NBAA Convention News

Sandel's TAWS is needed to meet demand: Block

 - June 30, 2008, 9:31 AM

Calling the market entry of his company’s ST3400 TAWS (terrain awareness and warning system) in June a needed boost to the avionics industry’s capacity, Gerry Block, president of Sandel Avionics, said Monday at NBAA ‘02 that “interest and orders are increasing at a gratifying rate.” He added, “As you may know, we are nearing the point where industry will literally be out of the capacity to install the necessary number of TAWS between now and the 2005 compliance date.”

Block said orders for the Sandel TAWS have not been inhibited by Honeywell’s patent infringement suit against Goodrich, Universal Avionics, Sandel and ACSS. “There’s been a lot of questions asked about it, but they [Honeywell] haven’t asked for an injunction [against marketing of competing TAWS], so everybody gets to sell. It will drag on for years and finally be resolved. We take the position that it’s basically a groundless lawsuit, and we will defend it.” Block added, “It may be that for every call we get from a prospect there are 10 others out there who are holding off out of uncertainty. There’s really no way to tell.”

Block said the ST3400 can be part of the production and installation capacity solution because of its small size and ease of installation with less downtime. The 3-ATI self-contained TAWS processor/display unit replaces the RMI in a standard panel, becoming part of the pilot’s primary instrument scan.

Block called the ST3400 system “mainly an aftermarket product, so we’re concentrating on aftermarket applications by designing a system that will work in all kinds of airplanes.” He said that since its introduction the ST3400 has gone
to U.S., Canadian and Mexican customers, “and we expect to begin shipping to Europe shortly.”

Block announced Monday that an STC for installation of class A configured systems aboard a de Havilland Twin Otter has been earned by Rocky Mountain Aircraft in Calgary, Canada. Seventeen aircraft are to be completed over the next several months. Sandel reported receiving installation requests from more than 80 avionics dealers. The TAWS is in various stages of installation on 65 aircraft of 20 different types, from pressurized piston twins to Gulfstream jets.

Block announced an upcoming enhancement to the ST3400, incorporation of real-time weather imagery. He said his company is working with several weather data providers and will decide on one following system compatibility flight testing. The feature will be available as a software upgrade early next year, Block stated.

He said one of several features that set the ST3400 apart from competitive systems is a predictive altitude display mode based on real-time performance rather than handbook numbers. “It does equally well VFR or IFR, on or off an FMS flight path, and tells you out to 13 miles whether you’ll clear the terrain at your present rate of climb. This is unique to our system.”