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.
About 30 TAG Aviation pilots have made the switch from paper to electrons, replacing the Jeppesen approach chart binders in their business jet cockpits with small, lightweight Fujitsu touch-screen computers.
As business on a global scale reaches unprecedented levels, more business aircraft customers are demanding that their office in the sky offer the same capability as their office on the ground.
What began as a clever idea by two former Eclipse Aviation engineers culminated last month with TSO approval for Aspen Avionics’ Evolution Pilot and Pro primary flight displays. Shipments of the EFD1000 Pilot product started on March 31, and will be followed this month by the market introduction of the Pro version.
Nearly two out of three pilots do not believe guns should be carried in the cockpit, according to an informal survey done recently by NBAA. At last count, nearly 55 respondents shot down the idea for various reasons–ranging from the risk of critically damaging the aircraft to accidentally shooting an innocent person. About 20 respondents thought it was a good idea (although just one admitted to currently carrying guns in the cockpit).