Common BizAv Cockpit Upgrades: Collins Pro Line Fusion

Ken Elliott explores different pathways for common business aircraft cockpit upgrades, this month reviewing the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion retrofit.

Ken Elliott  |  19th February 2024
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    Ken Elliott
    Ken Elliott

    Ken Elliott is a veteran with 52 years of aviation experience, focussed on avionics in General and Business...

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    Gulfstream G280 Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics retrofit

    Collins Aerospace caters for most of Business Aviation’s avionics requirements. The company currently offers two cockpit display upgrades – the Pro Line 21 and Pro Line Fusion.

    These new flat panel diplays are interdependent on remote aircraft systems to provide crucial phases of flight information to the flight crew. A retrofit will include the displays, baseline equipment, and optional features that may add further avionics.

    There are several differences between a Collins Pro Line 21 and Pro Line Fusion panel, the main one being that the latter includes touchscreen capability.

    Both the Pro Line 21 and Fusion are offered via aircraft centric programs which apply to specific makes and models of aircraft where the systems are installed via a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC).

    Major Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) shops offer solutions tailored to these aircraft which they are able to fully maintain and support. An MRO can be either a service division of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or a third party center.

    When developing its Pro Line Fusion STC program, Collins invested in its effort, enabling it to share the STC with its authorized dealers. Those dealers can therefore competitively offer the STC solution to their loyal customers, broadening the overall base for potential sales.

    As an example, the Bombardier Challenger 604 Pro Line Fusion STC program was developed as a collaborative partnership between Bombardier Aerospace, Nextant Aerospace and Collins. However, popular MRO centers such as Duncan Aviation, West Star Aviation, Standard Aero, and others can bid and integrate from the same playbook, contributing to a similar customer experience and outcome.

    Pro Line Fusion Upgrade: Working With a Service Provider

    If you are considering a Pro Line Fusion upgrade, your preferred MRO center will either provide a baseline quotation with itemized options, or interview you to provide a comprehensive bid that includes the options you have pre-selected.

    The retrofit bid may include a trade-in value for existing displays and some remote avionics.

    Over and above any bid, you should budget for database subscriptions, any continued airworthiness service programs (in this case Collins CASP), and the use of a service provider (such as ARINC) for the facilitation of flight services. These will be included in the aircraft’s operating costs, once the aircraft re-enters service after the retrofit completion.

    The modern cockpit includes many different features and capabilities that can be overwhelming to less experienced aircraft buyers. Articles like this are naturally limited in their scope, listing avionics and features, yet are unable to fully describe the substance of each.

    Readers should note baseline and optional avionics, additional services and general comments. Armed with this skeletal information, aircraft owners or potential buyers can contact their preferred service center with some level of Pro Line Fusion upgrade familiarity.

    Above all, this article should encourage the tough questions, provide insight into the complexities of Pro Line Fusion equipage, and provide awareness of available options that could have been easily overlooked.

    Be aware that when quoting for a Fusion upgrade, service centers may include caveats that can dramatically alter pricing and downtime. Aircraft of the same type can be equipped the same, but at different levels of hardware or software by serial number.

    The MRO shop will require some existing avionics to be a specific part number or status level to ensure compatibility with the Pro Line Fusion STC package. In some cases the required equipment may not be present, and must therefore be installed at additional time and cost.

    To mitigate surprises, keep good records and provide easy access to all the documentation on your aircraft at the time of the estimate and for engineering, well ahead of the retrofit time slot.

    In the current climate of procurement delays, skilled labor shortages, and limited hangar space, getting the upgrade specifications right will be key to avoiding the surprise of unanticipated extras.

    Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion Upgrade Basics

    To read about the Collins Pro Line Fusion upgrade basics, continue reading this article in the AvBuyer digital edition by clicking the button below…

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