Thales is adding four new functions to the TopDeck avionics suite it has developed for Sikorsky’s new S-76D. The initial version of the cockpit will complete certification in the next few months, ahead of the helicopter’s anticipated approval by the end of 2011, and additional options should be ready for service-entry next year.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
Sikorsky’s new S-76D is the latest application for the Vigor health usage and management system (HUMS) developed by Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems division.
Kaman and Lockheed Martin continue to expand the missions being flown by the unmanned K-Max helicopter at the Army’s Yuma, Ariz., Proving Ground. The helicopter recently made multiple guided airdrops at 10,000 feet msl. The 16 payloads airdropped included medical equipment, food, simulated leaflets and bulk cargo and were programmed by the GPS-guided Joint Precision Delivery System (JPADS) or triggered from a remote ground control station.
While the general aviation industry has suffered recently, demand for GA products and services will continue to grow, paced by new business jets and light sport aircraft, the FAA told attendees at its annual aerospace forecast.
"Business aviation shows signs of rebounding," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "And weπre projecting growth in general aviation sectors, particularly in the jet and light sport aircraft sectors."
For those who manage the nation’s airports, the message coming out of their annual Washington Legislative Conference last month was one of gloom and doom.
Speakers warned attendees that House Republicans’ pledge to slash more than $32 billion from agency budgets over the next few months could affect everything from NextGen ATC modernization to the Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
Making good on promises of quick action on long-delayed FAA authorization, the Senate passed its "FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act" on February 17, with the House Transportation Committee approved is version of FAA reauthorization legislation a day earlier. The bill must now go to the House for a full vote.
Last week, Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) Calvin Scovel III, along with an MIT representative and an FAA vice president, gave separate testimony on NextGen status before the House subcommittee on space and aeronautics.
Prospects for breaking the logjam that has stalled an FAA reauthorization bill for more than three years grew better with passage in the Senate of the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act on Thursday by a vote of 87-8. Meanwhile, one day earlier in the lower chamber, the House Transportation Committee approved its FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 by a vote of 34 to 25 one day earlier.
Although the FAA and JetBlue signed a $4.2 million “NextGen agreement” whereby the agency will fund installation of ADS-B avionics in up to 35 of the airlineπs Airbus A320s, it doesn’t appear that new legislation moving through Congress will contain funds for NextGen avionics equipage for other stakeholders.
The FAA is forecasting a recovery for general aviation, with business jets and light sport aircraft leading the way. After growing rapidly for most of the past decade, the demand for business jets has slowed over the past few years.