As Airbus considers an A320-replacement to compete against prospective single-aisle models from Boeing and emerging challengers from Russia and Asia, it is also looking at technologies that could contribute to even longer-term designs in a program dubbed “A30X.” Mindful that modern jetliners are expected to have working lives of at least 40 years, chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said Airbus needs “future technology for future
Thales Aerospace is following Embraer’s lead in researching single-crew airliners as part of a program called Cockpit 3.0, which is targeted for the 2030 time frame. Embraer has indicated an interest in an airliner that can be flown with a single pilot, instead of conventional two-pilot crews.
Eurocopter last month released the first photo of the actual cockpit of the EC175 medium twin. Previously, only mockups were shown and the prototype doors were kept almost closed during its official introduction on December 17 last year.
Thales is leading a research project toward what might be the ultimate in avionics displays–a single-display flight deck. Envisioned are curved surfaces, multi-touch screens and enhanced configuration flexibility. The French avionics specialist and its research partners want to create a more intuitive, pilot-centered man-machine interface.
MD Helicopters is expected to begin offering a glass cockpit for new MD500 series beginning next month. United Rotorcraft Solutions is finishing flight testing on the STC it is developing for MD. United president David Brigham said the STC will also be offered as a retrofit for existing 500s through MD’s repair station in Mesa and through his company. He estimates installation time to be two to three weeks.
While directed at the airlines, the FAA’s call yesterday for operators to create and enforce policies that will limit distractions in the cockpit and keep pilots focused on transporting passengers safely also applies to the business aviation world. “There is no room for distraction when your job is to get people safely to their destinations,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.
Single-engine airplanes equipped with glass cockpits had no better overall safety record than airplanes with conventional instrumentation, but had a higher fatal accident rate, the NTSB found in a safety study released last month. The Safety Board determined that because glass cockpits are complex and vary from aircraft
Before Eclipse Aviation declared bankruptcy and ended production of the Eclipse 500 in late 2008, the company manufactured about 260 of the very light twinjets.
Of these, some 30 were equipped with Avio NG avionics. At press time, seven aircraft had been upgraded for full flight-into-known-icing (FIKI) and Avio NG 1.5 avionics. It’s fair to assume that eventually all of the remaining “NG airplanes” will be upgraded.
Humans beware. Computers want your job, and considering that they’re smarter, better looking and will work for no pay, they’ll probably get it someday. For professional pilots that could mean preparing for the day when the captain is a software app and you’re just along for the ride.
Appareo Systems (Booth No. 3128) is developing a variety of new flight data monitoring (FDM) systems for both aftermarket and OEM installations. The company has received STC approval for its Alerts Vision 1000 system on the Eurocopter AS350B1-3.