Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
Avionics and ATC » Avionics
New developments and products in avionics, specifically about aircraft electronics in the cockpit.
Aircell will shut down the Airfone air-to-ground communications network as scheduled on December 31, and after that date Airfone users will no longer be able to make calls. Business aviation Airfone users have been using MagnaStar systems to make calls, and a variety of options are available to upgrade or replace those systems.
The FAA awarded a supplemental type certificate to Century Flight Systems for installation of its Century C4000 autopilot in the Piper PA-30 and PA-39 Twin Comanche. Prices start at $19,995 (plus installation). The autopilot’s features, according to Century, include “GPS/VOR/LOC/LOC REV coupling, fully automatic glideslope coupling from above or below, selected angle intercept capability when using an HSI (45-degree intercepts using a DG), altitude hold, voice prompter, attitude hold command, auto-trim or trim prompting.”
Apple’s new iPad Air, which is thinner and weighs one-third of a pound less than the previous-generation iPad, has passed rapid decompression testing conducted by Jeppesen. The company tested the iPad Air to 51,000 feet, similar to tests conducted on all previous iPad versions. “No anomalies were detected during testing of any of the iPad models,” according to Jeppesen, which makes the Mobile FliteDeck and FliteDeck VFR apps for the iPad.
GPS Source, a manufacturer of indoor GPS receivers, released its GLI-Metro-G system, which provides a variety of GPS signal types and control over effective radiated power (ERP) levels. GLI-Metro-G can receive GPS L1/L2 and Glonass L1/L2 signals, and users can select both GPS and Glonass or each type individually. An antenna must be mounted on the outside of the building to pass the signals through to the receiver. GLI-Metro-G will also accept Galileo signals when that system becomes operative, as well as those from other future GPS-type systems.
In an article in the October issue (“ADS-B Coming Soon to Asian Airspace”), AIN provided details about the upcoming ADS-B out mandates in Australia, some Asian countries, Europe and the U.S. An alert reader pointed out that there is a wrinkle that operators should be aware of: some of the mandates in Asia require equipment that meets DO-260 or -260A standards, which are less stringent than the DO-260B standards required in the U.S. and Europe.
As government mandates for equipage with ADS-B out avionics begin this month (generally above 29,000 feet in some countries’ airspace), FlightSafety International has launched an ADS-B online training program. The FAA-approved 45-minute course costs $165 per person and is available at FlightSafety’s eLearning website. Subjects covered include operating principles and procedures, flight planning, MEL issues, phraseology, emergency codes, incident reporting and more.
According to NBAA, the FAA will publish a notice to airmen on December 12 detailing plans for the rollout of Phase 2 of the North Atlantic datalink mandate. Implementation will begin with Phase 2a on Feb. 5, 2015, at which time flights within the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) between FL350 and FL390 must be equipped with Fans 1/A controller-pilot datalink communications and ADS-C systems. The program expands to these altitudes in the entire ICAO NAT region on Dec.
Offshore oil-and-gas helicopter operator PHI recently conducted the first operational flights of a Sikorsky S-92 equipped with the new “rig approach” automated system, the U.S.-based rotorcraft manufacturer has announced. Earlier this year, Sikorsky and PHI pilots flew two FAA demonstration operations to oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana.
Worldwide avionics sales in the third quarter totaled more than $1.72 billion, according to the Aircraft Electronics Association’s latest quarterly avionics market report. In the first nine months, the industry recorded more than $5.1 billion in total worldwide avionics sales. Last year, nearly $6.3 billion in avionics were sold. The amounts include all aircraft electronic products (both certified and noncertified), hardware, batteries and chargeable product upgrades from the 20 participating avionics manufacturers.