Based on feedback it has received from pilots and operators, the FAA is said to be preparing a number of amendments to an earlier Advisory Circular (AC 120-76) stipulating how so-called electronic flight bags (EFBs) may be used in the cockpit. According to those who attended a meeting hosted by FAA officials in Alexandria, Va., last month, the agency plans to introduce the amendments to the AC in January.
Flight Options, the Cleveland-based provider of fractional-ownership shares in pre-owned business jets, has started to explore the possibility of developing common cockpit layouts across most of its fleet.
Avidyne, the Lincoln, Mass. maker of light airplane avionics, has unveiled a fully integrated cockpit for piston airplanes, turboprops and entry-level jets. The company claims the new system merges cutting-edge technology with low-cost electronics and sensors and promises to “revolutionize” general aviation.
With more and more pilots bidding farewell to paper approach charts and turning to the convenience of handheld flight-deck computers, official word from the FAA stipulating exactly how such devices may be used in the cockpit has been eagerly anticipated by the industry for some time.
Like all high-tech industries, aviation has hardware, software and wetware. The last is a euphemism for the gray matter between a pilot’s ears (or a controller’s, mechanic’s or any other operator’s, for that matter). Over the 10 decades of powered flight, we’ve vastly improved aircraft engines and airframes. In the past two decades or so, computer processors and databases have left their indelible imprint on avionics.
As an ostentatious display of western military might, Farnborough 2002 was viewed as a high-profile terrorist target. Organizers were forced to impose a tight security cordon around the site and the event also featured much of the new-generation security technology that has come to the fore in the wake of September 11.
Following reports of incorrect altitude and airspeed indications by Avidyne Entegra EXP5000 primary flight displays, the FAA last month issued an airworthiness directive requiring cockpit placards and aircraft flight manual/pilot operating handbook limitations until affected displays can be repaired.
The pace of airplane introductions in the first half of the year has bordered
Autopilot maker S-Tec announced last month it has received FAA technical standard order (TSO) authorization for its IntelliFlight 1950 digital flight control system, incorporated as a standard feature in the SmartDeck cockpit from L-3 Communications Avionics Systems in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Avidyne and Southern Star Avionics announced they are collaborating on a certification program to bring the Envision retrofit cockpit to the King Air E90. The companies are pursuing an STC that eventually will add A through E series King Airs to the approved model list. Southern Star recently acquired a King Air E90 to serve as a development platform aircraft, installing an EXP5000 PFD and EX5000 MFD interfaced with an S-Tec 65X autopilot.