The new breed of very light jets (VLJs) now under development could turn out to be the biggest catalyst for business aviation growth since Bill Lear’s halcyon days in Wichita. But with cost, reliability and ease of use foremost in the minds of VLJ developers, the digital cockpit systems in these pintsize business jets of tomorrow will be unlike anything most pilots have seen.
Electronic Flight Instrument System
Chelton Flight Systems has received FAA STC approval to install its FlightLogic synthetic-vision EFIS in several models of the Eurocopter AS 350 AStar and AS 355 TwinStar and the Bell 407.
Honeywell is on the verge of gaining FAA certification approval for retrofit versions of its Primus Epic integrated avionics suite. Targeting older medium and heavy business jets, Primus Epic CDS/R (control display system/retrofit) has been developed to transform steam-gauge-driven dinosaurs into state-of-the-art hot rods capable of meeting airspace operating requirements for the next decade or more.
Chelton Flight Systems’ air data and attitude heading reference system (ADAHRS) has been added as an approved sensor on the FlightLogic EFIS supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Bell 206 and 407. Chelton’s ADAHRS is designed for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. The system interprets information from the pitot-static system and an outside air temperature probe to generate altitude, vertical speed, airspeed and air temperature.
Garmin named three additional OEM platforms for its G1000 avionics system, in the Cessna Caravan, Socata TBM 850 and under-development PiperJet. Cessna announced at the show that it is making the G1000 standard equipment in the Caravan starting in the first half of next year. The upgrade will be brought to all current production Caravan models.
The annual avionics trade show hosted by the Aircraft Electronics Association is a good place to get the lowdown on emerging industry trends and try out the latest cockpit and cabin gear from an array of manufacturers and suppliers.
“What makes our system unique is that it is based on a simple personal computer network that ties all of the components together,” Mike Altman, CEO of Mather, Calif.-based Precision Flight Controls, told AIN. “That allows it to be a cost-effective jet trainer. Depending on the exact configuration, the price ranges from about $125,000 to $150,000.”
Honeywell projects it will receive certification of an RVSM-compliance package for early Cessna Citation 500s by the end of October, a delay of about four months. Honeywell attributes the postponement to deciding to expand the package to include Citations with both OEM and non-OEM mods, such as the Long Wing and Eagle modified Citations.
An investigation into problems with the quality of flight-data recorder information has led the NTSB to recommend modifications to FDR processing systems on several regional jet models and to ask the FAA to survey all aircraft models with FDRs to ensure that all required information is being processed.
Elliott Aviation has received FAA STCs for installing Universal flat-panel integrated displays (FPIDs), Universal TAWS and Collins AHRS in Citation 550/560s. The Universal FPID STC replaces the standard Citation electromechanical or EFIS ADI and HSI flight instruments with Universal EFI-550 five-inch LCD FPIDs. Two-, three- or five-tube installation options are available.