While the FAA mandate to install ADS-B out equipment for aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by Jan. 1, 2020 is more than six years away, aircraft operating in some countries’ airspace must be compliant starting this December. Avionics manufacturers are ready with equipment to meet the mandates and avionics shops and aircraft manufacturers are working on supplemental type certificates (STCs) to smooth the path for upgrades in many business jet types.
Wide Area Augmentation System
Eurocopter obtained the first license in Europe permitting localizer-performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches on a helipad, at its development and production facility in Donauwörth, Germany. The helicopter manufacturer emphasized that such a procedure improves safety in poor visibility, since aircraft can overfly obstacles more safely.
FreeFlight Systems has interfaced its Model 1201 Waas/GPS sensor with the Garmin GTX 330 mode-S transponder to provide an additional 1090-MHz extended-squitter ADS-B Out upgrade solution for GTX 330 owners. The upgrade solution gives aircraft owners more ADS-B Out equipage choices, depending on their aircraft type, existing avionics and flying requirements. It also ensures compliance with the FAA’s Jan.
After several years of anticipation, the planned earth-girdling network of five global navigation satellite system (GNSS) constellations is taking tangible form in space. Two of them–America’s GPS and Russia’s Glonass–are already fully operational. Glonass reached that goal in 2009, joining the pioneering GPS, which achieved that status in the 1980s.
Horizon Air has received FAA approval to fly instrument approaches to required navigation performance (RNP) 0.1 standards in its Bombardier Q400s equipped with Universal Avionics UNS-1Ew flight management systems. The UNS-1Ew Waas/SBAS FMS enables Horizon pilots to fly stable 3-D flight paths to touchdown at airports in the Northwest U.S. that have published RNP approaches, but now to lower RNP 0.1 minimums. Compared to traditional but non-RNP approaches, the RNP approaches have been shown to save time and fuel.
Technicians at Ruag Aviation’s facility in Geneva, Switzerland, have completed the company’s first EASy II avionics upgrade in a Falcon 900EX. The EASy flight deck is based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics system. The EASy II upgrade was done during a scheduled A/A+ check and includes Honeywell’s SmartView synthetic vision system (SVS) with HUD symbology displayed on the PFDs.
Mercy One helicopter emergency medical services at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, one of the first HEMS operators certified to fly Waas low-level IFR routes, including approaches to local hospitals, recently added a second Waas-capable Bell 429 to its fleet. These IFR routes keep helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from mixing in IFR airspace. Three of the hospital helipad approaches are Waas-based while another is an approach to a helipad in Stuart, Iowa, that is used as a rendezvous for helicopters and ground ambulances from surrounding counties.
Eurocopter demonstrated new automated landing procedures relying on Egnos (Europe’s Waas equivalent) satellite guidance. Part of Europe’s Clean Sky research project, the tests were performed on an EC155 medium twin. They showed significant reductions in the helicopter’s perceived sound footprint, the company said. The noise-abatement flightpaths were compatible with IFR operations and can be tailored to local requirements.
Rockwell Collins and Piaggio announced an upgrade program for the Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop. The program, available from Ruag Aviation, allows operators to upgrade their Pro Line 4 avionics to Pro Line 21. The Pro Line 21 P180 cockpit will be equipped with three or four 10-inch by 8-inch LCDs and Rockwell Collins’s Integrated Flight Information System, plus a new FMS and GPS-4000 that enables Waas LPV and space-based augmentation system with vertical guidance approaches.
If ever there was a Comeback Kid in avionics, it would have to be the FAA’s wide area augmentation system (Waas). Heralded by the agency in 1994 as the future Swiss Army knife of navigation, Waas was going to bring greater accuracy and enhanced reliability to the sometimes unpredictable GPS and, in so doing, promised a new era where satellites would replace not only the nation’s NDBs and VORs, but also the more than 600 Category 1 ILS installations in the National Airspace System at the time. Development would cost more than $300 million, and take about four years.