Boeing continues to add utility to its BBJ series corporate jets, and the latest effort is the addition of enhanced vision system (EVS) capability to the BBJ’s head-up display (HUD). To add safety to BBJ operations, however, Boeing is also working on delivering the EVS display on one of the Honeywell LCDs on the instrument panel, so the first officer can see the same EVS picture that the pilot sees on the HUD.
An Australian coroner inquiry into the death of the pilot and seven passengers on board a King Air 200 that crashed in September 2000 has adjourned the hearing until July to gather further evidence. The aircraft had departed for a 300-nm trip to Leonora, a small mining town northeast of Perth, where it was based.
Nearly two years after the FBI effectively closed down air-taxi operator Sunjet Aviation, the federal criminal investigation into the October 1999 crash of a Learjet 35 that killed pro golfer Payne Stewart and five others has ended with no charges against Sunjet, the now-defunct company that operated the airplane, or its former chief pilot, Jim Watkins.
Altitude chamber training is now being offered by MedAire at Arizona State University. The Tempe, Ariz.-based medical emergency response firm said the stand-alone, five- to six-hour course–available on demand–costs $995 per person and covers physiology, hypoxia, oxygen systems, altitude sickness and the physical effects of flight and decompression.
Early next year Boeing will offer a kit for BBJs and BBJ2s that will provide a 6,500-ft cabin at FL 410 instead of the standard 8,000-ft cabin. The kit, which can be installed on green and in-service BBJs, is expected to cost less than $100,000. Components include new cabin-pressure-controller boxes with revised software, a new cabin-altitude indicator and two pressure-relief valves.
Gulfstream 100s, Astra SPXs and 1125 Westwinds are the latest business jet models to be the subject of an AD as a result of the FAA’s special certification review (SCR) of all pressurized airplanes after the October 1999 Payne Stewart Learjet 35 crash and several other incidents and accidents attributed to suspected oxygen deprivation.
For aviators and their passengers, oxygen means life at the high altitudes traversed by modern aircraft. True high-altitude passenger flight wasn’t really practicable until large-cabin pressurization was introduced during the halcyon days of aeronautical development surrounding World War II, most notably aboard the Boeing 307 Stratoliner and Lockheed Constellation transports and Boeing B-29 bomber.
Steecon Enterprises has developed a bulkhead swinging door. The door is hinged at the top and bottom, and the door frame houses the motorized activation assembly. The door is activated by the push of a button (on the floor or door frame), remains open long enough for the user to pass through and then closes automatically. A resistance disengage switch ensures that the user cannot be trapped when the door closes.
The business aviation industry is on a constant quest to create a more comfortable cabin environment for the traveler, but only in the past several years have aircraft manufacturers tackled the nagging issue of cabin altitude and its physiological effects, and with some success.
An optional kit for BBJs that will provide a 6,500-foot cabin at FL410 instead of the current 8,000-foot cabin is going through the FAA approval process now and will not be available until mid-year, according to Boeing. The company announced at last year’s NBAA Convention that the kit would be available early this year.