It’s a David-and-Goliath story, but lately it has been getting tougher to tell just who’s the Goliath.
Chelton Flight Systems of Boise, Idaho, has received FAA approval for installation of its FlightLogic synthetic-vision EFIS in helicopters. The approval was accomplished as part of the FAA’s Alaska Capstone program with support from the agency’s rotorcraft directorate in Fort Worth, Texas. The initial STC installation was performed by Hillsboro Aviation in Hillsboro, Ore., in a Bell JetRanger operated by the company in charter service.
Garmin late last month announced a deal to buy UPS Aviation Technologies, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, for $38 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close this quarter, after which UPS Aviation Technologies will change its name to Garmin AT.
One of the least welcome rites of passage for copilots is the routine chore of updating the company’s flight operations documents, with Jeppesen manuals probably at the top (or the bottom, if you prefer) of the list. And the post-9/11 flood of TFRs hasn’t made the task any easier.
Buoyed by the success of its three-year ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) operational evaluation project, named Capstone and centered on Bethel in western Alaska, the FAA plans next year to increase the number of participants and to implement a second, broadly similar project centered on Juneau, Alaska.
March 3 is the final date by which the user community can file its comments on the FAA’s Oct. 1, 2007, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the agency’s $2+ billion transition plan to the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system.
TCAS has done a remarkable job of helping pilots avoid midair collisions, providing a last line of defense in those all-too-common instances when two aircraft are racing toward a single point in the sky at precisely the same moment.
You’ve truly made it in aviation when your accomplishments are included among the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s collection of historic firsts. That’s the prestigious accolade recently bestowed on developers of the Alaska Capstone Program, whose activities are chronicled as part of an exhibit devoted to ATC.
In 1999, Motorola’s ill-starred Iridium satcom venture declared bankruptcy and was on the verge of maneuvering the service’s 66 satellites to burn up in the atmosphere. Today, officials at the re-established satcom operation are promoting the company’s rapidly growing customer base and line of service offerings.
Flight and navigation technology can help pilots see and avoid threats, simplify cockpit management and know their situation and parameters with precision. The future may advance all of these capabilities, though not always for the original reasons.