Eight percent of 230 respondents to a recent AINonline survey admitted they would descend below instrument landing minimums without having visual contact with the runway in a non-emergency situation.
Among avionics manufacturers, there are two philosophies at work, the so-called “head-up, head-down” debate. This has devolved into cockpits equipped with head-up displays (HUD) and those with traditional head-down displays (flat-panel LCD pilot flight and multifunction displays) and no HUD. Head-up means the pilot can continue looking out the windshield while viewing flight guidance information on the HUD, through touchdown. Head-down means viewing information on the instrument panel, then looking through the windshield during touchdown.
FAA Order JO 7110.65 is the manual–some call it the “ATC bible”–that air traffic controllers turn to for guidance about ATC procedures and phraseology. Last week, the Agency updated a few procedures to reflect a change in thinking about speeds and aircraft separation.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) last week released its investigation report (A09Q0203) and recommendations derived from the December 2009 crash of a charter Beech King Air A100 while on approach to Quebec’s Chicoutimi/St-Honoré Aerodrome (CYRC).
The benefits of synthetic vision are available for operators of the Pilatus PC-12 NG. The Honeywell Primus Apex flight deck in the PC-12 NG is designed for single-engine turboprops through light jets, and now with SmartView synthetic vision added, Apex offers the sophistication and utility of Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics found in much larger aircraft such as the Gulfstream G650 and Dassault Falcon 900EX EASy II.
Now that the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics system is certified and in service, pilots who enjoy the benefits of flying with a head-up display (HUD) gain a new feature on the HUD, synthetic vision. The first business jets with HUD synthetic-vision systems (SVS) are Bombardier’s Global 5000/6000.
As Boeing 787 deliveries ramp up, Asian airlines that are to receive a total of more than 240 Dreamliners will be able to take advantage of a unique capability afforded by the Rockwell Collins HGS-6000 head-up guidance system. All of these 787s will be equipped with dual HGS as standard configuration, with a full system available in front of each pilot to use for enhanced situational awareness and safety.
The FAA has issued a proposed plan to transition the national airspace system (NAS) to a performance-based navigation system that relies on GPS and “area navigation everywhere and required navigation performance where beneficial,” instead of defining airways, routes and procedures using VORs and other legacy navaids. A minimum operational network of VORs and an “optimized network” of DMEs would be retained, and this drawdown would be complete by Jan. 1, 2020.
The FAA does not want pilots to use Apple’s iPad tablet computer for navigation. Yet pilots are using the iPad and the many moving-map applications available for the device to navigate and view approach plates, Sids and Stars, en route and sectional charts, aircraft documents and a lot more.
Despite all the fits and starts, NextGen in the U.S. will eventually affect business aircraft operators, although perhaps not on the schedule that the FAA currently espouses. It is not too soon to start considering the impact of NextGen on business aviation and how it will drive equipment requirements.