Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’ll know that barely a day passes without news that some nifty new method of accessing the Internet has been developed, not to mention a bushel full of cool new ideas about what to do once you’re online.
Some three months after an enthusiastic announcement, cabin-entertainment specialist Airshow of Tustin, Calif., and low-cost satellite data provider GlobalStar have halted development of high-speed airborne Internet services in light of GlobalStar’s increasingly desperate financial situation.
The October announcement by Raytheon that it had won a Department of Defense contract–potentially worth $25 million–to develop next-generation anti-jamming systems for GPS underlines security specialists’ concern that GPS is now “an attractive target” for terrorists.
Navstar, the official U.S. Air Force program moniker for the constellation of satellites most of us refer to simply as GPS, has undergone a multitude of technical changes and upgrades in the nearly 30 years since a group of military and civil engineers first sat down in the Pentagon to talk about the far-reaching precision navigation concept.
In conducting a survey about the RDR-4000 weather radar, Honeywell safety specialist Dr. Ratan Khatwa asked more than 50 ATP-rated pilots about their experience with weather radar. The average age of the respondents was 52 years; the average flight time was 12,500 hours. The answers these experienced pilots provided were illuminating.
Radar manufacturers should consider making equipment easier to use and displays easier to interpret, Honeywell safety specialist Dr. Ratan Khatwa told attendees
at this year’s Flight Safety Foundation European Aviation Safety Seminar, held in Bucharest. He added that better weather-radar training can improve pilots’ awareness and decision-making skills and help them avoid penetrating severe meteorological conditions.
Flight Display Systems of Alpharetta, Ga., last month won a long-anticipated FAA STC for Ellipse TV, a product that takes a commercial-off-the-shelf satellite television antenna normally found atop SUVs, mobile homes and yachts and makes it available for installation on business jets.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association expressed “grave concern” about the Federal Communications Commission’s decision last month authorizing operation of certain types of products to incorporate ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. UWB devices, such as automotive radar and communications systems, would be authorized to operate in the same frequency spectrum used for GPS navigation.
A Lufthansa Boeing 737 recently became the first aircraft to use Mode S capability to transmit its radar identification (flight ID), without the use of secondary surveillance radar (SSR) code. Rod Marten, who oversees mode-S operations at Eurocontrol, said that air traffic controllers typically assign a four-digit SSR code to a target on the radar screen then manually correlate the aircraft information with the electronic flight plan data.
California firm Vishay Intertechnology (Booth No. 1914) has introduced a wireless aircraft-weighing system that can be used for monitoring center of gravity, performing weight checks after an airframe repair and providing weight calculations for the purpose of design-proving.