On January 25 the NTSB Office of Aviation Safety presented a special investigation report on EMS and helicopter EMS (HEMS) operations, attributing a number of EMS accidents to the safety deficiencies allegedly inherent in the less stringent Part 91 rules, which are in place when no patients or organs are on board. The agency invested 3,500 man hours investigating the 55 most recent accidents, 35 of which occurred without patients aboard.
Terrain awareness and warning system
In the wake of an NTSB recommendation that urges the use of terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) in aeromedical helicopter operations, the technology appears to be getting a closer look from the rotorcraft community.
Duncan Aviation, the Lincoln, Neb. company that specializes in avionics STCs and installations, has prepared a free booklet titled Straight Talk About RVSM (reduced vertical separation minimums). The booklet describes how RVSM implementation affects corporate operators and includes an explanation of regulatory requirements, a list of scheduled implementation dates and answers to a series of frequently asked questions.
Aviation’s first two-in-one traffic and terrain awareness and warning system gained TSO authorization early last month, clearing the way for the first installations of the device, probably in May. Approval of T2CAS, a $170,000 (list price) safety system that combines TCAS 2000 with a class-A TAWS in a single box, represents the first certification of a product from Phoenix-based ACSS, a joint company owned by L-3 Communications and Thales.
Facing a requirement to pay down debt related to its $1.5 billion purchase of TRW Aeronautical Systems late last year, Goodrich has struck a deal to sell its avionics business to New York-based L-3 Communications. Valued at $188 million, the transaction now awaits regulatory approval, understood to be more or less a formality.
Ibis Aerospace selected the FlightLogic synthetic vision system from Chelton Avionics of Boise, Idaho, for its Ae270 a turboprop single, which is scheduled for certification by the end of this year. FlightLogic combines HUD symbology with real-time forward-looking 3-D views of terrain and obstacles, and the so-called highway-in-the-sky concept (in which the pilot flies the airplane on the approach through a series of virtual boxes).
The display systems division of L-3 Communications has unveiled a new 6.5-inch color multifunction display that is designed to interface with TCAS, TAWS, weather radar, moving maps and video. Targeted at the air-transport and business-aircraft markets, the PVI 600 is scheduled for certification and first deliveries late this year.
• Goodrich accepted terms of a licensing agreement with Honeywell to settle a lawsuit in which Honeywell claimed that Goodrich infringed on EGPWS patents. The deal allows Goodrich to continue selling its own TAWS units while paying licensing fees to Honeywell. But Goodrich won’t keep its TAWS units much longer because the company last month agreed to sell its avionics business to L-3 Communications.
In a welcomed shift in policy, business aircraft operators may now forego the STC process when installing class-B terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS). That was the word handed down by the FAA’s certification branch to FSDOs recently, published as a flight standards airworthiness bulletin (FSAW 02-03A) directed to avionics safety inspectors.
Elliott Aviation has received FAA STCs for installing Universal flat-panel integrated displays (FPIDs), Universal TAWS and Collins AHRS in Citation 550/560s. The Universal FPID STC replaces the standard Citation electromechanical or EFIS ADI and HSI flight instruments with Universal EFI-550 five-inch LCD FPIDs. Two-, three- or five-tube installation options are available.