Situational awareness is fundamental to safe flight. Cockpit instruments can provide precise indications of an airplane’s position and trajectory, but once the world outside grows too dark, cloudy or foggy to see, pilots must rely on the safety margins built into IFR procedures to maintain safe separation from the ground.
Reacting to last September’s fatal collision of an Embraer Legacy and Boeing 737 over the Amazon jungle, the NTSB yesterday called for improved certification standards for traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS). The Safety Board wants pilots to receive clearer warning messages when the TCAS has stopped functioning.
Pilatus PC-12, Bellefonte, Pa., March 26, 2005–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash of the PC-12 on an ILS approach to University Park Airport, State College, Pa., was the pilot’s failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and spin. Factors also included the pilot’s failure to follow procedures/directives and clouds.
The obstacle clearance panel (OCP), a group of experts in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is designing more suitable IFR procedures for helicopters, taking advantage of new navigation equipment. Under the proposed rules, scheduled to take effect in the fall of next year, precision guidance on low-level routes to so-called points in space will become common.
Garmin is encroaching on rival Avidyne’s turf with the announcement last month that the G1000 avionics system will be offered as optional equipment in the Piper Saratoga II TC and 6X.
Cessna last month was close to certifying a software update for the Citation Mustang’s G1000 avionics system after avionics maker Garmin in February uncovered a programming glitch. The problem is causing course deviation errors and a loss of some navigation cues on the map display when the pilot attempts to load a new arrival or departure procedure without deleting a previously loaded procedure.
JetTech of Littleton, Colo., last month announced it has received an STC for an RVSM kit for pre-275 serial number Cessna Citation 500s equipped with Bendix autopilots. The kit, said to be the only one of its kind, includes two Honeywell digital altimeters, an air-data interface unit, pitot-static plumbing and wiring harnesses.
The Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated display system (IDS) has been certified in a Piaggio Avanti at Jet Works in Denton, Texas, according to the avionics maker. The LCD display suite brings electronic charts and graphical weather capability to the airplane through the Collins IFIS (integrated flight information system) file server.
While FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and GA industry leaders wrangled over aviation user fees and taxes at the Aircraft Electronics Association’s 50th annual convention, avionics makers and dealers got down to the business of discussing new products and market opportunities.
By the middle of last month, Eclipse Aviation had delivered two airplanes to individual owners and three to air-taxi operator DayJet, which is using its airplanes for pilot training. DayJet plans to certify installation of a stand-alone attitude indicator to make its first airplanes Part 135 compliant until Eclipse receives certification for a third ADAHRS.