Barco glass graces A380, PC-21

Paris Air Show » 2005
December 12, 2006, 10:30 AM

Airbus and Pilatus have selected Barco’s latest glass cockpit for their respective A380 superjumbo and PC-21 training aircraft. The Belgian avionics company is also working on several air traffic control projects involving its display technology.

For the A380, Barco will develop and produce advanced onboard maintenance terminals and terminal processing units. The deal, signed with France’s Safran (the new Snecma/Sagem alliance), could bring $37 million over the lifetime of the A380 program.

A sophisticated PC, Barco’s maintenance terminal allows the A380 cockpit crew to use all normal PC functions and access maintenance applications that supervise the aircraft’s avionics health status. Crews can consult the information on a high-resolution, 15-inch active matrix liquid crystal display (LCD) that performs well in a bright cockpit environment. Integrated into the cockpit design, the terminal uses a limited amount of space.

A powerful processing unit with an integrated general purpose Pentium class processor, the newly developed terminal processing unit provides an independent platform developed to host airline-specific applications such as flight schedules, electronic mail and policy documents. It will show all information on the bright 12-inch LCD of the aircraft’s onboard information terminal.

This terminal combines a 12-inch LCD with a user-friendly desk and additional input device. Operators will use the information terminal for online consultation of maintenance manuals, security procedures, back-up applications and other vital information.

Each A380 will contain two of Barco’s terminal processing units, two onboard information terminals and one onboard maintenance terminal. These will serve as an important part of the aircraft’s larger network server system, under development by Safran.

Pilatus Aircraft said it is pleased with the performance of Barco’s avionics displays and the extended support during the hardware and software development phase. Barco managed the complete development process of the PC-21’s cockpit visualization.

“During our flight-test campaign, Pilatus found it of utmost importance to be able to fine-tune the man-machine interfaces of the displays. Barco has exceeded all our expectations in that respect, enabling us to meet a very stringent schedule,” said Ulrich Gehling, PC-21 program manager at Pilatus.

Six 6-by-8-inch displays graced the PC-21 during its flight test program. Barco’s new display versions with XGA resolution served as primary flight and navigation displays. Barco also has integrated the dedicated software into its displays, designed for easy adaptation to many different aircraft configurations through simple configuration files and program pins.

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