Harco general manager Michael Milardo said his company would support the Eclipse EA500–for now. Harco makes the airspeed probes for the compact very light jet. Milardo said his company is planning to participate in the Eclipse Aerospace suppliers conference scheduled for October 27 in Albuquerque, N.M., and will work with Eclipse’s new owners and current aircraft operators.
The FAA today issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on Airbus A330s and A340s that requires replacing certain Thales Avionics pitot probes with certain Goodrich or newer-design Thales probes. The AD requires compliance within 120 days. It intends to prevent airspeed discrepancies, which could lead to disconnect of the autopilot and/or auto-thrust functions and consequent increased pilot workload.
The FAA issued Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) to Aero-Instruments yesterday for a replacement pitot probe that can be installed on the more than 4,500 Airbus A318s through A340s in the field. The new 0851HL-AI pitot probe can replace any or all of the three Thales or Goodrich probes installed on Airbus jetliners, according to Aero-Instruments vice president and general manager Ryan Mifsud.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is continuing its search for a lightweight and affordable low-speed indication and warning device for use in the civil helicopter market. The agency launched the tender in October, citing the need for accurate speed measurement and the poor performance of current pitot tubes.
Aircraft maintenance training provider Global Jet Services has launched its first online training course for maintenance technicians. The course teaches technicians the fundamentals of pitot-static systems and how to use Barfield’s 450 pitot-static test equipment to conduct static/altimeter system tests. It also shows students how to set up the test equipment based on step-by-step procedures, according to Global Jet.
The FAA yesterday issued Airworthiness Directive 2008-19-01 warning that some Harco Labs pitot/angle-of-attack (AOA) probes are causing airspeed disagree caution indications in Eclipse 500 VLJs due to blockage within the pitot/AOA system from freezing condensation. Last year, the FAA issued AD 2007-13-11 because of a similar problem, and Eclipse Aviation issued a service bulletin to address the issue.
GE Druck has introduced a new air-data line-switching unit to make it easier for operators to test their pitot-static systems. The LSU-105 unit uses manually switched color-coded valves to allow crewmembers to connect the test equipment quickly to the aircraft’s pitots. The unit can conduct multiple tests simultaneously to reduce downtime. Each of the four pitot-static channels can be isolated to allow independent instrument testing.
Pilatus Aircraft in Broomfield, Colo., reports that the FAA has certified an avionics package that enables the PC-12 turboprop single to meet the RVSM requirements that will expand to North America and South America on January 20. Included in the package are two Honeywell AM-250 altimeters coupled to the altitude pre-selector and a dual pitot-static system. An RVSM system upgrade is also available for existing PC-12s.
A proposed AD would mandate replacing the pitot probes on nearly 160 U.S.-registered Hawker 800XPs because of reports that they have frozen above FL290, causing erroneous airspeed indications. New probes and their installation would cost about $14,500 per airplane, according to the FAA. Replacement would be required at the next 24-month inspection after the compliance date of the directive. Comments on the proposal are due by November 28.
The NTSB has recommended that the FAA require the air data sensor heating system to activate automatically after engine start in new airplanes certified under Part 25. The recommendation comes in response to two similar events, one in 2002 and one in 2005, in which two Boeing 717-200s experienced gains and losses of altitude and erroneous airspeed indications in flight.