NBAA Convention News

Cobham Highlights Recent Platform Wins

 - October 10, 2011, 3:50 AM
The Skylander SK-105 twin turboprop can be configured for 19 passengers, 2.7 tons of cargo or special missions, including medevac.

Demonstrating its technological range and capabilities, UK-based Cobham (Booth No. C10124) is highlighting recent platform wins by its Commercial Systems business unit. The company will provide an integrated avionics suite for the new Skylander SK-105 utility aircraft, and it has been tapped by Embraer (Booth No. N5132) to provide an advanced flight display system for 14 EMB-312 Tucano trainers being upgraded for the Columbian air force.

Cobham created the Commercial Systems business unit in February by combining its former avionics strategic business unit with the consolidated emergency beacon capabilities of the group. Commercial Systems provides integrated, end-to-end avionics systems for the general aviation, special mission, military training and commercial aviation markets. The company offers avionics systems, including its synthetic-vision electronic flight instrument system­–approved now on 740 fixed-wing and helicopter models–individually or integrated as a cockpit suite.

Earlier this year, the FAA granted supplemental type certification to Cobham’s HeliSAS autopilot and stability augmentation system for the Eurocopter AS350 and EC130 helicopters, and for the Bell 206B, 206L and 407. HeliSAS is a two-axis autopilot that provides precise control during all modes of flight, regardless of wind conditions or shifts in weight.

Engineering firm GECI Aviation of Metz, France, has also selected Cobham to provide the cockpit suite for the high-wing, twin-turboprop Skylander SK-105, planned for certification and first delivery in 2013. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PT6-65B engines, the SK-105 will carry up to 19 passengers or 2.7 tons of cargo. It also can be configured for maritime patrol, paratroop and medevac missions.The flight deck features Cobham’s large-format synthetic-vision flight displays with advanced flight management capability, audio/radio management system, navcom radios and digital autopilot with 3-D autoflight capability and automatic stall/overspeed protection.

GECI Aviation develops, produces and markets twin-engine turboprops, including the Reims-Cessna F406 Caravan II. The Skylander is being developed by subsidiary Sky Aircraft, located at Chambley air base in the Lorraine region of France. At the Paris Air Show in June, GECI Aviation announced a memorandum of understanding with Kan Air of Thailand, a scheduled air carrier and charter operator, for five SK-105s. Two years earlier, at the Paris Air Show in 2009, Trans Asia placed an order for five. Both operators have made downpayments, according to GECI.

The company said more than 30 SK-105s are listed in MoUs signed with operators in countries that include Thailand, Mali and Indonesia. PT Sky Aviation of Jakarta, Indonesia, signed an MoU with Sky Aviation at this year’s Paris show for 10 Skylanders, with 10 options. The UAE “also confirmed the validity of the MoU previously signed for ten Skylander SK-105s,” GECI said.

Production of four Skylander SK-105 prototypes has begun, with first flight of the aircraft planned in June 2012. GECI Aviation has designated approved service centers for the Skylander and F406 in Malaysia, the UK, Namibia and Mali.

Beginning in 2012, Cobham will provide an advanced flight-display system for the Columbian air force Embraer EMB-312 tandem-seat turboprop trainer Tucanos. 

The Cobham integrated avionics suite features large-format synthetic-vision flight displays, integrated hazard alerting and integrated engine displays and master caution system. Growth options include digital autopilot with 3-D autoflight capability, automatic stall/overspeed protection and simulated tactical radar training using virtual scenarios.

“This system will extend the life of Tucanos and provide operational capabilities that are currently unavailable in this class of aircraft,” said Roger Smith, Cobham Commercial Systems general manager in Mineral Wells, Texas. 

In June, Cobham delivered four converted Hawker Beechcraft B350ER King Air special mission aircraft to Ascent Flight Training Ltd., for the UK military flying training system. British Royal Navy and Ascent personnel will use the aircraft to train navy observers prior to beginning operational flight training on Lynx, Merlin and Sea King helicopters.