Making modern any older aircraft cockpits.
You can teach any ‘old dog’ business aircraft many ‘new tricks’ with an avionics transplant of digital- flat-panel displays in a panel upgrade that replaces the old analog instruments.
Those displays deliver all the indications of the old dials and needles as well as data not necessarily available to the crew from the original instrumentation. Attitude indication- gyro compass direction- yaw readout- as well as airspeed- altitude- vertical speed and change rates for all are common to today’s modern digital displays.
Indeed- these indications come together on one screen instead of being spread around the panel in at least six different instruments… and since old instruments don’t cover everything available on these new computer-like screens- pilots benefit from more useful information combined on a single display.
For example- the Primary Flight Display (PFD) – which provides air data- attitude and direction indications – may also portray terrain with top-down or out-the-window perspectives. Traffic- lightning and obstruction data are also available on many new systems.
Additionally- the modern Multifunction Display (MFD) provides a home for moving maps- live weather radar and other hazard-awareness data- as well as serving as a back-up display for the PFD.
In addition to the greater awareness the pilots gain from the added graphic portrayal- the operator also usually enjoys the lower recurring maintenance costs that come with modern- solid-state panels.
Let’s not forget- either- that the aircraft itself will typically gain in resale value as a direct result of its new panel- further enhancing the benefits of the investment to accompany the tax incentives of asset depreciation.
Probably the biggest downside will be initial costs- (prices can range from the high five figures for some systems common on cabin-class piston twins and propjets- to seven figures for higher-end equipment with four to six screens installed in a business jet). But for an operator otherwise perfectly happy with the existing business aircraft- a panel upgrade can extend the useful life of the plane in much the same way as engine and interior upgrades.
No- it doesn’t save fuel – not directly- anyway but the financial benefits can stack up through the crew’s improved ability to better navigate; to better deal with inclement weather; and to keep the aircraft on the flightline for longer periods without shop time.
A simple conversation with your mechanic or a friendly vendor can reveal whether there are upgrades available for older jets and propjets- but for the purpose of illustration- here are a few examples of what we mean- to pique your interest.
Through a partnership with Garrett Aviation- Rockwell Collins is marketing its IDS-3000 system on the Cessna Citation 501. The IDS-3000 system is an integrated display retrofit package that includes active-matrix LCDs- Weather Radar and Integrated Flight Information System (IFIS) that includes JeppView- and Graphical Weather.
For operators interested more in updating their flight and navigation instruments than an all-new panel- the IDS-3000 offers a deal considerably less expensive than the approximate $2 million tab for a major Pro Line 21 panel package that includes both a new avionics suite and flight-control hardware.
After launching the Pro Line 21 Continuum avionics system a few years ago as a major cockpit refurbishment- the company more recently has introduced the IDS-3000 package that replaces displays and other components- but leaves the original autopilot intact at a significant savings in total costs.
With three modern active-matrix liquid-crystal displays- the IDS-3000 provides the WXR848 weather radar- cursor controls and integrated flight information server (IFIS). With the IFIS installed behind the displays- pilots can pull up charts and approach plates on the system’s multi-function display.
The launch application for IDS-3000 was Cessna’s Citation 500 series airframes- with additional certifications of IDS-3000 for the Hawker 800; Falcon 50 and 20 series aircraft; the IAI Astras; and Learjet 55 as possible follow-up platforms.
The IDS-3000 delivers all the most-desirable benefits- among them lower ownership and maintenance costs- fast installation- as well as the ability to upgrade to new capabilities that can include electronic charts- weather datalink- enhanced moving maps and more- through the IFIS cockpit file server.
More information from www.rockwellcollins.com
Retrofit that modernizes King Airs- Astras and more The hardware is from Universal Avionics- and the hard work from Duncan Aviation’s Installation Team which boasts a long history of enhancement programs under the Glass Box Project. This time Duncan Aviation's team in Battle Creek- Michigan performed the STC for the retrofit avionics package for the Beech King Air 300 as well as the installation- testing and approval for Universal Avionics’ EFI-890R retrofit system. The STC will be altered to include the King Air 200 and King Air 350.
This impressive package- covered by the STC- includes both two- and three-display systems employing Universal’s large-format 8.9-inch active matrix LCD screens as the display. Duncan Aviation will add even more value to the package by including Universal Avionics Vision One Synthetic Vision system as soon as it receives FAA certification.
Among other LCD certifications- Duncan Aviation's Glass Box Project recently certified and installed Rockwell Collins’ IDS-3000 retrofit cockpit and IFIS file server on an IAI 1125 Astra at its facility in Lincoln- Nebraska. The STC covers both Astra and Astra SP airframes. The Astra installation uses three 8-by-10 inch active-matrix LCD displays- two of them as PFDs and the third as an MFD.
The Rockwell Collins IFIS hardware package brings with it the ability for the crew to receive and display graphic weather-radar images as well as Jeppesen’s navigation charts and approach plates on the displays.
Just over three months ago- Elliott Aviation- based in Moline- Illinois- began updating Citation 650 models with Universal’s EFI-890R Flat Panel Integrated Displays. An 890R PFD replaces the pilot-side instruments so that airspeed indicator- altimeter- IVSI- HSI- ADI and turn coordinator appear together in one large screen. An 890R Navigational Display (ND) replaces the existing radar indicator and serves as a back-up PFD- as well as displaying FMS super maps- TAWS- TCAS- Stormscope- real-time Nexrad weather and synthetic vision. A second 890R PFD is installed for the co-pilot’s side of the panel.
In addition- Elliott Aviation is offering the same Universal 890R package in the Falcon 10/100 and recently introduced the Citation 500/501/551/550/S550/560 series aircraft. Elliott offers several STC packages for the Hawker 700A business jet employing the Pro Line 21 Continuum package in that retrofit. The various STCs available include a five-display FDS-2000- Mark VIII EGPWS to meet the TAWS mandate- TCAS-4000- and AHC-3000 AHRS.
Other programs at Elliott include Universal Avionics flat panel products for the King 200/300/350 propjet airframes; an update for the Lear 35 employing up to four Universal EFI-550 flat panel displays and Universal TAWS displayed on an MFD-640; and a Falcon 10 panel-update program with STCs for TCAS-4000- Universal TAWS and RVSM.
More information from www.elliottaviation.com
Stevens Aviation is currently developing a STC to upgrade the avionics suite in King Air aircraft equipped with Honeywell’s Bendix-King KFC 400 autopilot systems.
The KFC 400 autopilot system in the King Air series aircraft features an early generation EFIS which Stevens believes does not meet the reliability expectations of most operators- so to improve reliability the company is currently developing a STC to upgrade the avionics suite- by replacing this EFIS system with the Universal EFI-890R advanced large format display system.
If optioned with Universal TAWS- Vision 1 and UNS-1L FMS- this Stevens Aviation upgrade will not only offer King Air operators the benefits of superb graphics and the ability to interface with digital and/or analog avionics equipment that come with the EFI-890R- but also the ability to display a dynamic- three dimensional situational profile terrain image integrated with the flight plan and projected flight path of the aircraft in two modes: the aircraft's flight path and terrain viewed from above- behind and to the right of the aircraft; and the aircraft's flight path and terrain viewed from the windshield In addition this Stevens modification will have the added benefit of reducing aircraft empty weight Stevens Aviation also says that currently there is not a RVSM solution for KFC 400 equipped King Airs. Therefore- to enable King Air operators the benefit of RVSM airspace Stevens is currently developing a RVSM solution utilizing state of the art Kollsman Air Data computers.
More information from www.stevensaviation.com