If ever there was a Comeback Kid in avionics, it would have to be the FAA’s wide area augmentation system (Waas). Heralded by the agency in 1994 as the future Swiss Army knife of navigation, Waas was going to bring greater accuracy and enhanced reliability to the sometimes unpredictable GPS and, in so doing, promised a new era where satellites would replace not only the nation’s NDBs and VORs, but also the more than 600 Category 1 ILS installations in the National Airspace System at the time. Development would cost more than $300 million, and take about four years.
Instrument landing system
Rockwell Collins has won separate contracts from China’s Xiamen Airlines and China Southern Airlines involving several of its avionics systems, including its Multi-Scan Threat Detection Radar and GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR).
Century Flight Systems has ramped up autopilot certification activities and recently received STCs for Century 4000 installations in most Piper Cherokees and Saratogas. The company also received STCs for most Cessna 182s as well as the 421B and 421C twins. Prices for the C4000 start at $19,995.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has approved both an RNP approach to an ILS and an RNP AR (authorization required) approach for Zhangjiajie Airport (ZDGY) in southeastern China to help increase its capacity. Surrounded by rugged mountainous terrain, the airport sits in the middle of what the country’s Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (Canso) calls “complex airspace that limits operations at peak hours for both inbound and outbound traffic.”
An Air France A340-300 nearly crashed while on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on March 13 last year because the crew failed to understand the danger cues the aircraft’s flight systems were showing them. The aircraft was already above the recommended altitude for glideslope intercept–with speedbrakes deployed–as it was being vectored for the Runway 8R Cat III ILS at CDG. On low-visibility approaches at CDG, ATC procedures also require aircraft to be slowed to less than 180 knots within 15 miles.
Bill Antwerp of Gaffney, S.C., owns and flies a pristine Bell 407 with a newly installed Cobham HeliSAS stability and augmentation system and autopilot. With another pilot, he flew his helicopter from his home in South Carolina to Las Vegas for Heli-Expo ’13. At his first fuel stop, he texted Jamie Luster, director of sales and marketing of Cobham Avionics in Mineral Wells, Texas, saying, “I love the autopilot.”
Garmin has obtained FAA TSO approval for new VHF com and navcom radios that offer 8.33-kHz frequency spacing, more transmitter power and built-in frequency databases. Shipments of the new GTR (com) and GNC (navcom) series radios began last month, replacing the SL 30 and 40 models, which will eventually cease production. European TSO approval is expected in the first quarter.
There is a new way to learn how to fly with a head-up display (HUD) without booking time in an expensive simulator or trying to learn in the airplane. FlyRealHUDs.com has developed an inexpensive HUD simulator plug-in that runs on the X-Plane personal-computer flight simulator program. The FlyRealHUDs (FRH) plug-in replicates the symbology and flight dynamics of real HUDs and comes in two configurations, for business jets and airliners. (Full disclosure: I was a beta tester of the FRH HUD before its release in late October.)
FlyRealHUDs.com has developed an inexpensive HUD simulator plug-in that runs on the X-Plane flight simulator program. The FlyRealHUDs (FRH) plugin replicates the symbology and flight dynamics of real HUDs and comes in business jet and airliner configurations.
GE Aviation is designing and deploying the first required navigation performance-authorization required (RNP-AR) to instrument landing system (ILS) flight procedure in China for Air China Southwest. The two merged technologies will provide more efficient routing and improved access for flight operations at Xi Chang Airport in south-central China. RNP paths rely on satellite-based navigation technology, not ground-based navigation aids.