Airbus is Developing a New Enhanced Flight Vision System Option for A320s

September 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Airbus is Developing a New Enhanced Flight Vision System Option for A320s   
Airbus is Developing a New Enhanced Flight Vision System Option for A320s

Airbus has selected an enhanced vision system sensor from Collins Aerospace as part of an enhanced flight vision system that they’re developing as an option for A320s. (Collins Aerospace)

Airbus is developing a new enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) for its A320 family of aircraft, that will eventually be adapted to other models, representatives from the aircraft manufacturer’s headquarters in Toulouse have confirmed with Avionics International.

Development of the new system took a step forward in August, with the selection of a next-generation enhanced vision sensor to be supplied to Airbus by Collins Aerospace. The EFVS currently under development consists of the sensor, a multi-special camera system, head-up display (HUD), and cockpit controls, and eventually could be adapted to other Airbus aircraft models in addition to the A320.

Thales will be supplying the HUD where the vision system image symbology will be displayed, with Airbus handling integration into the A320.

“The EVS sensor will be part of a more global EFVS concept of operations that will be optional for A320 models on top of the Head-Up Display (HUD) option already available for all Airbus aircraft. This EFVS capability may be deployed on other Airbus aircraft. Airbus has planned to offer EFVS on production aircraft but also to propose a retrofit solution for in-service aircraft,” a representative for Airbus told Avionics.

The introduction of the new system as an option for A320s marks the latest advancement in vision systems and cockpit display development at Airbus. The A320’s first head-up display system was certified in 2005 in a single configuration, and 10 years later in 2015 in a dual configuration. Several years later, a harmonized primary flight display that allows head-up display symbology to be displayed on a primary flight display—or head-down display—achieved regulatory certification in 2018.

Civil aviation regulatory policy updates over the last decade have also provided incentives for more business and commercial operators to consider adopting EFVS technology, including the EFVS rule FAR 91.176 first enacted by the FAA in December 2016 that allowed business jet pilots to start using EFVS to land their aircraft down to touchdown and rollout. Other more recent regulatory developments from the FAA have also signaled that this was the right time for Airbus to introduce a new vision system option for airlines flying the A320.

“National authorities such as CAAC or FAA, are regularly issuing new documentation related to the use of Vision systems. CAAC issued a HUD Roadmap mentioning EFVS in 2012. FAA has just drafted [Advisory Circular] AC 20-167B which provides guidance for gaining airworthiness approval of EFVS. More and more customers are interested in Vision systems and new technology like EFVS. Airbus has considered it is the right moment to launch EFVS development,” the representative for Airbus said.

Airbus will introduce the new EFVS as an option for in-production A320 cockpits, such as the one pictured here. (Airbus)

FAA’s publishing of AC 20-167B notes that the guidance developed by the agency for installing an EFVS is primarily intended for Part 25 aircraft, although it is also applicable to Part 23, 27, and 29 category aircraft. While the new guidance is awaiting publicly submitted comments, the agency is also encouraging EFVS installation applicants to “propose alternative methods to their Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) to integrate new and novel safety-enhancing vision system functions into their aircraft.”

The agency defines an EFVS as an installed aircraft system that uses a “HUD or equivalent display to present aircraft information, flight symbology and electronic real-time sensor image of the forward external scene.”

Operationally, the use of the new vision system could provide several navigation enhancements to A320 pilots.

“Flying with EFVS will provide greatly improved situational awareness for pilots. During night approaches, the system will allow the flight crew to better perceive potential threats like obstacles, terrain, and airport environment. Together with the HUD symbology, it will give additional confidence to the crew about their aiming point,” the representative for Airbus said. “On top, EFVS function will provide operational credit to airlines by enabling flight crew to dispatch, start the approach and land in visibility that would usually prevent the operation. EFVS will actually be used as a supplement to the pilot vision by providing landing reference cues where pilots cannot see with their eyes.”

In an Aug. 10 press release announcing the Airbus selection of its EVS sensor for the A320, Collins Aerospace describes how the sensor will be mounted on the nose of the aircraft and use multiple infrared and visible light cameras to create an augmented reality view of the outside world. Night visual meteorological conditions as well as lateral alignment on the runway are among other navigation improvements noted by Collins.

“Airbus operators who adopt EFVS will enjoy a competitive advantage that directly translates into improved on-time performance, operational cost and fuel savings,” Dave Nieuwsma, president of avionics for Collins Aerospace said in the release.

Airbus has not yet provided a timeline or indicated when the EFVS system will become available for in-production A320s, however, Airbus plans to reveal more information about their vision systems technological roadmap during the upcoming Aerospace Tech Week event in Toulouse.

The post Airbus is Developing a New Enhanced Flight Vision System Option for A320s appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Urban Aeronautics Raises $10 Million for Wingless Air Taxi CityHawk

September 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Urban Aeronautics Raises $10 Million for Wingless Air Taxi CityHawk   
Urban Aeronautics Raises $10 Million for Wingless Air Taxi CityHawk

Urban Aeronautics is developing a wingless air taxi dubbed CityHawk. (Urban Aeronautics)

Urban Aeronautics has raised $10 million toward the company’s next funding round for its wingless air taxi concept, CityHawk, the company announced on Sept. 14. 

The funding comes on the heels of a successful test flight of the company’s demonstrator aircraft in July. 

“This is kind of the first step within the $100 million round that we’re raising,” Haran Ben-Eliahou, vice president of business development, told Aviation Today. “We’re working with financial institutions and banks to be able to raise these funds…The next funding round that we just took the very first step on will allow us not only ramp up in terms of engineering and marketing and finding the right partners but also start building the first prototypes.” 

The CityHawk is an aircraft without wings. It uses a full-enclosed fancraft rotor system to fly. Urban Aeronautics is betting that this unique design will lend well to the aircraft’s intended purpose of being used for city transit or emergency response transport. 

“There’s a very unique characteristic to the design because it doesn’t have the wings or the exposed rotors, and in that respect, we really feel that this is the right tool to fly into cities,” Ben-Eliahou said. “When you bring in all of the limitations of size and places where vehicles could land, if you really want to bring that promise to save people time, you need to bring them closer to their final destination…The small form factor with the safety characteristic of our vehicle can allow this to bring the promise. This is what goes into this unique design. This is why it, it looks like it looks, and it will fly like nothing else.” 

Urban Aeronautics CityHawk will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell developed by HyPoint.

The CityHawk will also not be following the electric air taxi route and instead be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Urban Aeronautics has partnered with Hypoint to develop this technology. Ben-Eliahou said the decision to go with hydrogen was made because they believe batteries will not provide enough power for their weight capacity. 

“When we look at the future and we understand the possibilities of going into an urban environment, you have to go away from combustion engines or jet fuel engines into electric vehicles,” Ben-Eliahou said. “For us, batteries are not sufficient in power compared to the weight. So, the vehicle just won’t take off if you put the necessary batteries for the power needs. In aviation, as you know, everything is about you give away some weight in turn to gain some more performance and you always play with this challenge. Hydrogen just gives you a greater promise in terms of range and ease of use…it’s just the next generation of aviation fuel for large aircraft and also small.” 

Urban Aeronautics is currently testing its aircraft with a jet engine but will begin testing with a hydrogen fuel cell in 2022, Ben-Eliahou said. The company is planning to have its first production-ready prototypes by 2024. 

The post Urban Aeronautics Raises $10 Million for Wingless Air Taxi CityHawk appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Air Wisconsin Airlines to Upgrade CRJ Fleet with Envoy Data Link System

September 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Air Wisconsin Airlines to Upgrade CRJ Fleet with Envoy Data Link System   
Air Wisconsin Airlines to Upgrade CRJ Fleet with Envoy Data Link System

Air Wisconsin is upgrading its Bombardier CRJ fleet to the Spectralux Avionics’ Envoy data link system. (Spectralux Avionics)

Air Wisconsin Airlines, the regional subsidiary of United Airlines, will install the Envoy data link system onboard it’s fleet of Bombardier CRJ aircraft, under a new deal that includes ongoing co-development activities that have already been for product life cycle support.

Envoy is a digital data link communications system consisting of three integrated avionics modules, including a communications management unit, VHF data radio, and multipurpose display. Developed by Redmond, Washington-based aircraft systems supplier Spectralux Avionics, a unique aspect of Envoy is its dual-stack data link capability, which means it is compatible with both the communications mediums for domestic Controller to Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) data link in European airspace—Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) Link 2000+—and the Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS) 1/A architecture used by the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.

Now, a year after the FAA issued Technical Standard Order (TSO) approval for Envoy, Air Wisconsin will deploy Envoy across its CRJ fleet. The airline became the launch customer for Spectralux’s previous-generation data link communications system, the Dlink+.

“The Spectralux Dlink+ system has served our airline exceptionally well,” Bob Frisch, Air Wisconsin’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement. “We now look forward to implementing the latest Spectralux product to further improve our operational efficiency and analytics of CRJ operations in North America.”

Air Wisconsin operates a fleet of 64 Bombardier CRJ aircraft. (Air Wisconsin)

Spectralux has also included a directional A739 interface that allows it to display and control a separate avionics module that can be displayed and controlled by a separate multifunctional display. According to the company’s description of the technology, Envoy is also capable of wirelessly broadcasting stored aircraft system data and messages, “transmitted at specific intervals and received by an application running on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone.”

Upgrading to the Envoy system for Air Wisconsin will mean its pilots can keep taking advantage of the FAA’s Data Comm program, which is now operational at a total of 55 U.S. airports and 62 total air traffic control (ATC) towers. Data Comm services are also operational at three Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs), including Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Washington. The deployment schedule for the remaining 17 ARTCCs was put on hold due to COVID-19 and is being re-planned.

“Air Wisconsin continues to be a valued customer for Spectralux, and we appreciate the continued confidence they have in our data link products,” said Spectralux CEO Elwood Hertzog. “Envoy will bring a new level of safety and efficiency for global Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance (CNS) and Air Traffic Management (ATM) to Air Wisconsin and all our regional airline customers.”

Air Wisconsin operates a fleet consisting of 64 CRJ-200 jets, with flights occurring in midwestern and eastern U.S. airspace. The regional carrier expects its first Envoy-equipped CRJs to achieve initial entry into service early next year.

The post Air Wisconsin Airlines to Upgrade CRJ Fleet with Envoy Data Link System appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand Moves Toward Certification on an Autonomous Flight System

September 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand Moves Toward Certification on an Autonomous Flight System   
Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand Moves Toward Certification on an Autonomous Flight System

Merlin Labs received a certification basis for its autonomous flight system. (Merlin Labs)

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand has awarded its first certification basis for an autonomous flight system to Merlin Labs marking a key step on the road to certifying autonomous systems, the company announced on Sept. 16. 

Merlin Labs has developed a “takeoff to touchdown” autonomy system for aircraft that will perform all the duties of a human pilot. The system uses a “sense, think, act” control loop to complete these tasks, Matthew George, Founder and CEO of Merlin Labs, told Aviation Today. The avionics system uses GPS/INS, air data, and attitude and heading reference system (ADHRS) to update the system with a three-dimensional position of the aircraft and its attitude at all times.

The system uses a flight computer to do the thinking part of the autonomy which can be adjusted for a specific aircraft type. 

“The thinking is done by our flight Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) computer which has knowledge of the desired flight path and information about airport approach and departure routes,” George said. “The flight plan has to be executed while taking into account regulatory flight rules, as well as aircraft performance limits. In fact, a significant part of our development process is focused on tuning our control system to the detailed flight dynamics of the specific aircraft type to be able to plan and fly trajectories like a pilot would.” 

The system then performs actions using actuators connected to the aircraft which are directed by the flight computer. 

“The flight computer commands a number of actuators that are mechanically connected to the aircraft,” George said. “Thus, the system can ‘act,’ by causing the physical surfaces of the aircraft to move, just as a pilot would do with the yoke, pedals or throttle levers. In this way, the flight computer can direct the aircraft through its entire flight path. The unique thing about our system is that our computer is sophisticated enough and our actuators are strong enough to fly an aircraft not just up and away (like typical autopilots), but also through all phases of takeoff and landing, stop to stop.”

Merlin Labs has completed 380 flight tests of its autonomous system. (Merlin Labs)

The system is still flying with an onboard safety pilot to function as the legal pilot in command. Merlin Labs has been testing its system for the last two years achieving 53,000 km of autonomous flight. 

“The Merlin system has flown on four experimental test aircraft for a total of 380 sorties over the last two years, with over 53,000 km of autonomous flying,” George said. “This testing includes up and away patterns, waypoints, loiters as well as autonomous takeoff and landing on the 10 different runways in our FAA-designated test area.” 

The certification project is a joint project with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be able to gain certification for the system in New Zealand and the U.S. concurrently, George said. 

“Now that we have an issued certification basis, we’ll continue to work with the regulator to validate our approach, culminating in entrance to commercial service,” George said. “There are various engagement points along the way that are agreed to in our certification plan and we will be following those. In parallel, we are continuing our work to advance the next steps toward full autonomy.”

The post Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand Moves Toward Certification on an Autonomous Flight System appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Volocopter Explores LA Launch with New Urban Movement Labs Partnership

September 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Volocopter Explores LA Launch with New Urban Movement Labs Partnership   
Volocopter Explores LA Launch with New Urban Movement Labs Partnership

Volocopter is exploring launching its eVTOL aircraft in Los Angeles with a new partnership. (Volocopter)

The German urban air mobility company (UAM) Volocopter announced a new partnership with Urban Movement Labs that will allow the company to explore launching its UAM vehicles in the U.S. market, the company announced on Sept. 15. 

Volocopter will also attend the CoMotion in Los Angeles to educate the public on their UAM vehicles. 

“Our partnership with Urban Movement Labs is a great entryway into the US with our innovative UAM services,” Christian Bauer, CCO at Volocopter, said in a statement. “By leading the conversation about urban air mobility with broad stakeholders in Los Angeles, Volocopter can strategically identify and address how our services can benefit cities in the country. More importantly, we are also gaining real insights into living transportation ecosystems in the US to build the best complimentary service to other modes of transportation for our future passengers.”

Urban Movement Labs is collaborating with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) on the Urban Air Mobility Partnership which intends to identify challenges and solutions for integrating UAM into the city. 

“We are executing a community-first strategy to engage with community-based organizations and inform a policy framework that will guide the development of UAM infrastructure in the City of Los Angeles,” Sam Morrissey, Executive Director at Urban Movement Labs, said in a statement. “Through our partnership with Volocopter we can explore specific pilot projects to advance a future UAM network that reflects what we hear from Angelenos and establishes standards for future UAM operation.”

The new partnership between Volocopter and Urban Movement Labs will give Volocopter insight when creating a policy framework to launch its UAM vehicles in Los Angeles. 

Volocopter is developing a UAM ecosystem that includes an inter-city air taxi, VoloCity, a heavy-lift drone, VoloDrone, and an intra-city air taxi, VoloConnect. The company is working on concurrent certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which would allow the company to launch in both markets. Volocopter recently received a prerequisite approval from EASA to begin producing its electric air taxi which took its first public flight in France at the Paris Air Forum. 

The post Volocopter Explores LA Launch with New Urban Movement Labs Partnership appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Archer and Lilium to Become Publicly Traded

September 16th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Archer and Lilium to Become Publicly Traded   
Archer and Lilium to Become Publicly Traded

The 7-Seater Jet is an updated version of Lilium’s 5-Seater aircraft and carries six passengers and one pilot. (Lilium)

Two electric aircraft companies, Lilium and Archer Aviation, have announced completed business mergers resulting in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft companies becoming public. 

Joby Aviation became the first publicly traded eVTOL company last month after a completed merger with Reinvent Technology Partners. Lilium and Archer will become the second and third eVTOL companies to go public. 

Lilium, the German eVTOL maker, announced its completed business combination with Qell Acquisition Corp on Sept 14. Qell’s shareholders approved the transaction on Sept. 10 and the company will begin trading on the Nasdaq as of Sept. 15. 

“In 2015 with the clear vision that the decarbonization of aviation is inevitable, we set out to build a team and product that would radically transform the way the world moves,” Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO of Lilium, said in a statement. “Six years and five generations of technology demonstrator aircraft later, we’re closer than ever to this goal. Today’s milestone will bring us even closer to launching our service in 2024 and making sustainable, high-speed regional air travel a reality to communities around the world.”

Archer’s demonstrator eVTOL aircraft, Maker, will begin test flights this year. (Archer)

Archer, the Silicon Valley company developing Maker, announced its completed merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. will close on Sept. 16, according to a Sept. 14 announcement. The company will begin trading on the New York Stock exchange on Sept. 17. 

Joby, Lilium, and Archer are all anticipating launching their eVTOL aircraft in 2024 following certification. All three companies are planning to certify their aircraft with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Lilium is also planning on certifying its 7-Seater Jet with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Joby and Archer have both received G-1 certification basis from the FAA. 

The business mergers will bring these companies large amounts of funds on their path to certification and commercial launch. Lilium will receive about $584 million in gross proceeds resulting from its business combination with Qell, and Archer’s merger will garner the company $857.6 million in gross proceeds. 

The post Archer and Lilium to Become Publicly Traded appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Engineer Guest Post: Four Best Practices for Quality Assurance of Safety Critical Software in Aviation

September 16th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Engineer Guest Post: Four Best Practices for Quality Assurance of Safety Critical Software in Aviation   
Engineer Guest Post: Four Best Practices for Quality Assurance of Safety Critical Software in Aviation

A comparison of the A330neo and A350 provided by Airbus.

Editorial note: If you’re interested in contributing an original opinion piece to be published by Avionics International, check out our guest submission guidelines.

 

Software can be found in every corner of the aviation industry, and it’s a critical component of anything related to safety in the cockpit from monitors and displays to navigation and communication systems. On an airplane, anything software-related that is not part of the passenger entertainment system has to meet specific safety regulations and must be certified according to DO-178C — Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification — before it goes aboard an airplane. DO-178C is recognized by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and its European equivalents. The guideline also covers other aviation-related devices, such as drones.

The four-step process to attain DO-178C certification involves four Stages of Involvement (SOIs), beginning with a lot of documents and forms to fill out in SOI1. In SOI2, companies must have their software coding and architecture verified, and in SOI3, the software must be tested. SOI4 is the completion stage, in which a company is required to show all the evidence that its software has passed all the tests and that every other stage of the process was completed correctly.

The certification process can take up to 10 years or more, depending on the complexity of a system and how many subsystems it has. Along the path to meet DO-178C, there are some best practices that manufacturers can keep in mind to ease the process.

 

Best Practice 1: Understand the safety-critical level of the software being certified

 

Of course, not all software has to meet the same level of safety requirements. There are four Design Assurance Levels (DALs) that specify how critical a piece of software is in relation to the safety of the airplane, from the least critical (DAL D) up to the most critical (DAL A).

One example of DAL D would be an ice-breaking system for drones. When a drone is at a very high altitude, it can get ice on its wings, so there’s a system that breaks the ice. This kind of a system is not considered critical because the drone doesn’t have any passengers, and it won’t crash but rather make an emergency landing if there is too much ice on the wings.

Higher-level systems like maps and displays fall under DAL B, while DAL A level software includes navigation systems. The higher you go up the safety-critical ladder, the more tests there are and the more rules to follow regarding development. All this also influences the length of time it takes to get the software certified and the cost of the process.

 

Best Practice 2: Automation streamlines the testing process

 

As one would expect, the rules for achieving DO-178C certification are very strict. Therefore, it’s difficult to find faster or easier ways of going through the process. That said, advances in automation for testing, along with automated tools, have allowed for more expedient testing and for continuous testing as well. Every tool used in the process must also be certified, so being able to cut the necessary testing time is crucial to getting a software or system into the marketplace faster.

With manual testing, it could take several months to test just one version of software for a system. If one line of code is changed, testing has to start all over again. Automation has sped the testing process up so that it now takes only several hours to test one version.

 

Best Practice 3: Expect constant retesting

 

No matter how small of a change something might seem, the fact is, it could lead to 100 different requirements that need to be changed. And each of those changes will require software to be retested. Requests for changes can come from anywhere.

Sometimes the pilots or the airlines themselves will request a change, such as altering the font in all the apps. If the font is changed — even to increase or decrease the size by a fraction of a point — this will necessitate retesting all the maps, because the new font size creates an entirely different image on the screens. Changing the size of the displays? Be prepared to retest the entire system.

Some changes are inevitable. Hardware gets old and has to be replaced. This happens a lot in the aviation industry. When it does, the software has to be updated, and this requires everything to be tested all over again. If software that has been tested for use in one aircraft is put on a different plane, or is being adapted from a smaller drone for use with a larger drone, this also means retesting the software in its new platform.

 

Best Practice 4: Ensure the traceability of the certification process

 

As with the testing of the safety of anything — from pharmaceuticals to aviation software — the test must be thoroughly transparent and examinable. An auditor should be able to trace the testing of the system from end to end. Therefore, a developer must ensure the traceability of its software from the code, to the requirement, to the verification, to the test, all the way through the process. An auditor must be able to see exactly what was done and how at every stage of the certification process.

A simple certification takes about two years. That’s the minimum. Going through the process, developers need to follow the guidelines closely and keep traceability tight and manageable. Testing must be repeated until the system meets the DO-178C standard, otherwise it won’t go onto the airplane or the drone.

Whether your software is safety critical or not, changes to the code will eventually be necessary, whether due to inevitable technological evolution, necessary hardware upgrades or customer change requests. These code changes will need to be tested, no matter how small or insignificant they seem. This level of deliberate, time-consuming testing is indispensable when considering the inherent life or death stakes within aviation and aircraft technology.

 

 

Eli Dvash is Senior Manager of the Safety & Aviation Software, Defense Division, for Qualitest Group. Eli has an extensive background in testing; prior to aviation software, he managed the hardware division at Qualitest Group, specializing in electromagnetic radiation testing, environmental testing, and materials testing. 

 

 

 

The post Engineer Guest Post: Four Best Practices for Quality Assurance of Safety Critical Software in Aviation appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Bombardier’s New Challenger 3500 Features Autothrottle, Smart Link Plus and Voice Activated Cabin System

September 15th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Bombardier’s New Challenger 3500 Features Autothrottle, Smart Link Plus and Voice Activated Cabin System   
Bombardier’s New Challenger 3500 Features Autothrottle, Smart Link Plus and Voice Activated Cabin System

Bombardier revealed its latest Challenger 3500 super mid-sized business jet during a virtual launch event on Sept. 14. (Bombardier)

Bombardier unveiled the new Challenger 3500 super-midsized business jet during a Sept. 14 virtual launch event, where the Canadian business jet maker provided details on some of the new model’s standard avionics systems to include autothrottle, enhanced vision, and Smart Link Plus.

The 3500 is the latest aircraft model to join the Challenger family, with a range of 3,400 nm, seating for up to 10 passengers, and a top speed of Mach 0.83. Bombardier also included several cockpit and cabin electronics advancements on the latest Challenger that were first debuted on the Global 7500.

According to cockpit system details released by Bombardier, the Challenger 3500 will feature a standard autothrottle system, four cockpit display screens, synthetic vision, and a dual flight management system with Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approach. There is also a Head-up Display (HUD) with Enhanced Vision System (EVS) cockpit option featured on the 3500.

Smart Link Plus is an all-in-one avionics computer consisting of a remote data concentrator, an airborne data loader, quick access recorder, and cabin/flight deck server that is installed in the Challenger’s electric equipment bay to enable the transmission of aircraft data in real-time. Supplied to Bombardier by GE Aviation, the Smart Link Plus box collects, stores and transmits aircraft data such as in-flight fault notifications or engine parameters, and also enables automatic transfer of full flight data to an operator’s cloud or ground-based data storage systems on the ground.

The Challenger 3500 joins the Global 7500 as the only two business jets manufactured by Bombardier to feature Smart Link Plus free-of-charge, while the company is still providing free aftermarket Smart Link upgrades to operators of legacy Challengers and Learjets at authorized service centers.

“Its flight deck has more baseline features than any of its competitors,” Bombardier CEO Eric Martel said during the virtual launch event. “All the features of the Challenger 350 cockpit plus a standard autothrottle system.”

Bombardier released this mockup of what the Challenger 3500 cockpit will look like. (Bombardier)

Pilots will also have access to what Bombardier describes as an “eco app” developed by SITA that is designed to “specifically optimize flight plans and reduce fuel burn” by using SITA’s existing eWAS Pilot with OptiFlight. SITA describes its EFB Weather Awareness Solution (eWAS) as a cloud-hosted tablet application that gives pilots access to turbulence alerting, areas of icing, and other flight environment conditions. On the Challenger 3500, the eWAS app will use data captured from the Smart Link Plus system.

Some of the cabin technologies that launched on the Global 7500 are also being transferred to the Challenger 3500, including a voice-controlled cabin management system for lighting, sound and temperature, wireless charging pads, and standard 24-inch 4K displays. Martel also described the cabin’s “audio sweet spot,” a feature also transferred from the Global 7500 cabin.

“Our immersive sound system offers an audio sweet spot that lets passengers center the sound of their precise location in the cabin,” Martel said.

Challenger 3500 operators flying in North America, North Atlantic, and European airspace will have access to Ka-band in-flight connectivity, while those in the continental U.S. and parts of Canada will also have the option to select 4G air-to-ground IFC, according to cabin specifications released by Bombardier.

“The cabin features the only 24-inch 4K monitors in its class. And available connectivity options to stream content, join a video conference, or watch a live sports event,” Martel said.

With an eye toward being increasingly transparent about achieving sustainability goals, the Challenger 3500 is the second full aircraft that Bombardier will mark with Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)—a third-party verification method of disclosing environmental performance data, such as CO2 emissions, noise and fuel burn over the course of aircraft’s product lifecycle. Challenger 3500’s flight testing campaign will also be carbon neutral, achieved through the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and the purchase of carbon offsets.

Bombardier expects its newest business jet to be ready for entry into service by the second half of 2022. Les Goldberg, CEO of Entertainment Technology Partners, was confirmed as the launch partner of the 3500 during the virtual launch event.

The post Bombardier’s New Challenger 3500 Features Autothrottle, Smart Link Plus and Voice Activated Cabin System appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Thales Starts Flight Testing Cloud-Native FlytX Avionics Suite

September 14th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Thales Starts Flight Testing Cloud-Native FlytX Avionics Suite   
Thales Starts Flight Testing Cloud-Native FlytX Avionics Suite

Thales is using this modified Cabri helicopter to test a prototype version of its next generation cloud-native FlytX avionics suite. (Thales) 

Thales recently began the earliest stages of a flight testing campaign of what the Toulouse-based avionics maker describes as its first “cloud-native” avionics suite, FlytX, using a modified Cabri helicopter.

The Cabri’s flight testing campaign is using a single-screen version of FlytX to help develop the next generation avionics system that has already been selected by Airbus Helicopters and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to equip the Guépard, a future light joint helicopter, as well as by VR-Technologies for the future single-turbine light helicopter, VRT500.  In emailed comments to Avionics International, a representative for Thales based in Toulouse confirmed the company is taking a two-step approach to developing what will become their first avionics computing systems that are natively connected to external aviation systems.

FlytX is the avionics suite first unveiled by Thales in 2019 as a modular touchscreen-centric system built on the concept of virtualizing communications, navigation and surveillance systems by giving them native or embedded data sharing access to cloud and ground-based aviation systems. Computing and processing for FlytX is embedded directly into the one-to-four display configuration of the system, eliminating the need for separate avionics computers—as the display is now the computer.

“Indeed FlytX is a cloud-native avionics suite. Today, thanks to FlytX, the pilot is able to display and interact with his connected [Electronic Flight Bag] EFB directly on the avionics screen,” a representative for Thales said in an emailed statement to Avionics. “In a second step, FlytX will be directly connected in a cyber-secured way to external systems in order to use data from the open world in the cockpit itself.”

Another major focus within the development of FlytX is keep its architecture customizable, crew-centric and natively collected to a digital cloud where data for specific aircraft types and routes are available on a per-flight basis.

Thales was unable to provide a cockpit photo of the FlytX screen, however, this previously released computer generated mockup shows what it could eventually look like in the future. (Thales)

On the Cabri flight-testing campaign, Thales is using a 15-inch FlytX screen that is connected to the helicopter’s sensors and navigation systems, feeding data and information back to the display’s embedded processing system. Flight testing instrumentation connected to the display has been modified to simulate the configuration of a larger helicopter, such as the Guépard, Thales confirmed.

A team of engineers and pilots assigned to the Cabri flight testing campaign have been tasked with making “short-loop adjustments to improve the performance and maturity of the system before its integration on these first customer programmes,” according to a Sept. 6 press release. One of the key objectives of the flight tests is to validate the core native cloud computing elements of FlytX.

“The open world function is indeed being assessed,” the representative for Thales said.

The single-screen version of FlytX being flight-tested in the Cabri replicates what will be featured on the VRT500, which is projected to enter into service by 2023. Thales is also pursuing the adaptation of FlytX to fixed-wing aircraft in the near future.

“This is part of the FlytX roadmap,” the company said via email. “We have engaged discussion with aircraft manufacturers to introduce all the benefits of latest generation suite for fixed wing aircraft.”

The post Thales Starts Flight Testing Cloud-Native FlytX Avionics Suite appeared first on Aviation Today.

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PODCAST: Pratt & Whitney Continues Digitally Transforming Engine Health Management for Airlines

September 11th, 2021   •   Comments Off on PODCAST: Pratt & Whitney Continues Digitally Transforming Engine Health Management for Airlines   
PODCAST: Pratt & Whitney Continues Digitally Transforming Engine Health Management for Airlines

Arun Srinivasan is the associate director for strategy and engine health management for Pratt & Whitney.

On this episode of the Connected Aviation Intelligence podcast, we feature a discussion with Pratt & Whitney focusing on how the company continues to invest in new data analytics solutions, cloud computing and software that is digitally transforming the way commercial airlines track the health of their engines.

This is our first episode under the new Connected Aviation Intelligence  name, we have changed the name simply to reflect the name change of our associated annual live event, the Global Connected Aircraft Summit, which undertook the name change to Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit earlier this year.

Our guest on this episode is Arun Srinivasan, who is the associate director for strategy and engine health management for Pratt & Whitney. He provides some perspective on their recent partnership with Teledyne to improve engine and flight data sharing between airlines and OEMs as well as other ways they’re improving the digital methods available to airlines to track the health of their engines.

Have suggestions or topics we should focus on in the next episode? Email the host, Woodrow Bellamy at wbellamy@accessintel.com, or drop him a line on Twitter @WbellamyIIIAC.

Listen to this episode below, or check it out on iTunes or Google Play If you like the show, subscribe on your favorite podcast app to get new episodes as soon as they’re released.

The post PODCAST: Pratt & Whitney Continues Digitally Transforming Engine Health Management for Airlines appeared first on Aviation Today.

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