NBAA Convention News

Meggitt's Magic ok'd for Twin Commander retrofit

 - June 11, 2008, 11:41 AM

The latest capability offered to owners and operators of Twin Commander models is the Meggitt Magic (Meggitt Avionics new Generation Integrated Cockpit) electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS). Executives at Twin Commander Aircraft Corp., Arlington, Wash., note the new four-display system (primary flight display, navigation display, two engine and instrument display systems plus a remote-mounted air-data attitude heading reference system) replaces most electromechanical displays and instruments on the standard Twin Commander panel.

The Magic system will be standard on Grand Renaissance Twin Commanders and available for retrofit on other models. Stand-alone price for the system, Twin Commander general manager Jeff Cousins told Aviation International News, will be about $160,000.

According to the company, the Magic displays and sensor systems feature the latest active matrix liquid-crystal displays and solid-state sensor technology. The system replaces standard Twin Commander electromechanical indicators with a 4.5-in.-high by 5.3-in-wide primary flight display (PFD) and an identically sized navigation display (ND). A dual redundant engine and instrument display system (EIDS) replaces all engine and fuel quantity/fuel flow instruments and gauges.

The PFD, Twin Commander said, shows all airspeed, attitude, altitude, vertical speed and heading references and incorporates the flight director function. “The ND can be switched between three display modes–arc, map and HSI. The ND interfaces with the aircraft’s existing avionics, including autopilot, GPS, VOR/ILS, transponder, radar altimeter, marker beacon, ADF and DME. Both the PFD and ND receive digital air data information from an all solid-state air data attitude heading reference system [ADAHRS],” said Cousins.

The EIDS units show all engine indications previously spread among several mechanical instruments, as well as trim and flap position indicators and fuel flow. “They also incorporate exceedance monitoring and recording functions. Signals from engine and fuel sensors feed dual independent-channel data acquisition units, which send digital information to the displays. Further redundancy is achieved by the ability to combine all engine indications onto one display,” Cousins added.

Besides providing weight savings, Twin Commander stressed, the compactness of the new Magic package “frees up panel real estate for other advanced avionics, such as large-screen flight management displays and weather, traffic and terrain avoidance systems.”

The first installation in a Grand Renaissance 690A Twin Commander, Cousins reported, had accumulated 15 hr as of late September. “We’re beginning a country-wide demonstration tour of the aircraft on this month. We expect to complete certification tests later in the month and after seven to 10 flight test days we should receive certification and deliver the first three units now on order.”

The Grand Renaissance 690A and B models represent the centerpiece of the current fleet. The TPE331 engine on the series are overhauled to upgraded Dash 10T specifications. The engine, which has a thermodynamic rating of 1,000 shp is flat-rated at 717.5 shp for 690A or B installation. By year-end, Cousins said, Grand Renaissance completion centers are expected to have created 35 aircraft, primarily turboprops but with a few piston-powered Shrikes. By then, he said, a total of 132 Twin Commanders will have the Dash 10T engine upgrade.

Cousins also told AIN his company has cooperated with Aero Air, Hillsboro, Ore., to gain certification of new, wider three-blade props for all models. This option, he said, improves rate of climb, lowers cabin sound levels and provides around a 10-kt cruise speed increase. “The blade system is retrofittable and seven sets have been delivered thus far,” he said.

Another announcement from Twin Commander is the addition of Eagle Aviation, Columbia, S.C., to the corporation’s worldwide network of factory authorized service centers. This brings the total number of Twin Commander authorized service centers worldwide to 17 in the U.S. and seven internationally.