Universal Avionics (Booth No. 4254) unveiled the UL-800/801 communications management system, developed to be compatible with Future Air Navigation System (FANS) and VHF datalink (VDL) Mode 2 capabilities for digital communications between pilots and ATC.
Avionics and ATC
New developments and products in avionics, specifically about aircraft electronics in the cockpit; and news, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA), responding to recent member requests, issued a statement that clarifies FAA regulations that apply to updates of navigational databases used on modern avionics. The FAA changed the Part 43 Appendix A regulations in 1996, according to NATA, and classified database updates as preventive maintenance instead of maintenance.
The FAA expressed enthusiasm about the RTCA’s final report of its NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Task Force released last week. The recommendations focus on five operational areas: surface, runway access, congested metropolitan airspace, cruise and National Airspace System access. They also encompass two specific NextGen capabilities: automated digital communications and integrated air traffic management.
In the ongoing effort to morph the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) into a “NowGen,” equipage by users keeps cropping up as one of the main stumbling blocks to implementing many NextGen benefits in the next three to five years.
As the use of night-vision goggles (NVG) becomes more prevalent, especially in EMS helicopter operations, the issue of cockpit instrument viewability is assuming greater importance. That’s why Shadin Avionics and Aero Dynamix (Booth No. 1634) have teamed to make Shadin’s fuel flow management indicators NVG-compatible.
Precise Flight of Bend, Ore., has received a supplemental type certificate for an L-3 Communications Iris infrared enhanced-vision system (EVS) and its own high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting kit colocated in the nose of Bell 206 and 407 helicopters.
SkyTrac Systems of Kelowna, British Columbia, is at Heli-Expo Booth No. 1850 to offer details on its latest satellite communication transceiver featuring automatic global, real-time flight following with audio interface and text messaging.
As of February 1, search-and-rescue satellites will stop monitoring 121.5 MHz, one of the frequencies used by emergency locator transmitters. Although there is no FAA mandate requiring a switch to 406-MHz ELTs, operators should be aware that the international Cospas-Sarsat satellite system will cease to process 121.5-MHz signals on that date.
Without the ability to understand and accurately forecast weather, NextGen technology won’t amount to much. For that reason, industry participants including Baron Services, NCAR and the FAA are not only working to integrate weather into the NextGen technology, but they are also working to improve forecasting techniques.
One of the first steps in developing the technology to automate the National Airspace System (NAS) is to coordinate and manage the data that is necessary for the technology to work properly. The system-wide information management (Swim) platform will allow all of the NextGen systems to “speak” to one another, as well as to other systems within other government agencies and industry partners, according to the FAA.