Eclipse Aviation rang in the New Year by announcing that it produced and certified 103 Eclipse 500s last year, and the manufacturer delivered all but a handful of these very light jets before the ball dropped in Times Square on Monday night.
Attitude and Heading Reference Systems
Erickson Air-Crane is giving its star heavy lifter, the S-64 Aircrane, a makeover. The company is gradually retrofitting the 19 aircraft in its fleet with new-generation cockpit displays, attitude/heading reference systems (AHRS) and three-axis autopilots.
Garmin last week received FAA STC approval to install G1000 avionics retrofits in the Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90A/GT. The installation results in a weight saving of approximately 100 pounds. Notably, this is Garmin’s first G1000 retrofit STC, and it paves the way for future G1000 retrofit installations such as the King Air 200 and B200, a program Garmin announced in September at the NBAA Convention.
Chelton Flight Systems’ air data and attitude heading reference system (ADAHRS) has been added as an approved sensor on the FlightLogic EFIS supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Bell 206 and 407. Chelton’s ADAHRS is designed for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. The system interprets information from the pitot-static system and an outside air temperature probe to generate altitude, vertical speed, airspeed and air temperature.
When I was shopping for an affordable (that means “old”) Bonanza, one of the mods that I really wanted was a “center stack” panel. V-tails of my vintage came from the factory with 1950s automobile-style panels. All the heading, attitude, airspeed and altitude data was there, but you had to hunt for it and then pull it all together in your mind’s eye.
Elliott Aviation has received FAA STCs for installing Universal flat-panel integrated displays (FPIDs), Universal TAWS and Collins AHRS in Citation 550/560s. The Universal FPID STC replaces the standard Citation electromechanical or EFIS ADI and HSI flight instruments with Universal EFI-550 five-inch LCD FPIDs. Two-, three- or five-tube installation options are available.
Bell Helicopter selected Chelton Flight Systems to provide a glass cockpit for the company’s light single-engine helicopters. The Chelton cockpit will be available from Bell for the Model 407 beginning in the first quarter of 2007. Until then, Bell 407, 206 and 210 owners can upgrade their existing aircraft to synthetic vision through Bell installation facilities or Chelton’s dealer network.
BAE Systems is out and a number of new suppliers are in, according to Eclipse Aviation officials, who announced the signing of long-term contracts with six additional vendors for the avionics and digital automatic flight controls on the Eclipse 500 after reshuffling the original supplier team.
Today pilots who have an inertial navigation system coupled with an advanced GPS aboard their airplanes are considered to be at the upper end of the profession, while the rest of us bumble along with just a plain vanilla GPS–maybe with a WAAS upgrade–and a couple of VORs plus one, maybe two, DMEs. But tomorrow might be different.
No doubt many pilots have been asking themselves lately how Garmin has possibly managed to develop an integrated glass cockpit for the Cessna Citation Mustang business jet that will also fly aboard a variety of light piston singles. Can the avionics in a $2.3 million twinjet really be the cousin of an integrated avionics package that costs the same as the equipment it replaces in a Cessna Skylane?