Operators’ Fans STC Options Growing

 - April 20, 2015, 2:00 PM

The array of choices for business jet operators flying transatlantic routes and needing to comply with Future Air Navigation System (Fans) mandates is growing, with new certifications and more equipment options. Fans requires a compatible flight management system (FMS), a datalink (satcom) and a cockpit voice recorder capable of storing data messaging. Fans is currently required for North Atlantic operations between FL350 and FL390, though eventually it will be expanded to cover more altitudes. The equipment also supports future implementation of data messaging in the U.S. as part of the FAA’s NextGen efforts, although there is currently no mandate for so-called DataComm.

Companies that have received Fans supplemental type certificates (STCs) include Chicago Jet, Clay Lacy Aviation, Comlux America and Kaiser Air. While some installations can use existing Inmarsat satcoms, most Fans STCs include installation of an Iridium satcom to provide the datalink capability. Iridium systems from Gogo Business Aviation, International Communications Group (ICG) and True North Avionics have proved popular. Another company offering a product for the satcom side of Fans solutions is Latitude Technologies, which recently introduced the DL150 satellite data unit, which offers data-only capability (no voice service). Most Fans STCs are installing a Universal Avionics FMS, either as a third FMS or replacing existing equipment, plus Universal’s UL-800/801 UniLink communications management unit and CVR-120 cockpit voice recorder. Comlux’s STC employs an L-3 Aviation Recorders cockpit voice recorder. TrueNorth’s Simphonē Fans-1/A+ Data Link Unitplus is also data-only. The data-only Iridium systems offer a simpler option for aircraft that already have a voice satcom. Garmin's GSR 56 Iridium datalink transceiver received FAA TSO-C159a approval last year and is the Fans datalink for forward-fit Garmin G5000 flight decks.

Chicago Jet was the first to STC a business jet Fans package in September 2013, for the Falcon 50. The Falcon 900 STC was approved in August 2014. Since then, Chicago Jet has added Fans STCs for the G100, Astra and Astra SPX and is in the process of receiving or has begun developing STCs for the GIV/GIV-SP and GV, GII/GIII, Falcon 2000, Challenger 601 and 604, Falcon 900EX, Hawker 4000 and BBJ.

Kaiser Air received a Fans STC for the GIV/GIV-SP in March and expects to add the GV in May. The company operates Boeing 737s and is planning on a Fans STC for the 737-700, which would enable Kaiser Air to offer the STC to the BBJ market, according to Rick Brainard, director of maintenance marketing and business development. “Quite a number of [operators] have inquired about the GIII,” he added. “If we have enough inquiries and if we can get two or three [operators] to commit, we would do that.”

In March, Clay Lacy Aviation announced approval of its Fans STC for the GIV/GIV-SP. This STC offers the option of retaining an existing Honeywell MCS-6000 or -7000 Aero H satcom, instead of installing an Iridium system. The GV should be added to this STC shortly. Clay Lacy is also working on a Challenger 601-3A/R Fans STC, which will use True North’s Iridium satcom.

Comlux America announced in early April that it received an STC for the first Fans installation on a Challenger 601. This is Comlux’s second Fans STC for the Challenger 600 series; the first was issued in March. A second 601 is in the installation process at Comlux’s Indianapolis headquarters, and it will be delivered this year.

In other Fans news, Rockwell Collins announced that buyers of Fans upgrades for the Rockwell Collins-equipped Challenger 604 and Falcon 50EX, 2000 and 2000EX will receive one year of Arinc Direct flight support services. The upgrade is available from Rockwell Collins dealers, and the Challenger 604 upgrade will be available this summer, followed by the Falcon 50EX, 2000 and 2000EX “toward the end of the year.”

For operators, once Fans equipment is installed, their airplanes have a position source that meets the accuracy requirements of ADS-B out. Most Fans STCs offer the option of a relatively low-cost ADS-B out upgrade, which basically involves a transponder upgrade, installation of annunciators and some wiring modifications.