Dramatic new security innovations arrived for business aviation within the past year, both in terms of equipment and software.
On the equipment side, new products have been developed that compensate for the three major contributors to single-pilot accidents: pilot disability, emergency engine recovery in two-engine operations, and reduced visibility. On the side of the security book program, the International Business Aviation Council has developed a version of its International Business Aircraft Operations Standard (IS-BAO) aimed at smaller operators.
Autoland is now available for single Piper SLS (Halo brand) and Daher TBM 940 turboprop (Safe Return brand) and Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2 (HomeSafe Autoland brand) aircraft. No doubt other planes will follow. Autoland can fit on almost any aircraft, from single piston to aircraft. The Garmin Autoland system is part of the Autonomy family of automation products, which includes Electronic Stability and Protection and Emergency Reduction Mode. The Autoland system is designed to safely fly an aircraft from the height of the cruise to a convenient runway, then lower the aircraft, apply the brakes, and stop the engine. As the plane flies to the airport, Autoland slows down the plane and, if necessary, gets into a jam to get out of excess air speed.
The Autoland system can be activated automatically or manually, by touching a single key. On the Piper M600, the system automatically activates at 18,000 feet if the autopilot is engaged and the pilot does not interact with the aircraft in a 15-minute period. At higher altitudes, the engagement period is shorter. Autoland also tries to warn the pilot with repeated chiming sounds and asking, “Are you alert” before engaging. Autoland will also engage if the electronic stability and protection system is engaged for an extended period of time, first putting the M600 in level mode, and if the pilot does not disconnect the level mode, then implement an automatic landing.
Autoland is designed so that a non-flying passenger can enable it and understand what is happening during an Autoland event. When engaged, Autoland immediately turns the plane towards the nearest convenient airport as it displays on all three screens of the carefully crafted message booth messages that tell passengers what is happening. A moving map in each PFD clearly illustrates the route the aircraft is following to reach the selected airport. PFD shows a split screen with moving map on one side and synthetic viewing system on the other. The multifunction display (MFD) in the center shows messages to passengers, just like PFDs.
An MFD message is an animation of the cockpit and controls, with a warning: “Keep your hands and feet away from aircraft controls”. On the screens at any time there are the words: “Autoland emergency emergency” and “landing in XX minutes”. The MFD also shows how many miles to the destination and how much fuel is left in hours and minutes. Both PFDs indicate the time until the next turn, if applicable, and the time until the discount. A well-modulated voice tells passengers exactly what to expect. At the same time, Autoland uses information about the condition of the aircraft to transmit an emergency radio message to the appropriate frequencies, and it resets the transponder to the emergency code 7700. Radio transmission can occur at the local approach or tower control frequency of control. But if you land at an airport without a tower, Autoland will broadcast on the local CTAF frequency.
Autoland can even activate anti-theft systems if needed. Autoland is available to aircraft manufacturers to include in their aircraft equipped with Garmin G3000 aircraft and autotrotors. The system is designed for emergency use only and not for pilot use just because the weather is marginal or the reverse wind is too high. It also adds to the possibility of getting on the plane at a nearby airport, where medical help may be more available.
Even with the worst case scenario of an incompetent pilot and an engine failure, Autoland can improve the result by implementing a controlled descent on the nearby smooth terrain. Autoland can also help rescue a pilot trapped by diffuse zero-zero fog, allowing a safe landing where it would be difficult if not impossible for the pilot to land safely using an ILS approach or FVL.
IS&S ThrustSense Autrotrotle for Twin Turboprops
Innovative ThrustSense Solutions and Supports Autotrollers reduce the workload of the pilot by automatically managing engine power from take-off through the ascent, navigation, descent, movement and descent phases. They are available as a refurbishment option in 300 King Airs series with Collins Pro Line Fusion and standard in Textron Aviation King Air 360 / 360ER.
Separately, IS&S and Blackhawk Modifications have announced a deal for Blackhawk to deploy and install IS & S NextGen flight deck and integrated autotrope system for the King Air 200 and 350. Both models account for more than 3,000 aircraft, according to IS&S, and there are 2,000 other C90 models through the E90 and F90 that can also be updated. Autotrottle includes engine thrust control: a failing motor automatically sets the remaining engine to the proper power level if the air velocity falls below the minimum controllable air velocity.
IS&S ThrustSense Autrotrotle for twin turboprop
Autrotrot IS&S PT6 is able to fully control an engine with a hydromechanical fuel control and includes protections that prevent overload during lifting or overload during climbing or at high altitudes. The system also contains excessive and fast protection in case the pilot poorly manages the air speed. If the pilot tries to move the power lever and approaches the engine torque or temperature limits, the vehicle has an integrated shaker system to warn the pilot.
The ThrustSense consists of the ready-made integrated IS&S unit (ISU) and linear actuators that control each throttle lever. The ISU features an integrated computer, inertial measurement unit, air data system, and flat panel display in a box that directly replaces the existing standby unit on the flight deck. The ISU computer uses proprietary software to determine the choking positions needed to prevent overload conditions, excessive torque, excessive speed and hot start for engines that do not already use an electronic control system. Integrated with ADS-B, ThrustSense can provide trail space of two miles plus or minus 200 meters between aircraft.
Universal Avionics ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision System with SkyLens Head-Weranable Display
The Universal SkyLens ClearVision EFVS display and head-mounted display (HWD) bring head-up display (HUD) capabilities with combined augmented and synthetic vision along with a virtually unlimited field of view for smaller aircraft that can not accommodate a traditional HUD. Approval in the ATB regional turboprop series is the first time a head-mounted display has been certified for civil aviation.
Universal Avionics ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision System with SkyLens Head-Weranable Display
EFVS allows airlines to access runways in more weather conditions and maintain traffic flow and capacity. The HWD can be equipped with far more aircraft types than a traditional, heavier and more expensive ceiling-mounted HUD. Aircraft and business jets already with single HUD screens can provide data for both crew members by adding an HWD. Aircraft with outdated HUD systems and cameras can be updated more economically in EFVS. For pilot training, Universal has developed a program that includes online training, virtual reality internships, then internships in a flight training device.
Universal sees EFVS with SkyLens particularly useful for the helicopter market to enhance safety during low visibility conditions and stressful missions such as firefighting, medevac and search and rescue operations. SkyLens can also display information on night glasses. The company is currently working with OEMs on three commercial aircraft: Leonardo’s AW139 and AW169 and Airbus Super Puma for German police. Universal has already flown 200 to 300 test hours with EFVS on the FAA Sikorsky S-76.
FlightPlan Phase 1 of IBAC IS-BAO for Small Operators
The new International Aviation Business Council (IBAC) FlightPlan Phase 1 IS-BAO risk management program is now available. Unveiled at NBAA 2019, the program is designed to provide a runway for operators with an aircraft and a base to gain Phase 1 IS-BAO recognition within 90-180 days. Under the option, a credentialing program support associate will assist in reorganizing the pre-audit process for the operator. Once this is achieved, the operator will undergo a one-day independent audit and will proceed with post-registration assessments every six months for a two-year period. FlightPlan Phase 1 will include entry into the IBAC Company General Operations Manual (GCOM).
IBAC says the program is a comprehensive option that provides an effective approach to demonstrate secure operations that will make it easier for smaller operators to participate. The IBAC Phase 1 Program has three basic phases: obtaining IS-BAO documentation and conducting an online meeting with AviationManuals, a program partner; meeting with an approved implementer to prepare for the program and audit; and then subject to audit. The program also outlines a path to Phase 2 enrollment.
As it works to bring operators to Phase 1 level, IBAC has also teamed up with Baldwin Safety and Compliance to develop a business-specific aviation security database based on operators participating in the IS-BAO Progressive Stage 3 group. Progressive Phase 3 operators meet the Phase 3 IS-BAO protocols but will share identifiers (for privacy) security management systems (SMS) input with IBAC and participate in IS-BAO audits progressively over a year. Baldwin will support the identification, storage and analysis of information that will be collected in the database, the first of its kind for business aviation.
IS-BAO is a recommended code of best practice for aircraft operators based on International Civil Aviation Organization standards and SMS at the core of the program. Founded in 2003, the program offers registration in various phases, with Phase 3 considered the highest level with the most intensive audits. Overall, IS-BAO was created to help flight departments achieve high levels of safety and professionalism. More than 700 organizations are registered.
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