Avionics Update: Software problems delay Embraer 170 certification

 - July 30, 2008, 7:17 AM

Embraer and Honeywell are facing challenges related to software problems that have forced the Brazilian airplane manufacturer to delay certification and initial delivery of its 170 regional jet until November, several months after the first airplanes were promised to launch customer Alitalia. Embraer CEO Mauricio Botelho blamed the difficulties on integration of the airplane’s fly-by-wire flight-control system with Honeywell Primus Epic software. Embraer plans to send one of its prototypes to Honeywell’s headquarters in Phoenix to ensure the company can meet revised certification targets. According to Honeywell vice president of programs Vicki Panhuise, the avionics maker has delivered to Embraer Load 10 of the Primus Epic software, which includes flight-test results, TCAS and basic autopilot information. She said the company plans to send Load 11, including the results from the Cat II, autothrottle and windshear-detection system tests, later this summer. Despite the delays, Panhuise said the issues are normal for any new avionics development program, particularly one as complicated as Primus Epic. “This is a highly integrated system with a lot of new technology and many systems that have to talk to each other in the same language,” she said. “It has presented a challenge for all of us, including the certification authorities.”