Thales and StandardAero Successfully Achieve the Industry’s First 4-Axis Autopilot Flight Test for Airbus AS350 and H125 Helicopters

Thales and StandardAero have announced the successful first flight test of a revolutionary compact autopilot system that will bring Airbus AS350 and H125 helicopters into a new era of performance and safety.  The achievement of this key milestone lays the groundwork for this important phase of the Supplemental Type Certification (STC) process and the launch of an unparalleled autopilot solution to the light helicopter market by mid-2021.

Flight testing, which will continue throughout this winter at StandardAero’s Langley, British Columbia, Canada facility, demonstrates Thales’ and StandardAero’s commitment to develop and certify a compact, advanced 4-axis helicopter Autopilot System.  Earlier this year, StandardAero/Thales previously announced that WeatherTech, the well-known automotive accessories company, has agreed to be its launch customer.  The Autopilot will initially be certified for installation on both the Airbus AS350 and H125 helicopter platforms.

“The launch of this flight test program is a key milestone for StandardAero and Thales.  This product combines Thales’ Autopilot experience, based on billions of flight hours accumulated and outstanding customer satisfaction, with StandardAero’s extensive aftermarket capabilities in aircraft modification and certification.  We aim to bring a user-friendly solution offering an unparalleled level of safety and reliability to the light helicopter market,” said Jean-Paul Ebanga, Thales VP of Flight Avionics activities.

The Thales/StandardAero compact autopilot is an intuitive automatic flight control system on the AS350/H125 that increases safety through reduced pilot workload.  It provides stability augmentation, attitude retention and flight director modes such as altitude or heading hold and reduces the risk of aircraft incidents.

“This state-of-the-art, 4-axis autopilot system has been designed as a straightforward retrofit and provides pilots with simplified operation that will help reduce wear and tear on the helicopter while making flying in normal and adverse conditions much easier and safer for the crew and passengers,” said Elvis Moniz, vice president of Product Development for StandardAero’s Helicopters business unit.  “Moreover, with the increase in EMS flying and recent CFIT related helicopter accidents, anything that can help pilots navigate more safely is of paramount interest.” says Moniz.

StandardAero and Thales say they bring complementary expertise to the collaboration. Thales produces the essential components, including the advanced control management systems, four trim actuators, three intelligent linear actuators and the data concentrator/control panel.  StandardAero brings their expertise in aircraft modification and certification, which enables them to manage the detailed design of the mechanical and electrical systems integration. With their comprehensive FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) certification plan, certification approval is expected mid-2021.

Trimec and Chicago Jet Team to Provide G200 Operators NextGen ProLink FANS/CPDLC

Trimec Aviation, a certified FAA Part 145 Repair Station (#18TR248C) and authorized full-service maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility has joined forces with Chicago Jet Group to deliver their NextGen ProLink solution for the Future Navigation System (FANS) Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) for the Gulfstream G200 aircraft. Chicago Jet Group has CPDLC FANS 1/A+ Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) for numerous other business jets and expects to attain the ProLink STC for the G200 in the coming weeks.

John Holland, Trimec Aviation’s general manager commented, “We are excited to be working closely with Mike Mitera and the great team at Chicago Jet Group on this achievement as our relationship goes back many years. We are always looking for ways to help our customers and this package with the Universal Avionics components provides additional CPDLC features as well as an economic alternative for the G200 operators that are now looking to upgrade to FANS,” added Holland.

“This is a culmination of a lot of hard work and we are grateful for John and the Trimec team’s support and expertise along the way,” said Mike Mitera, president of CJG.  “Now we look forward to G200 installations both in Fort Worth and here in Chicago while providing a considerable return on investment to these G200 operators.”

NextGen Pro•Link is the first complete Proline 4 Dual Integrated FMS upgrade for legacy integrated navigation systems.  Universal Avionics provides the foundation avionics components to equip and certify aircraft for Controller-Pilot Data Link including CPDLC-DCL, CPDLC-Enroute, FANS 1/A+, and European ATN B1 (formerly Link 2000+). ProLink customers also gain LPV approach capability as well as CPDLC “Push-to-Load” capability required by the FAA for US domestic use.

Eclipse Synthetic Vision and Autothrottle Kit Available from IS&S

The FAA certified Innovative Solutions & Support’s Synthetic Vision (SVS) installation and Autothrottle Upgrade for the Eclipse Jet, applicable to aircraft with software versions 2.7.8 and 2.7.10.  This installation marks IS&S’s first upgrade directly to Eclipse owners and involves substantial pre-orders.  Eclipse owners now have the benefit of a significant avionics equipment upgrade and ongoing product support directly from their partnership with IS&S.

“IS&S is excited to support the Eclipse Owners and Operators with this Upgrade and greatly appreciates their continued enthusiasm and input,” Tom Grunbeck, IS&S director of Autothrottle Programs commented.

In developing this Eclipse upgrade, IS&S says it prioritized the operational and safety advantages of:

  • Upgrading the Primary flight displays with SVS
  • Enabling autothrottle operation down to approach minimums with improvements in the shutoff switch now being within the pilot’s direct control, instead of on the landing gear select switch
  • Software upgrades that provide improved presentation of performance and situational data displayed on cockpit instruments, as well as on the pilot’s EFB.  They include: Map airspace labeling upgrade, ethernet initialization upgrade, EFB rendering performance upgrade, Fly By/Fly Over logic upgrade, 2.7.8 software upgrade to 2.7.10.

Constant Aviation Secures Transport Canada Validation to Install Pro Line Fusion Upgrade on Canadian-Based Challenger 604s

Constant Aviation’s Bombardier Challenger 604 flight deck upgrade has achieved an international milestone. Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) has validated the supplemental type certificate (STC) for the flight deck upgrade, which replaces the Challenger 604’s factory installed CRT displays with a package of high-resolution Pro Line Fusion touchscreens from Collins Aerospace. With this validation, Constant Aviation is approved to install the upgrade on Canadian-registered aircraft. It is also the first step toward further international growth for the program, which is on track to be validated by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) later this year.

“Transport Canada validation opens up an important market for the Challenger 604 Pro Line Fusion upgrade,” said David Davies, Constant Aviation CEO. “There are more than 20 Challenger 604 aircraft registered in Canada, and their operators now have access to an unmatched avionics solution that modernizes these aircraft for many more years of use. Based on the response we have seen since launching this program in the United States, we expect Canadian-based operators will move quickly to install the Pro Line Fusion package on their Challenger 604 aircraft.”

Constant Aviation has completed 25 Pro Line Fusion installations on United States-registered Challenger 604s since the program began in 2018, and it will induct three more in the coming months. The MRO expects that 15 percent of the Challenger 604s in use across the U.S. will receive this upgrade by mid-2021.

Challenger 604 operators are choosing the Pro Line Fusion system for its multiple benefits. Most noticeably, Pro Line Fusion’s three widescreen displays provide 35 percent more glass than the aircraft’s stock CRT displays. This enhances data presentation for pilots and provides exceptional situational awareness. The package also comes with NextGen communications technologies like Synthetic Vision, Data Link, ADS-B Out, WAAS/LPV, and the option to add Safe Flight AutoPower and FANS-1/A. These technologies are essential for future operations of the Challenger 604 worldwide, and they can greatly improve the aircraft’s resale value.

“One important element about the Pro Line Fusion package is that it is future-proof,” said Blake Hogge, director of Avionics Sales for Constant Aviation. “The open and scalable architecture is designed to comply with all foreseeable regulatory mandates and technological evolutions. This gives operators peace of mind that their asset–the aircraft–will better retain its value in the long-term. U.S.-based operators have recognized how important this is for the future of their organizations, and we are excited to bring the same benefits to Canadian aircraft.”

Rolls-Royce Launches New Electronics Manufacturing Capability at Purdue University

Rolls-Royce has created new engine controls capability near the campus of Purdue University to support the company’s U.S. defense business, including the F130 engine competing for the U.S. Air Force B-52 program. The high-tech controllers, about the size of a laptop computer, are safety-critical technical components that reduce pilot workload and enhance fuel efficiency.

Rolls-Royce will assemble and test electronic engine controllers. The first controller has been completed at Rolls-Royce in the Purdue Research Foundation’s Discovery Park District adjacent to the Purdue campus at West Lafayette, Indiana, and will be installed onto a Rolls-Royce AE 3007H engine, manufactured at the company’s facilities in Indianapolis, U.S.

“Rolls-Royce has partnered with Purdue University for decades and we are excited to launch our new controls capability on campus to assemble and test these high-tech engine components,” Tom Bell, Rolls-Royce, president – Defense and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America, said.  “Whether for the Rolls-Royce AE family of engines or for our competitive F130 engine for the B-52, these new controllers will support U.S. military pilots as they fly around the world, offering the highest-quality technical product.”

Purdue University has been designated as a Rolls-Royce University Technology Partnership and collaborated on research including advanced engine technology, materials and testing capability with Rolls-Royce investment at the university topping $18 million since 2015 and more than 600 Purdue graduates among the company’s workforce in Indianapolis. Rolls-Royce and Purdue have also collaborated on initiatives in cybersecurity and digital technology, as well as the new controls project.

The facility at Purdue will also assemble electronic controllers for Rolls-Royce F130 engines for the Air Force B-52 strategic bomber re-engining program, if the company wins the engine competition later this year.

Millennium International Avionics Announces Enhanced Support For GE/Smiths MCDU

Millennium International Avionics announced the availability of a new program dedicated to operators utilizing GE/Smiths Multipurpose Control Display Units (MCDUs). Aimed at reducing overall cost of ownership and extending useful life of this equipment, Millennium is now offering an engineered repair with upgraded subassembly component parts including repair using brand new LCD Screen, LED Backlight Assembly and more robust Keyboard with Backlit LED buttons, allowing units to be repaired instead of the expensive alternative of complete replacement.

Millennium International can repair or overhaul your MCDU with several options for subassembly parts including repair using brand new LCD Screen, which replaces the previous obsolete LCD, yielding an alternative to upgrading to the new, more expensive models.

Also available is a new, more durable LED Backlit Keyboard that includes improved liquid impingement protection and a more rugged design to protect against pen strikes.

Finally, a redesigned Backlight Assembly can be installed with upgraded LED lighting.  This replaces the previous CCFL bulb and effectively reduces operating temperatures, thus extending LCD screen life.

These repairs can be completed separately or in combination with one another and in lieu of the costly replacement of the entire unit, while still extending the life of the complete unit. A 5-year warranty is available if the LCD screen and LED Backlight are repaired together, otherwise a 2-year warranty is provided.

“Our approach to engineering capability has been focused on providing the operator options to mitigate avionics obsolescence, thereby reducing overall cost of ownership. Our long-term relationships with legacy manufacturers and suppliers allow us to provide unparalleled support to our customers which extends far beyond original OEM support.” said Claude Peoples, senior vice president.

Duncan Aviation Completes Citation 680 STC For Gogo Biz AVANCE L5

Duncan Aviation’s Engineering and Certification Department has completed a full-equipment Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of the Gogo Business Aviation AVANCE L5 in-flight Internet and Wi-Fi system in Cessna Citation 680 aircraft. This is the seventh STC Duncan Aviation has completed for the system, and it covers the Wi-Fi certification and full equipment and antenna installation required to provide in-flight connectivity to the Gogo Biz 4G network.

This latest STC, completed at the company’s Battle Creek, Michigan, facility, adds the Citation 680 to the growing list of aircraft makes/models for which Duncan Aviation has created STCs. That list includes the following:

  • Global Express, XRS, 6000
  • Global 5000
  • Challenger CL-650, CL-605, CL-604,  CL-601-3A and CL-601-3R
  • Challenger 300, 350
  • Gulfstream GIV, G300, G400
  • Gulfstream GIV-X, G350, G450
  • Falcon 900
  • Falcon 900EX (EX, EASy, LX, DX)
  • Falcon 2000
  • Falcon 2000EX (EX, EASy, LX, DX, LXS, S)

The Duncan Aviation says their STCs have been used for more than 180 installations of the Gogo AVANCE L5 Wi-Fi system.

Gogo AVANCE L5 connects to the Gogo Biz 4G network, providing faster speeds and enhanced network capacity, enabling activities such as live streaming video and audio, video conferencing, on-demand movies, personal smartphone use, real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support while in flight.

Demand remains strong for in-flight connectivity options, and Duncan Aviation has installed the Gogo AVANCE L5 Wi-Fi system in more than 65 aircraft at its three main facilities (Battle Creek, Michigan; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Provo, Utah). Additionally, the technicians at several of the company’s 28 avionics Satellite Shops and workaway stations have also installed these reliable, flexible Wi-Fi systems.

Duncan Aviation has applied for and received Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) approval for all of the models previously mentioned, and the company is awaiting TCCA approval on the Citation 680.

Elliott Aviation Announces Special Pricing for Pro Line 21 Modernization Through July

Elliott Aviation has announced special pricing for Pro Line 21 Modernization packages through July 31st, 2020. The special pricing is available for customers that submit a signed quote and deposit by July 31st, 2020 with work to be completed by December 31st, 2020.

This special deal is in addition to the new lower cost options that are available for Pro Line 21 operators, Elliott says. These lower cost options allow for owners to benefit from upgrades like WAAS/LPV, upgraded FMS to 4.2, and new software without having to pay for ADS-B or synthetic vision. Pro Line 21 Modernization is available for Pro Line 21 equipped King Airs, Premiers, and Hawkers.

Elliott says they have completed more installations of Pro Line 21 Modernization than any other dealer and average one upgrade every month. In addition, they are an Authorized Service Facility for King Air, Premier, and Hawker.

“As we lead the industry in Pro Line 21 Modernization, we wanted to extend special pricing to customers that haven’t yet made the decision to upgrade,” said Conrad Theisen, director of Avionics Sales at Elliott Aviation. “Combined with the new cost-effective options for Pro Line 21 Modernization, this special pricing now makes it more affordable than ever to upgrade a legacy Pro Line 21 system.”

Pro Line 21 Modernization upgrades can be completed at Elliott Aviation’s facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. Elliott Aviation also has one-stop-shop maintenance, avionics, paint, interior, and accessories capabilities at their headquarters in Moline, IL.

Aerospace Tech Week Call for Papers Open

The 2021 Aerospace Tech Week Organizing Committees are inviting abstracts for consideration for inclusion in the conference for the following topics:

– AVIONICS
– CONNECTED AICRAFT
– FLIGHT OPS IT
– MRO IT
– AEROSPACE TESTING
– FACE

Aerospace Tech Week will take place on 25th-26th March 2021 in Toulouse, France and is the premier annual gathering of aerospace technology professionals to discuss and develop systems and solutions for international airlines, avionics, aerospace testing, flight ops and MRO communities in the commercial and defence aerospace sector

If you are interested, you are invited by the conference committee to submit your abstract for consideration at www.aerospacetechweek.com/call-for-papers

#aerospace #avionics #connectedaircraft #aerotesting #aerospacetesting #flightopsit #mroit #face #atw