NBAA Convention News

Universal EFI-890R coming to more jets

 - November 13, 2006, 5:31 AM

Universal Avionics continues to expand its EFI-890R retrofit cockpit program, most recently by announcing STC projects with IFR Avionics and Premier Air/West Star Aviation to bring the glass cockpit to the Gulfstream II and III and the Falcon 50.

The first installation of the EFI-890R package in the GIII is under way at IFR Avionics in Van Nuys, Calif., where the installation center is fitting a customer airplane with four 8.9-inch-diagonal flight displays. The system includes the Vision 1 synthetic-vision system (SVS), electronic charts and TAWS (terrain awareness and warning system) as well as optional extras for enhanced vision, airborne weather radar and upgraded flight management systems. STC approval is expected in next year’s first quarter, after which IFR Avionics plans to begin work on a similar retrofit in a GII.

Meanwhile, Premier Air/West Star Aviation in Grand Junction, Colo., has announced an EFI-890R retrofit program for the Falcon that includes five of the big Universal displays. Called Falcon 50SV, the package brings synthetic vision to the model, as well as electronic charts, datalink weather, TAWS and FMS WAAS with LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) approach capability. The package will also include electronic engine instrumentation and advanced FMS performance capability, Universal Avionics said.

The FAA in May granted the first Part 25 STC for Universal’s SVS, handing over the approved paperwork after the successful completion of flight testing in a Challenger 601-3A at Long Beach Airport in Southern California. SVS presents an artificial view of the world ahead of the airplane on the pilots’ primary flight displays, including mountains, obstacles, large bodies of water and runways.

At the time, Universal president Ted Naimer, a high-time pilot who regularly flies the company Challenger that was used for testing, hailed the certification of Vision 1 in the business jet as bringing “some amazing technology in cockpit situational awareness” to business aviation.

Vision 1 consists of a worldwide terrain, obstacle and airport database that uses internal graphics adapters to present a video-game-like view of the world on the 890R’s active-matrix LCDs. The needed SVS hardware and software adds about $35,000 to the cost of an EFI-890R retrofit installation.