The repair service agreement between Avidyne and Lincoln, Neb-based Duncan Aviation has been extended to include Avidyne’s EX500 series of multifunction displays (MFD). Under the terms of the agreement, Duncan Aviation will be the worldwide repair center for Avidyne’s EX500 series of multifunction displays. Duncan Aviation is now the exclusive provider of repair services for Avidyne customers using the EX500 as well as its first-generation flight situation displays (FSD) and early-model FlightMax MFDs.
It could have happened to any two professional pilots flying a nonprecision approach, in darkness, into weather that turned out to be worse than they expected after a night of back-side-of-the-clock flying. But the NTSB’s September 9 hearing into the Aug. 14, 2013 crash of UPS Flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600, on approach to Birmingham, Ala. (BHM), proved that even crews flying heavy jets can lose situational awareness and get just as far behind on nonprecision approach as King Air crews, especially when a handful of other factors also come into play.
I pulled the Eclipse 550’s throttles back and allowed the jet to slow down. The autopilot and autothrottles were turned off, but as we neared the stall, an audio alert sounded (“STALL”), the autothrottles kicked in and automatically advanced power to maximum continuous thrust and the airspeed climbed back to a safe level as I simultaneously unloaded the wings. After leveling off, I reset the throttles and resumed normal cruise speed.
On the heels of statements of dissatisfaction by senior U.S. Air Force officials about the current delay of more than two years in producing the critical Mission Data Unit (MDU) of the DOD’s future GPS III satellite program, the USAF issued a Sources Sought ultimatum to GPS III contractor Lockheed Martin and its subcontractor Excelis. Such a declaration–essentially advising the contractor to improve performance and indicating that the agency is investigating other sources for the work–was a bombshell event for the aerospace community.
Garmin flew a Beechjet 400A with a G5000 integrated flight deck for the first time on September 16 at New Century AirCenter near the company’s Olathe, Kan. headquarters, the avionics maker announced yesterday. The successful 63-minute flight marked a “significant step” towards completion of the Garmin G5000 upgrade for the Beechjet 400A/400XP.
Russian Helicopters and Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies have started testing the Mi-171A2 helicopter with KBO-17 avionics. The first flights of the upgraded Mi-171 will take place in Moscow. The medium-twin helicopter features a five-display suite and an obstacle warning system. With the new system, the required crew is reduced to two. Certification, once slated for this year, has been postponed to 2015.
UPS is making a series of safety enhancements in the aftermath of the September 9 NTSB hearing into the crash of UPS Flight 1354 at Birmingham, Ala., in August last year.
The NTSB will hold a free one-day forum to review current technological advancements to flight data recorders and aircraft locators. The preliminary agenda for the meeting, called “Emerging Flight Data and Locator Technology,” was posted last week. The session will focus on equipment in use while also exploring new technologies in development and determining what issues relating to policy, industry standards and technical limitations need to be addressed.
Satellite-based surveillance developer Aireon will provide a free emergency tracking system for aircraft when the satellite constellation it will use is launched and operating, as expected, in 2017. Aireon announced the service on September 22, saying the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 earlier this year makes global emergency tracking “essential.”
Aireon’s surveillance system will use automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receivers contained as hosted payloads on new Iridium Next satellites to send position reports to subscribing air navigation service providers over oceanic and remote regions of the Earth beyond radar coverage. Iridium plans to launch the second-generation constellation of 66 low-Earth-orbit satellites between 2015 and 2017.
The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking service, branded as “Aireon Alert,” will be provided “as a public service to the aviation community, free of charge,” the company said. Operating from a 24-hour emergency call center, it will provide authorized search-and-rescue organizations with the location and last flight track of any 1090-MHz ADS-B transponder-equipped aircraft flying in airspace without other surveillance. Airlines will not have to equip with new avionics.
“The existing gaps in surveillance, particularly in cases of lost aircraft, became abundantly clear this past year,” said John Crichton, president and CEO of Nav Canada, an Aireon joint-venture partner. “The tragic disappearance of Flight MH370 prompted worldwide urgency to look for solutions. Aireon’s response amounts to a global public service, offering Aireon Alert universally with no fee.”
Aireon is a joint venture of Iridium Communications and ANSPs Nav Canada, Italy’s ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority and Denmark’s Naviair. Nav Canada will acquire a 51-percent interest in the venture by late 2017.
A competing ADS-B-based surveillance system is also progressing. Earlier this month, ADS-B Technologies and satellite communications provider Globalstar announced the completion of the latest flight demonstration of its space-based ADS-B Link Augmentation System (ALAS), tracking a round-trip flight between Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The test “marked the first time that a flight demonstration tested a dual-link (1090 MHz and Universal Access Transceiver) space-based ADS-B system in all environments and for extended periods of time,” the companies said. “The flight proved that the 1090ES and UAT versions of the ALAS technology work continuously, reporting the aircraft’s position every second during a flight of nearly 7,000 miles.”
The European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA)–which operates and maintains Egnos, Europe’s Waas equivalent–and Eurocontrol signed a new cooperation agreement yesterday under which they will jointly implement European satellite navigation policies in the aviation sector. The move will set the stage for the EU to evolve its air traffic management infrastructure from one based primarily on ground-based systems to a more satellite-based system, improving accessibility, efficiency and safety for European operators, pilots and airports.
- Page 1