On the eve of AirVenture 2014, Avidyne announced the long-awaited FAA certification of the touchscreen IFD540 FMS/GPS/navcom. Not only did Avidyne gain FAA technical standard order (TSO) certification, but also an approved model list supplemental type certificate (AML-STC) that allows for installation of the IFD540 in more than 1,000 aircraft makes and models.
On the eve of EAA AirVenture 2014, Garmin unveiled a major software upgrade to its GTN series navigators, new devices for the Connext wireless cockpit communications system, a new WireAware wire-strike avoidance feature for obstacle databases and new seven-inch touchscreen displays in the G3X experimental avionics line. All are being demonstrated at the Garmin exhibit (Booth 4089, Hangar D).
New AirVenture exhibitor Aero Glass (Hangar A, Booth 1110) is developing an augmented reality environment that will allow pilots to “see” terrain, navigation, ADS-B traffic, weather and airspace constraints on wearable devices such as Google Glass, Epson Moverio and other head-mounted type displays. The company is seeking beta testers to help refine the software’s features. The first 200 to sign up will receive a lifetime license for the Aero Glass program; the company also is offering special discounts on the devices during the show.
Solar-powered aircraft could offer a low-cost way to train future pilots, if the partners developing the Sun Flyer succeed in their ambitious plans. A technology demonstrator–a PC-Aero Elektra One–for the Sun Flyer solar-powered airplane made its first flight earlier this month in Munich, Germany, and can be seen at EAA AirVenture 2014 at the Redbird Flight Simulations display (Booth 320). While the Elektra One technology demonstrator didn’t fly with solar panels, the panels will be installed on the Elektra that is on display at AirVenture.
Testing the U.S. Army conducted in June proved that equipping an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for an airborne electronic attack role is “technically and tactically feasible.” The service will continue experimenting with the system, although it has no immediate plans to field it on a UAS.
MD Helicopters (MDHI) has selected Precision Aviation Services (PAS) of Peachtree City, Georgia to be an Authorized MD Helicopters Service Center. PAS is approved to provide factory authorized service, including airframe maintenance, component overhaul parts and accessories sales, including parts and labor for warranty replacements. The approval covers MD 900/902 Explorer helicopters and 500- and 600-series helicopters, the complete line manufactured by MDHI.
Bombardier Aerospace recently completed a non-temperature-restricted bleedless auxiliary power unit starting test, following a 10-hour cold soak at -40 degrees F and using a starter/generation system and lithium-ion battery system. The Safran Microturbo e-APU system included a starter generator and power electronics from Thales and a Saft Li-ion battery system. The prototype equipment was designed for business jets, Bombardier said. The tests were conducted at the Safran Turbomeca cold-chamber facility in Pau, France.
An Australian company has created a cockpit lighting system that might also solve the persistent issue of pilot spatial disorientation.
With current technology a pilot must first recognize disorientation using the attitude indicator and other supporting flight instruments. The Go Light, which has received provisional patent approval, is a system of cockpit lights that gives pilots a constant reference point of the horizon in their peripheral vision.
The number of U.S. helicopter accidents dropped 17 percent during the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to data from the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). From January through the end of June this year, there were 62 civil helicopter accidents compared with 75 during the same period last year. During the first six months of this year, nine helicopter accidents resulted in 15 fatalities, compared with 18 fatal accidents that resulted in 41 fatalities during last year’s first half.
Canadian air navigation service provider Nav Canada says the number of monthly controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) contacts in domestic airspace has grown 10-fold since September 2012. At that time the monthly tally was about 7,000, but by May this year it had reached 76,000. National adoption of CPDLC was completed in April this year when the Toronto center began employing the text-based communications system.