With the Dec. 31, 2004, deadline fast approaching for all aircraft flying between FL 290 and FL 410 to comply with domestic reduced vertical separation minimum (DRVSM) standards, aircraft and avionics OEMs have been feverishly working toward RVSM certification of air-data units and data packages as owners begin upgrading their fleets. RVSM was the topic of a two-day preconvention seminar presented by the FAA here at NBAA ’02, and several OEMs and completion centers are introducing RVSM solutions here at the show.
Grand Junction, Colo.-based West Star Aviation (Booth No. 6167) has teamed with Honeywell (Booth No. 6754) to develop an RVSM solution for Learjet 30-series aircraft equipped with the FC-200 autopilot and the Century III Softflite wing. Using Honeywell equipment that has already been RVSM-certified on Gulfstream II and Cessna Citation 560 series, West Star will obtain STCs needed to use the package for RVSM operations in the Learjet. The West Star RVSM solution includes the Honeywell AZ-252 advanced air-data computer, BA-250 pilot’s barometric altitude display, AM-250S copilot’s barometric altimeter/air-data computer and AL-800 digital altitude alerter in addition to an Aerosonics standby altimeter and Rosemount probes.
According to Russ Williams, v-p of sales and marketing for West Star, the initial response from the Learjet fleet for the RVSM solution has been extremely positive. “We are already talking with other maintenance providers at strategic locations around the country who are interested in installing our RVSM solution,” said Williams. Last week, AirNet Systems, an Ohio-based charter company with 41 Learjets in its fleet of 130 aircraft, signed a $4 million agreement with West Star for the purchase and installation of the RVSM package for its Learjet 35 and 35A fleet.
“We looked at all of our options carefully before making our decision to go with West Star,” said Bill Sumser, chief financial officer for AirNet. “[West Star’s] proposal presented the best value to us and we are confident that West Star will obtain the necessary STCs and provide excellent service as they have in the past.”
As part of the agreement, AirNet will provide five aircraft for use in the STC flight tests to begin later this month. Although the planned STC also involves removing existing flush-mounted static ports and the Vmo and Mmo Mach overspeed switches, West Star officials expect all STCs for the Learjet package to be approved by early second quarter of next year.
This is not West Star’s first major upgrade, however, as the company has already obtained STCs to install terrain awareness warning system’s (TAWS) in Learjet 30 series aircraft.
Jack of All Planes
Even brand-new companies are jumping on the RVSM bandwagon. AeroMech (Booth No. 574), a technical service company specializing in RVSM certification and support, has completed more than 30 RVSM certification programs worldwide since September 2001. The Everett, Wash.-based company operates the only certified FAA repair station designated with a “limited rating, specialized services” for consulting and certification services relating to RVSM.
“RVSM is well under way in most regions around the world,” said Toney Wiederkehr, flight analyst and FAA-designated engineering representative (DER) at AeroMech. “AeroMech’s RVSM programs have been approved by 16 civil aviation authorities from around the world and have been responsible for the successful operational approval of more than 3,200 airframes worldwide.”
AeroMech’s RVSM group approval certifications include those for the Bombardier Learjet 55, Raytheon King Air B200/B300, Lockheed JetStar II, Israel Aircraft Industries Westwind II and Piaggio P.180. The company has assisted in individual aircraft approvals for Boeing 707, Dassault Falcon 10, Westwind I, JetStar and other aircraft.
For those operators who don’t want to wait for American instruments to be certified, Underwood-Instrument Services (Booth No. 3562) of Addison, Texas, is offering a new RVSM-compliant air-data unit manufactured by Swiss aircraft instrument manufacturer Revue Thommen (Booth No. 3562).
The AD32 Air Data Display is an all-solid-state, self-contained altimeter, air data computer and alerter in one case and can easily switch reporting from meters to feet. FAA-certified to TSO C-10b, TSO-C88a and TSO-C-106, the AD32 can be used to upgrade many older business jets and air transport category aircraft to RVSM standards.