fans-over-Iridium communications. And the new L-3 CVR is required because all Fans 1/A CPDLC messaging must be recorded.

On the Challenger 604, only one added Universal w-series FMS is required for the new messaging capability because the existing Rockwell Collins FMSs do not need replacing.

Comlux has submitted the STC paperwork to the FAA and is hoping to be able to announce approval this fall, Brooks said. About 400 CL-600 series Challengers will need this modification to keep flying. “Pricing will be attractive,” he added, although Comlux hasn’t provided a specific price breakdown. The first Challenger to get the Comlux package is a customer’s 601-1A, and that owner had expected a bill close to $1 million, but it will be about a third of that because the jet already has the required dual Universal w-series FMSs.

Chicago Jet, which has STC’d Fans 1/A CPDLC on the Falcon 50 and should receive STCs for the Falcon 900 and Gulfstream GIV through GV models and others shortly, worked with Kobev International for testing support and training program development. Comlux is also working with Kobev, Brooks said. Comlux America, based in Indianapolis, has been a Bombardier authorized service facility for four years.