The combination of GPS position, digital communications networks and the Internet has made possible–and affordable–a variety of products and services for continuous real-time tracking of aircraft fleets by dispatchers on the ground. Nowhere has such capability been more eagerly accepted than in the realm of helicopter flight operations, many of which are now using data-link services to keep close tabs on their aircraft at all times.
While EGNOS, SBAS, GBAS and Galileo may be unfamiliar to most North American aviators, they are key elements in Europe’s determined move to a satellite air traffic control environment. Addressing the FAA’s satellite operations implementation team meeting in December, Eurocontrol officials reported on progress toward their vision of
In the last couple of years the concept of portable cockpit computers has caught on in a big way. Not only can such devices be used to cut pilot workload, they also have been shown to help corporate flight departments and airlines shave costs and reduce aircraft weight by replacing reams of paper approach chart binders with slim handheld PCs.
Northern Airborne Technology, a British Columbia-based subsidiary of the Chelton Group, last month introduced a lightweight satcom system that routes calls through the Globalstar network of 48 low-earth-orbit satellites. The system consists of the STX100 transceiver, PTA12 dialer/adapter and a Globalstar antenna, and provides coverage over about 80 percent of the earth, including polar regions and some mid-oceanic regions.
Wichita-based Spirent Systems last month announced that the FAA awarded its latest aircraft file server–a PC running the Windows NT operating system–an STC and parts manufacturing approval. Developed primarily for use by major and regional airlines, the computer server is capable of hosting a variety of airline-specific software applications, the company said.
The FAA has certified an IFR WAAS receiver developed by UPS Aviation Technologies, the key ingredient in a forthcoming line of satellite navigation equipment from the Salem, Ore. avionics maker.
Honeywell last month purchased the assets of cabin avionics specialist Baker Electronics. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. John Uczekaj, Honeywell executive vice president and general manager for business, regional and general aviation avionics, said the business is being renamed Honeywell Cabin Management Systems and Services.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has begun an “informal” investigation into Raytheon’s accounting practices, primarily related to the timing of revenue recognition at the company’s aircraft unit–and specifically its regional airliners.
A system that robotically inspects the skin and immediate interior structures of an aircraft–which has been likened to an MRI of the human body–is catching the attention of the aviation industry, including the Defense Department, at least one fractional-ownership provider and safety agencies.
Crest Foam Industries of Moonachie, N.J., which has been installing its explosion-suppressant arresting foam in the fuel tanks of racing cars and military aircraft (including USAF Beechjets) for years, has formed a joint venture–Engineering Inerting Systems–with Aircraft Services Group of Ramsey, N.J., to market the foam for business aircraft.