Universal, CMC testing M-Series EVS in King Air

 - January 24, 2007, 5:52 AM

The marketing alliance announced last year between Universal Avionics and CMC Electronics is beginning to bear fruit with the recent test installation of CMC’s SureSight M-Series infrared camera system in the nose of Universal’s King Air 350.

“We were fortunate in that we were able to find a superb location for the camera on an existing access plate in the forward nose of the King Air,” noted Paul Deherrera, vice president of marketing and product support for Universal Avionics. “This location enabled us to develop a composite replacement panel that houses the all-in-one camera.” He said Universal has completed several test flights with the camera in this location, adding the engineers have been “extremely pleased” with its resolution, contrast and picture.

Universal’s goal is to market the SureSight enhanced-vision system as an integrated piece of the company’s retrofit cockpits for business jets and turboprops. The image from the CMC camera is presented on the King Air’s EFI-890R navigation display, an eight- by nine-inch color LCD flat panel that replaces a variety of separate instruments. Deherrera said separate contrast and brightness selection lets the pilots independently control the EVS image without affecting the settings of the navigation display images.

This would be the first STC for a product package developed jointly by Universal Avionics of Tucson, Ariz., and CMC Electronics in Montreal. Universal president and CEO Ted Naimer and CMC Electronics president and CEO Jean-Pierre Mortreux signed a multiyear distributor at the EBACE show in Geneva last May that cleared the path for Universal to market CMC’s M-Series infrared enhanced-vision system as a part of its Vision 1 series of retrofit cockpits.

At the time, the executives said the alliance would be only the beginning of a much closer relationship for the companies, which are jointly exploring a broad range of areas where marketing and engineering partnerships could aid both. Naimer emphasized, however, that a merger was not on the horizon.

Instead, he said the companies decided to form the alliance to leverage the “largely complementary technology” each sells to business aircraft operators and OEMs. Naimer and Mortreux have even started discussions about developing a combined enhanced- and synthetic-vision system that would mate CMC’s infrared camera with Universal’s Vision 1 SVS. Universal also plans to integrate the EVS image with its UCD electronic flight bag computer and its other retrofit cockpit displays. List price for the camera system is $66,000.