At 11:35 p.m. on July 1, two transport-category aircraft collided over the northern shore of Lake Constance near the town of Ueberlingen, Germany, at the Swiss border. Sixty-nine passengers and crew aboard a Tupolev Tu-154M owned and operated by Bashkirian Airlines (BAC) were killed when it collided with DHL Flight 611, a scheduled cargo flight in a Boeing 757-200 freighter. The two DHL pilots, the only occupants onboard, were also killed.
Honeywell’s patent infringement lawsuit against the makers of terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS), filed on May 10 in U.S. District Court in Delaware, has stirred a hornet’s nest of criticism by top executives from companies named in the suit.
Statistically, if you want to avoid aircraft accidents, stay away from airports. Fortunately, at least for the runway-incursion portion of the problem, there’s a more practical option on the horizon from Amphitech International.
Honeywell introduced two new collision avoidance and ground proximity warning systems intended for light to medium turbines airplanes. Both the KTA 970 TCAS I and KMH 980 TCAS I/Class B TAWS are TSO’d and capable of tracking up to 60 aircraft and displaying as many as 30 aircraft at ranges up to 40 nm. The KTA 970 lists for $25,752 and the KMH 980 lists for $32,992. The new units are designed to interface with standard EFIS and TCAS displays.
An enhancement to Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) that aids pilots at unfamiliar airports in reduced visibility will be a factory option on most EGPWS-equipped Cessna Citations.
Rival avionics manufacturers are about to get their day in court. Jury selection in the patent trial involving Honeywell and competing makers of terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) began October 31 in Wilmington, Del., and will be followed by opening arguments in the case starting on November 3.
Aviation Communications and Surveillance Systems (ACSS) inked an agreement with Airbus to certify the Phoenix avionics maker’s T3CAS product in all Airbus single-aisle (A318/319/320/321) and long-range (A330/A340) airplanes. T3CAS is an integrated system that combines traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) with terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) capability and a mode-S transponder in a single line-replaceable unit.
Warning that the number of very light jets (VLJ) in European airspace is about to soar, Eurocontrol is considering a requirement for turbine-powered airplanes weighing less than 12,500 pounds to carry traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS). Officials say that adding VLJs into Europe’s increasingly crowded mix of airliners and large business jets could be a prescription for disaster.
The crash of a Mercy Flight King Air 200 on Feb. 6, 2007, near Bozeman, Mont., is believed to be the first CFIT (controlled flight into terrain) loss of a civil turbine-powered airplane equipped with an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).
TCAS has done a remarkable job of helping pilots avoid midair collisions, providing a last line of defense in those all-too-common instances when two aircraft are racing toward a single point in the sky at precisely the same moment.