EBACE Convention News

EBACE 2011: Rockwell Collins Adds European Regional Trip Support To Ascend

 - May 16, 2011, 11:20 AM

Rockwell Collins has added European Union regional trip support to the services provided under its Ascend flight information solutions.

Last year, Rockwell Collins (Stand 7036) acquired flight-planning and handling-provider Air Routing International and rebranded the Air Routing services under the Ascend name. Earlier this year, Rockwell Collins bought Computing Technologies for Aviation, developer of Flight Operations System (CTA-FOS) software. This, said Colin Mahoney, vice president of commercial systems sales and marketing, “really blossoms our flight operations portfolio.” CTA-FOS services are available via mobile device applications, currently as apps on the iPod, BlackBerry and Droid, and soon on the iPad.

Ascend regional trip support will help flight departments fly in Europe’s complex airspace by arranging and providing flight planning and filing, runway analysis, weight and balance, concierge services, weather data and fuel services (including whether an operator should tanker or buy fuel at planned destinations). Enhancements to the regional trip support service will include Eurocontrol route validation and message management system.

Additional Ascend features make life much simpler for flight departments by automatically uploading navigation, terrain, graphical weather and other flight deck database updates to the airplane via 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks on the ground. Maintenance data, including operating parameters and fault codes, can be sent from the aircraft to the flight department and service provider.

The flight department can also track its fleet’s database update and maintenance status using dashboard software provided by Rockwell Collins, which is being demonstrated at the Rockwell Collins stand here at the convention. Eventually, Rockwell Collins plans to make possible airborne database updates and transmission of maintenance data.

The movement of this data is accomplished by Rockwell Collins’s IMS-3500 for Pro Line 4- and 21-equipped aircraft (IMS-6000 for Pro Line Fusion flight decks). Certification of the IMS-3500 is expected in June, and Rockwell Collins is expected to announce the IMS-3500 launch customer shortly. The IMS-3500 doesn’t just move data but can also store it, so when the aircraft is flying, data is saved for transmission once on the ground. The data is encrypted and secure.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Rockwell Collins also announced that synthetic vision for the Pro Line 21 will be available in 2012. Synthetic vision, which provides a 3-D view of terrain on the pilot flight display, “better equips flight crews for situational awareness in low visibility and unfamiliar territory,” according to Rockwell Collins. More than 4,000 aircraft are equipped with Pro Line 21 avionics and are thus capable of adding synthetic vision. The upgrade includes a 2MCU box and a software upgrade to the display unit. Retrofits should begin in the third quarter of next year.