Very light jets (VLJs) were the topic of intense discussion at the Corporate, Air Taxi and Personal Jets conference held at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, in March. With the world economy on its knees, the talk was less of VLJs cluttering the skies and more about making the most of a valuable breathing space.
Traffic Collision Avoidance System
Rockwell Collins (Booth No. 1043) is planning updates for its line of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) transponders for business aircraft. The TDR-94D-409, offered primarily as a retrofit solution for the company’s TDR-94/94D transponders which equip more than 15,000 aircraft, is now available to comply with the new ADS-B mandate in Australia and the pending 2009 restrictions in Canada’s Hudson Bay.
The economic downturn is giving manufacturers and operators of very light jets (VLJs) more time to prepare for the airplanes’ widespread entry into service, according to speakers at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s corporate, air taxi and personal jets conference in London on March 18 and 19.
Operational threat identification and risk mitigation remain a primary concern for those who operate internationally. NTSB senior air safety inspector Roger Cox, the lead investigator on the Gol Airlines/ExcelAire Legacy midair, used the accident as an example of why international operators should take the time to fully understand what may be asked of them in less than normal situations in another country.
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has selected Honeywell’s Traffic and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) for its fleet of helicopters. Said Elling Halvorson, chairman of Papillon, “The initial systems will be installed on our EC 130 fleet of 12 helicopters.
Three Eurocopter AS 322 Super Pumas, which Bristow Helicopters (Booth No. 1835) operates from Aberdeen, Scotland, to offshore installations in the North Sea, now carry TCAS II traffic collision avoidance systems, and the operator expects to similarly equip its entire Super Puma fleet by 2010. Bristow announced on Friday that it has designated the Sikorsky S-92 as its next type for TCAS II certification.
The recent increase in fatal helicopter accidents, along with a push by the FAA to standardize the manufacture of helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS), has prompted a number of avionics companies to expand their product offerings and make changes to existing systems.
Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln, Neb. facility recently became the first avionics shop to receive FAA certification for a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 to 21 upgrade in a Dassault Falcon 50EX. The upgrade is part of Duncan’s Glass Box Project series, and the next planned upgrade will be in a Falcon 2000 this year.
As part of an effort to reduce the number of fatal helicopter crashes, safety experts are promoting widespread use of terrain and traffic alert systems that are commonplace in turbine-powered airplanes. Offshore helicopter operator Bristow Group has developed and certified TCAS II (traffic collision avoidance system), a worldwide first for helicopters.
Not surprisingly, there is no “magic bullet” solution to the spate of fatal helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) crashes over the last two years. Rather, investigation documents, released by the NTSB late last week, reveal a complex mosaic of multi-level human and technology failures behind nine of these crashes in the past two years.