Professional Pilot Magazine January 2021

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JANUARY 2021

Avionics Manufacturers Product Support

Garmin

Universal Avionics

Collins Aerospace

Honeywell

Situational Awareness

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Textron Aviation is more than a maintenance provider. We’re your connection. Your link to a strategic network built to keep your aircraft performing at its highest level. Your access to a global array of support centers and your source for quality inspections, parts and repairs by knowledgeable experts. We’re built to keep you moving. Learn more by connecting with us at txtav.com/experts.

JACQUE S KE E PS YOUR AIRCR AFT PERFORMING AT ITS PE AK . W E KE E P YO U MOVI NG.

© 2020 Textron Aviation Inc. All rights reserved.

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January 2021

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Masthead

Vol 55 No 1

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In memory of Founder Murray Smith Management MARCIA ELENI SMITH, President (eleni@propilotmag.com) ANTHONY HERRERA, General Manager (aherrera@propilotmag.com)

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Regular contributors BRENT BUNDY, Phoenix PD Officer/Pilot. AS350, Cessna 210/182/172. GRANT McLAREN, Editor-at-Large. SHANNON FORREST, ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605. PHIL ROSE, Contributing Writer. KARSTEN SHEIN, Comm-Inst. Climatologist, Natl Climatic Data Center. MELISSA SINGER, Founder & CEO, Moxie Global Consulting. DON VAN DYKE, ATP/Helo/CFII. Canadian Technical Editor. Professional Pilot ISSN 0191-6238 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312 Fax: 703-370-7082 Tel: 703-370-0606 E-MAIL: editor@propilotmag.com

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Member NBAA. Aircraft: Beech Baron N241MS Piper Saratoga N4301M and Beech Sundowner N67135 Qualified subscriptions‚ Those pilots and aviation dept mgrs operating business/ executive aircraft for a living under FAR Part 91 and 135 may qualify for a limited number of free subscriptions. For a complete description of who qualifies and instructions on receiving a qualification form go to our website at propilotmag.com PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS‚ Rates for 12 issues are set out below: US $50 Canada/Mexico $60 Other countries $80 Back issues $10 per issue Salary Study $20 per issue Only checks in US dollars are accepted. Virginia residents add 5.0% sales tax. Credit cards are not accepted. Make checks payable to Queensmith Communica­ tions Corp. Mail payment to 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing. ADDRESS CHANGES‚ Please mail or fax the white carrier sheet containing your current address label along with any corrections to Professional Pilotmagazine, 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. Fax to 703-370-7082. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for processing. POSTMASTER‚ Send address changes to Professional Pilot, 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. Professional Pilot is published by Queensmith Communications Corp, 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. TITLE AND TRADEMARKS‚ The title Professional Pilot has been trademarked as a magazine title by Queensmith Communications Corp and is duly registered at the US Patent Office. PERMISSIONS‚ Nothing may be reprinted in whole or part without a written permission from Queensmith Communications Corp. All rights in letters sent to Professional Pilot will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and as subject to unrestricted right to edit and to comment editorially. Published monthly. All rights reserved. MAILING AND POSTAGE‚ Periodical postage paid at Alexandria VA and addi­ tional mailing offices.

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2  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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January 2021

Vol 55 No 1

Features

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8 POSITION & HOLD Showcasing the latest in avionics by Geoff Hill Aircraft Electronics Association director of communications talks about the latest AEA Pilot’s Guide.

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10 EVENT COVERAGE Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition by Pro Pilot staff NBAA launches first virtual trade show on Dec 2–3, 2020. 13 HELICOPTER NEWS by Pro Pilot staff Latest announcements from rotary-wing aircraft manufacturers.

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20 SITUATIONAL AWARENESS Autopilots by Shannon Forrest Automation reduces pilot workload, but keeping sharp flying skills is paramount to avoid surprises. 23 PIREPS by Pro Pilot staff Here’s what’s new from the industry’s OEMs and service providers. 30 AVIONICS MANUFACTURERS PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY Readers rate flightdeck manufacturers based on aftersale service Pro Pilot staff compilation 38 FLIGHT SAFETY Remotely-operated remote towers by Glenn Woodward Pilots and airport operations could benefit from the enhanced safety of ATC services without an at-airport physical tower.

4  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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People Make The Difference

Leonardo is committed to delivering the highest quality of Customer Support, advanced service solutions and a comprehensive range of training programs – ensuring mission success; anytime, anywhere. A global network of over 90 Service Centers, 14 Logistic Support Centers, 5 Domestic Training Academies, 8 Authorized Training Locations and a team of over 1,800 support and training professionals are dedicated to ensuring Customer satisfactions; 24/7, 365. Leonardo is investing in performance and infrastructure to strengthen network collaborations and expand its portfolio of digital flight and support service solutions, providing state of the art technology for the operation and maintenance of Customer helicopters, offering the best service and support. Leonardo is the leading OEM with complete in house simulation and learning solutions design, development and integration capability. Inspired by the vision, curiosity and creativity of the great master inventor – Leonardo Is designing the technology of tomorrow

leonardocompany.com Helicopters | Aeronautics | Electronics, Defence & Security Systems | Space

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REMEMBRANCE January 2021

Vol 55 No 1

Departments

Murray Q Smith 1930-2019

ecember 25 marked the first anniverD sary without the physical presence of Professional Pilot magazine Founder Mur-

ray Q Smith, an avid pilot and who created with this magazine the ideal tool with which to combine his passion for flying and the tireless promotion of aviation safety. He achieved the latter in many ways, but especially through publishing articles and interacting with our readers. Murray wore many hats around the office. He was a persistent salesman and a sharpeyed observer of the aviation scene who held both a Journalism Degree from the University of Illinois and an ATP license that he kept current until the last day. More importantly, however, Murray was responsible for recruiting and training new talent for Pro Pilot. He gave many young journalists their first glimpse into the world of business aviation. Many of them subsequently moved on to succeed at other prominent aviation publications. A year after Murray flew west, Professional Pilot magazine remains an independent publication with its primary focus on safety. As we kick off our 55th year, our commitment to supporting the business aviation industry is still the same, and we’ll keep our promise of producing aviation-related content that promotes sound flight operations and encourages readers to participate in the never-ending advances of the industry to which we are devoted. Here’s to a great 2021. The best is still ahead of us.

6

REMEMBRANCE Editorial message to commemorate Pro Pilot Founder Murray Smith’s legacy.

13

GONE WEST Chuck Yeager passed on Dec 7, 2020.

14

TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when flying into BOS (Boston MA). Answers on page 16.

18 SID & STAR Oscar Lugnut refuses to take a passenger who won’t use a mask. 24 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers share the top 3 improvements they’d make to their business aircraft.

Cover This year, Pro Pilot publishes its 26th Avionics Product Support Survey. Each year, Pro Pilot asks business aircraft operators to rate avionics manufacturers product support in categories such as product reliability, speed in AOG service, cost of parts, manuals or CDs, tech reps, and support from manufacturer. Results can be found starting in page 30.

6  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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POSITION & HOLD an editorial opinion

Showcasing the latest in avionics By Geoff Hill Director of Communications, AEA

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re you a pilot or aircraft owner who is always looking for the latest and greatest innovations when it comes to avionics? Want to learn more about situational awareness, inflight entertainment, ADS-B, connectivity solutions, and new and emerging safety-enhancing technologies? The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) is at your service. For starters, the association recently published the 18th annual edition of its AEA Pilot’s Guide, a consumer’s directory loaded with educational articles, timely information, and data about the ever-changing world of avionics technologies. This free publication is distributed annually to thousands of aviators, and is intended to help them make informed buying decisions when it comes to avionics. It assists pilots and aircraft owners locate nearly 1300 AEA member companies in more than 40 countries, including government-certified repair stations specializing in maintenance, repair, and installation of avionics and electronic systems in general aviation (GA) aircraft. The publication includes the manufacturers and distributors of these products, as well as technical schools and universities, engineers and consultants for the industry. Want this for your personal reading pleasure? No problem. Individuals residing in the United States may request a free copy of this year’s edition – while supplies last – at aeapilotsguide.net. Take a few seconds and make your request today. In addition, AEA recently introduced the Pilot’s Guide Showcase, an all-new digital stage highlighting everything, from features and functions of the latest avionics equipment, to the installation and service available from AEA-member repair stations. Specifically designed for avionics consumers such as GA pilots and aircraft owners, this solution can be found online at pilotsguideshowcase.net. And, in addition to featuring product demonstrations, how-to videos, and select tutorials via recorded flight demonstrations, this digital platform spotlights AEA’s network of technology experts. In the absence of industry trade shows during the past year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, avionics consumers did not have the opportunity to discover innovative avionics technologies in person at fly-ins, air shows, and aviation events across the globe. To help offset that lost personal interaction, the Pilot’s Guide Showcase is an evolving platform and a new way for aviators to learn about safety-enhancing technologies on the market in one convenient location. Both the AEA Pilot’s Guide and the brand-new Pilot’s Guide Showcase website can help serve as a lifeline that connects pilots and aircraft owners to the technical 8

GA pilots and aircraft owners may request a free copy of this year’s AEA Pilot’s Guide at aeapilotsguide.net.

experts in the avionics industry. After all, AEA member repair stations routinely help pilots make informed decisions based on budget, compatibility, integration, certification, hull value, and other parameters. Ultimately, it is the experts at these AEA shops who can best showcase the latest avionics, and help aircraft owners determine what’s best for their airplane. Simply put, AEA members are aviation’s technology experts. Their expertise doesn’t stop with the technical specifications – they are masters of their craft who understand the complexities of fitting big investments into panels and avionics bays full of disparate systems. They continually pursue training and education on these new systems to make sure they get it right. If you have any questions about your equipment needs or its fitment into your airplane, the government-certified AEA member repair stations listed in the current AEA Pilot’s Guide should be your first call. They, too, can showcase the latest avionics and help you determine what’s best for your airplane. Until we are able to gather again at aviation industry events to see, touch, and experience these new safety-enhancing technologies face to face, I want to extend a personal invitation to help you stay connected with aviation’s technology experts through a brand-new podcast called AEA Amplified. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Podbean, or Spotify. You can also listen to all previous episodes by visiting aea.net/podcast. In the meantime, enjoy perusing the pages of this special edition of Professional Pilot magazine. Here’s to safe flying and a healthy and prosperous new year!

PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2021

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EVENT COVERAGE

NBAA VBACE

Images courtesy NBAA

Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition

By Pro Pilot staff

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and beyond the Covid-19 crisis, and presented inspiring speakers, such as Songwriter and Pilot Dierks Bentley, who reaffirmed his dedication to serving as an advocacy champion for business aviation, and The New York Times best-selling author Erin Meyer, who highlighted what people and companies in business aviation can learn from the innovative culture at media company Netflix. During the e-meeting, dedicated chat rooms facilitated a new kind of peer-to-peer engagement, with hundreds of industry professionals

Second day of the virtual show featured best-selling writer Erin Meyer, who pointed out some lessons that bizav leaders and companies could learn from Netflix.

sharing perspectives through online exchanges. Education sessions and new Thought Leadership forums were also a big draw, providing access to innovators in the fields of safety, sustainability, technological innovation, ever-changing international requirements, and strategies for promoting workforce diversity.

Photo courtesy Textron Aviation

romoted as the first ever completely immersive online bizav trade show, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (VBACE) took place on December 2–3, 2020. The show brought together a diverse lineup of 170 exhibitors. Attendance figures were yet to be determined at close of editorial because the show remained “open” until December 31, but, as of December 15, attendees were counted by the thousands. VBACE set the stage for major announcements, provided access to the best thinkers for innovating during

Keynote speaker Dierks Bentley (R), a renowned songwriter and pilot, talks to NBAA President & CEO Ed Bolen on day 1 of VBACE.

Textron Aviation introduced the latest iteration of its King Air turboprop line – the King Air 260. Key features are the addition of the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense autothrottle, and a new digital pressurization controller. In the cockpit, the King Air 260 also offers the Collins Aerospace Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar system as standard. The King Air 260 can carry up to 9, and has a maximum range of 1720 nm and a top cruise speed of 310 KTAS.

10  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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Photo courtesy Universal Avionics

Universal Avionics now offers 5 additional InSight display system options. Recent developments include solutions for Falcon 900B, Falcon 50, Hawker 800XP, and Gulfstream III, as well as for the MD 902 Explorer helicopter. Gogo unveiled its upgraded Vision 360 inflight entertainment (IFE) service, the first IFE system in business aviation to include premium moving maps from FlightPath3D.

Photo courtesy Gogo

Photo courtesy Pratt & Whitney

And, on the entertainment side of the show, happy hours drew hundreds of registrants to mingle and be entertained by appearances by celebrity guest Dave Coulier, pilot, comedian, and actor from TV’s Full House, and Jim Peterik, Grammy-winning songwriter of Eye of the Tiger. “NBAA is energized by the excitement and enthusiasm for the new ways VBACE provided for doing business, building relationships, bettering ourselves as professionals and working together to chart a course for the future,” says NBAA Pres & CEO Ed Bolen. “Our thanks to everyone who was a part of this groundbreaking event.” NBAA has reaffirmed its commitment to 2 new virtual events in 2021 – NBAA GO Flight Operations Conference on Feb 23–25, and Leadership Summit on Mar 24–25.

X-1FBO management and payment processing system is now in use by FBOs in Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. X-1FBO is designed to improve safety and place additional emphasis on customer service.

At the close of VBACE on Dec 3, Avfuel announced a network expansion in key markets throughout the world, including the addition of Dassault Falcon Jet ILG (Wilmington DE), and DFW Corporate Aviation DFW (Intl, Dallas/ Fort Worth TX). The network is now more than 650 locations strong.

Photo courtesy Avfuel

ALTO Aviation announced its new Cadence cabin remote control app, a companion product to the recently released SM-1070 System Master Controller that is available for iOS, Android, and Windows (PC and tablet) devices.

Pratt & Whitney Canada’s venerable PT6 turboprop made GA history as the 50,000th engine rolled off the production line.

12  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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P R O F E S S I O N A L   P I L O T

HELICOPTER NEWS MD Helicopters signs $34M deal with US Army

T

M

Photo courtesy Leonardo

Photo courtesy MD Helicopters

Leonardo makes progress on NH90 helo program

he first of 12 NH90 NFH naval helicopters and the first of 16 of the NH90 TTH overland variant took to the air from Leonardo’s Venice Tessera facility and Airbus Helicopters’ Marignane sites, respectively. Leonardo, in a joint venture with NHIndustries, is responsible for the final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters. The company is also acting as prime contractor for the overall program, and will provide support and training services for flightcrews and maintenance technicians. First deliveries of the NH90s to the Qatar Emiri Air Force are scheduled to start before the end of this year, with the last helicopter planned to be delivered in 2025.

D Helicopters announced an agreement with the US Army worth approximately $34 million to provide logistics support for the Afghanistan Air Force MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack and reconnaissance helicopter fleet. The deal is a continuation of manufacturer’s contractor logistics support with the US Army and Multi-National Aviation Special Project Office (MASPO) for the fleet. According to the contract, MDHI will provide maintenance, repairs, updates, and overhauls of the aircraft stateside in Mesa AZ, and abroad in Kabul, Afghanistan. The estimated completion date for all work is May 31, 2021.

GONE WEST

C

Photo courtesy USAF

huck Yeager flew west on December 7, 2020, aged 97. He was the most decorated US pilot ever, making history in 1947, when he became the first pilot confirmed to have exceeded the speed of sound in level flight. He did so in a Bell X-1 experimental rocket plane at an altitude of 45,000 ft, at a time when nobody knew whether an aircraft could resist the shockwaves of a sonic boom. Born in West Virginia on February 13, 1923, Yeager served in the US Army from 1941 to 1947, and in the US Air Force from 1947 to 1975. His service condecorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Purple Heart. Breaking the sonic barrier earned Yeager both the Collier and Mackay trophies in 1948. Chuck would continue to break several other speed and altitude records in the following years. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973, and broke the sound barrier once again in 2012 at the age of 89. Yeager Airport, serving Charleston WV, is named in his honor.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021  13

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6. Select the true statement(s) regarding flying the intermediate approach segment. a An altitude loss of 230 ft/nm occurs. b The intermediate approach segment is flown on a course of 036°. c The proximity of stepdown fixes in reference to the glide slope changes with the weather. d The aircraft should remain at 4000 ft MSL after passing WINNI until intercepting the glideslope.

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 

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5. ATC issues the following clearance: “Fly heading 355°. Maintain 5000 until established, cleared ILS Runway 4 Right approach.” An aircraft intercepting the approach course between WINNI and NABBO should maintain 5000 until established on the glideslope. a True b False

   

1. If the aircraft is equipped with RNAV 1-GPS, no other nav igation equipment is required to fly the approach entry or the initial and intermediate approach segments. a True b False

3. Select all that apply. A flight director, autopilot, or HUD is required to ______ a fly RNAV 1-GPS routes. b use the lowest landing minimums for the approach. c fly the final approach segment when vessels taller than 144 ft high are present. d use a minimum visibility of RVR 18 when runway touch down zone lighting and centerline lighting are inoperative.   4. Intercepting the glideslope at GOSHI will ensure the aircraft stays at or above the minimum stepdown altitudes to MILTT. a True b False

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       

Refer to the 11-1 ILS or LOC Rwy 4R for KBOS (Logan, Boston MA) when necessary to answer the following questions:

2. Which are requirements of RNAV 1 navigation equipment? Select all that apply. a Cross-track error/deviation – not more than 1.0 nm. b Cross-track error/deviation – not more than 0.5 nm. c Total system error – not more than 1.0 nm for 95% of the total flight time. d Total system error – not more than 2.0 nm for 95% of the total flight time. e May only be used for approach procedures if ground-based navaids used in position updating are monitored.

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                                                 

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         

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   

 

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      

 

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             

       

Reproduced with permission of Jeppesen Sanderson. Reduced for illustrative purposes.

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 

  

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

Not to be used for navigational purposes

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Terminal Checklist 1/21 Answers on page 16

 

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9. Select all that apply. When the control tower reports tall vessels in the approach area, the ______ a DA and MDA increase. b ILS approach is not authorized if the vessels are taller than 144 ft. c localizer approach is not authorized if the vessels are taller than 144 ft. d a visibility reduction below RVR 40 or ¾ sm is not autho rized for helicopters. e minimum visibility for the ILS approach increases from RVR 18 or 24 to RVR 40 with full approach and runway lighting systems operative.

7. Select all that apply. When flying the localizer approach, ____ a the missed approach point is at 1.8 DME BOS. b a CDFA requires a vertical descent angle of 3.0°. Select the true statement(s) regarding the missed approach 10. c a CDFA requires the use of a flight director or autopilot. d the VDP will be displayed as a waypoint when using GPS procedure holding patterns. a A teardrop or parallel entry applies to both the missed ap equipment to identify fixes. proach and alternate missed approach hold. b The alternate missed approach hold is a mandatory part of 8. A circling approach is not authorized ____ the approach procedure when implemented by NOTAM. a to Runway 14. c The alternate missed approach hold may be rejected by pi b when vessels taller than 144 ft are present. c for aircraft circling at airspeeds of 140 kts or greater to lots if it is assigned by ATC after the approach is initiated. d The aircraft is holding on the 030° radial from BOS when Runways 4L and 15R. d west of Runways 4L and 15R for aircraft circling at air- performing either the missed approach or alternate missed approach hold. speeds of 140 kts or greater.

14  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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Answers to TC 1/21 questions 1.

a The procedure title (ILS or LOC) states the equipment required to fly the final approach segment. Procedural note 1 in the Briefing Strip indicates that DME or radar is required. However, according to AIM 1-1-17, GPS may be used in lieu of DME on IFR terminal procedures. Note 2 indicates that RNAV 1-GPS or radar is required for procedure entry.

2.

b, c AC 90-100A, US Terminal and En Route Area Navigation (RNAV) Operations, states that RNAV 1 equipment must have a total system error of not more than 1.0 nm for 95% of the total flight time. Cross-track error/deviation is limited to 0.5 nm. RNAV 2 total system error is not more than 2 nm for 95% of the total flight time. RNAV 1 or RNAV 2 equipment does not require the pilot to monitor ground-based navaids used in position updating unless required by the Airplane Flight Manual, the Pilot’s Operating Handbook, or the avionics operating manual.

3. d AC 90-100A states that “pilots must use a lateral deviation indicator (or equivalent navigation map display), flight director and/or autopilot in lateral navigation mode on RNAV 1 routes.” Note 1 in the landing minimums section indicates that the minimum visibility of RVR 24 – required when the runway touchdown zone lighting and centerline lighting are inoperative (TDZ/CL out) – may be reduced to “RVR 18 with Flight Director or Autopilot or HUD to DA.”   4. b AIM 5-4-5 states that “interception and tracking of the glideslope prior to the published glideslope interception altitude does not necessarily ensure that minimum, maximum, and/or mandatory altitudes published for any preceding fixes will be complied with during the descent.” If pilots choose to track the glideslope prior to the glideslope interception altitude, they remain responsible for complying with published altitudes for any stepdown fixes. 5. b AIM 5-4-7 states that, while being radar vectored, the pilot, when an approach clearance is received, must maintain the last assigned altitude until the aircraft is established on a segment of the approach procedure. After the aircraft is established, published altitudes apply to descent within each succeeding route or approach segment unless a different altitude is assigned by ATC. In this case, the aircraft may descend to a minimum altitude of 3000 ft MSL and, after NABBO, to 1700 ft MSL. 6. a, c A descent from WINNI IF at 4000 ft MSL to 1700 ft MSL at MILTT results in an altitude loss of 2300 ft over 10 nm (as shown on the profile view), which is a loss of 230 ft/nm. At WINNI IF, the approach course changes from 036° to 035°.

PR-RH Terminal Checklist 1-21 lyt.indd 16

FAA Information for Operators (inFO) bulletin 11009 states that, for all practical purposes, the glideslope remains stationary regardless of atmospheric temperature and pressure. However, stepdown fixes are published to fly using indicated altitude, which varies with temperature and pressure changes. Therefore, the proximity of stepdown fixes in reference to the glideslope changes with the weather.

7. b AC 120-108, Continuous Descent Final Approach (CDFA), states that a CDFA requires the use of a published vertical descent angle (VDA) or barometric vertical guidance (in this case, the glideslope angle of 3.00°) but does not require specific training or aircraft equipment. According to AIM 1-1-17, GPS can be used in lieu of DME on IFR terminal procedures. However, a published visual descent point (VDP) is not included in the waypoint sequence and normal piloting techniques for beginning the visual descent, such as along-track distance (ATD), should be used. 8. a, d A note in the Circle-to-Land minimums section states “Not Authorized to Rwy 14.” Note 3 applies maximum circling airspeeds of 140 kts and 165 kts, and indicates that circling is not authorized west of Runways 4L and 15R. 9.

b, d, e The landing minimums section includes separate minimums when the control tower reports tall vessels in the approach area. For the ILS approach, the DA increases from 218 ft MSL to 374 ft MSL, and the minimum visibility increases to RVR 40 or ¾ sm. For the localizer approach, the MDA stays the same, but the minimum visibilities for Category A and B aircraft increase. Note 1 indicates that the ILS approach is not authorized if vessels are taller than 144 ft. Procedural note 4 in the Briefing Strip indicates that the minimum visibility for helicopters may not be reduced below RVR 40 or ¾ sm. According to AIM 10-1-2, helicopters flying non-Copter approaches may reduce the minimum visibility to not less than ½ the published Category A landing visibility minima, or ¼ sm visibility/1200 RVR, whichever is greater, unless the procedure is annotated that the visibility reduction is not authorized.

10. b According to AIM 5-4-21, the alternate missed approach procedure is mandatory when implemented by NOTAM. ATC may also issue a clearance for the alternate missed approach when necessary. If ATC issues the clearance prior to beginning the approach, the pilot must either accept the entire procedure (including the alternate missed approach), request a different approach procedure, or coordinate with ATC for alternative action to be taken (eg, proceed to an alternate airport). The missed approach holding pattern is on the 030° radial from BOS, and a teardrop or parallel entry applies. The alternate missed approach hold is on the 145° radial from MHT and a direct entry applies.

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18  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

Autopilots Automation reduces pilot workload, but keeping sharp flying skills is paramount to avoid surprises.

Briefing when and where to use the autopilot, and to what degree, can increase situational awareness and decrease workload.

By Shannon Forrest President, Turbine Mentor ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605, Gulfstream IV, MU2B

P

ilots have mixed feelings when it comes to autopilot systems. At the professional level of experience, they generally harbor 1 of 3 philosophies. The first genre is the “hand flyers,” or those who prefer to use the autopilot as little as possible and would rather spend their time operating the flight controls manually. If you ask a hand flyer to explain this preference, you’ll get a myriad reasons. A few express outright distrust of the automation. Often, there’s a “war story” forever embedded in a pilot’s psyche, underpinning a belief that the autopilot will inevitably behave badly. Other pilots proclaim they just love to fly and they’re going to do it as much as possible. Sometimes, the only thing that forces the hand flyer to relinquish control to the computer is regulation or policy. For example, the RVSM requirement of having an autoflight system engaged upon climbing through FL290 overrules any desire to do otherwise.

The second group is the “part-timers,” or, more appropriately, the “10/1 club.” A pilot in this category chooses to hand fly from takeoff to 10,000 ft on the climb out, and from 1000 ft to the surface on the descent. There’s some subtle variation in the altitudes, but the general theory holds. The 10/1 pilots tend to be proficiency-oriented and focused on maintaining some level of hand flying skills. They like to remain in control during what they deem to be more dynamic flight segments, while leaving the less work-intensive portion to the autopilot. If the autopilot is engaged below 10,000 ft, it’s common for members of the 10/1 club to rest their hands on or near the flight controls. Lastly, there are the “99 percenters.” These pilots are perfectly comfortable (and even prefer) having the autopilot remain on as long as possible. Some even wish the autopilot had the ability to taxi to and from the runway on its own, which would make them 100 percenters if that were possible. On takeoff, a 99 percenter turns the autopilot on after the landing gear leaves the runway, and it stays on until 200 ft above the ground when landing.

It’s always interesting when pilots with differing autopilot philosophies operate together as a crew. The hand flyers and 99 percenters couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. If a 99 percenter is functioning as the pilot monitoring, the atmosphere can become tense as workload increases with the autopilot off. The pressure really boils over when a pilot decides to hand fly a complex RNAV departure like the BOOCK 3 out of DCA (National, Washington DC). This practice always puts a 99 percenter on edge, as he thinks, “Is this guy going to hit the published altitudes, speeds, and turns within the tolerance? Why not just let the autopilot fly this thing?” On the other hand, nothing irks a diehard hand flyer more than looking over at a 99 percenter with his hands on his lap and feet on the floor – and seemingly happy as can be – as the autopilot tracks the ILS down to minimums in instrument conditions.

Photo by Rafael Henriquez

A mixed flightcrew

It’s a generational thing Generational disparity also affects automation philosophy. Some 30 years ago, hand flying was the norm, so it was extremely rare to see an autopilot in a general aviation (GA) training aircraft. If one did, it rarely worked, and flight schools didn’t want to pay to fix them, marking them instead with an “inoperative” sticker. Many pilots who are still out there flying took instrument check rides that consisted of a hand flown Non-Directional Beacon (NDB), followed by a missed approach into a hold at the same NDB. The real “hard core” of the bunch will also point out that the Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) in the aircraft was a fixed card, not the slightly more advanced – but still archaic by today’s standards – Radio Magnetic Indicator (RMI). For those who remember, the RMI took the instruction of “when the in-

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Photo courtesy Garmin

The Garmin GFC 600 is configured with an LVL button that returns the aircraft to straight and level with one push.

tercept angle equals the deflection,” and replaced it with “push the head, pull the tail.” In theory, the RMI simplified the approach. If these terms and phrases are completely foreign, consider yourself lucky. In a world dominated by GPS, the NDB is now relegated to “Not Da Best.” Nowadays, most professional pilots – especially those in university programs – will learn to fly in a technologically advanced aircraft in which the autopilot plays a central role. The infamous NDB approach has been replaced by a fully coupled precision LPV. Pilots exposed to automation early on will continue to rely heavily on it throughout their flying career – or at least that’s what the law of primacy tells us. They also seem to trust the autopilot more than those who remember the rudimentary and less dependable devices of the past. The good news is that modern autopilot technology is remarkably stable, and retrofit options can enhance reliability.

Autopilot categorization

Offerings from manufacturers One of the more classic attitude units that’s being replaced with better technology (likely to be encountered in light to mid-sized twins) is the King KFC200. It consists of a large rocker switch to set climb/descent rate, 6 oversized push buttons to engage a mode, and a lever to turn the box on and off. Undoubtedly, King autopilots are

faded and chipped from years of use, but there’s hope. The BendixKing AeroCruze 230 Advanced Autopilot is a form-fit replacement for original KFC150 and KFC200 units. BendixKing, a division of Honeywell, has a suggested retail price of $9800 for its AeroCruze 230, exclusive of installation, although it does allow owners to reuse existing servos and wiring to reduce costs. This off-the-shelf product is considered a 3-axis autopilot, and a yaw dampener is available separately. It’s capable of coupled approaches and altitude preselect, and it has a unique feature that addresses mode confusion and unusual attitudes – a button that, when pressed, returns the aircraft to straight and level. This system will be especially popular with the iPad crowd because it’s controlled via a touchscreen. Honeywell is often associated with fly-by-wire systems for Part 23 and transport category aircraft. However, when it comes to auto flight systems, the manufacturer’s offerings run the gamut. In July 2019, Honeywell acquired TruTrak Flight Systems, which specialized in autopilots for the experimental aircraft market. Another provider of autopilots for new and legacy aircraft is Garmin.

Photo courtesy BendixKing

Autopilots can be categorized as either a standalone system or part of an integrated avionics package. How much control the device has is

reflected in autopilot nomenclature. A single-axis autopilot (sometimes called a wing leveler) controls only roll. Combined roll and pitch are denoted as a 2-axis autopilot. Adding yaw (or more accurately yaw dampening) makes an autopilot a 3-axis device. In all cases, the autopilot must be able to determine the current state of the aircraft and what the pilot wants the state to be. It achieves this in 1 of 2 ways – by sampling rate from a turn coordinator, or attitude from a gyro or digital Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS). Standalone autopilots are more likely to be installed in aircraft no longer in production, whereas new aircraft are likely to see autopilots embedded in a bigger avionics package.

The BendixKing AeroCruze 230 is the only autopilot in the market that is controlled by a touch screen. Altitude is set using a knob.

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Automation and CRM Collins Aerospace provides integrated FMSs for business, military, and GA aircraft. Pictured is the company’s FCS-7000 Flight Control System.

The Garmin GFC 600 Digital Autopilot is designed for aftermarket installation on a wide range of single- and multi-engine GA aircraft. Certification is currently under way for the King Air 90, Cessna Citation CJ (525) series, and Pilatus PC-12. Manufacturer’s suggested retail base price (exclusive of installation) is $19,995. When coupled with a suitable navigation source, it can fly holds, procedure turns, missed approaches, and, of course, precision and non-precision approaches. The GFC 600 also includes some noteworthy safety features. Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP), for example, uses autopilot servos, but functions independently to recover from pitch or roll deviations that exceed a prescribed limit. According to Garmin, the technology will “gently nudge the controls toward stable flight.” In a worst-case scenario, like pilot incapacitation, the aircraft will return to level flight through flight director and autopilot engagement. ESP is just one part of the Autonomí family of products developed by Garmin. The most impressive offering in the Autonomí line is the Garmin Autoland, which received FAA certification for the G3000 integrated flight deck in 2020. The G3000 Autoland is available in the Piper M600, Cirrus Vision Jet, and Daher TBM 940. With the press of a single button, the Autoland calculates variables, including range, runway length, terrain, and type of instrument approach, and uses the 22

data to return the aircraft safely to the ground.

Newer developments The industry has come a long way from the days of trying to give a nervous passenger an ad-hoc flying lesson over the radio after a pilot has had a heart attack in flight. For decades, airlines have had autoland capability, but that’s not the same thing as the autonomous landing performance currently being developed by avionics manufacturers. Autoland has always relied on pilot monitoring and intervention if something goes wrong. Autonomous landing is based on enough safeguards and redundancies that a pilot is removed from the control loop. Collins Aerospace even demonstrated that a McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet could be landed autonomously with 80% of its wing missing. Given where aviation technology is headed, using the term “autopilot” might even be doing manufacturers a disservice. A more appropriate term is flight management, which is more about a philosophy than a device. Universal Avionics developed the first Flight Management System (FMS) in 1982. At the time, controlling an aircraft by means of a few keystrokes seemed ludicrous. With any new technology come problems and, accordingly, mismanagement issues contributed to a string of incidents and accidents early on. First-generation FMSs were navigation-focused

There’s no doubt that having an autopilot is desirable. When Lawrence Sperry invented it just 9 years after the Wright brothers took flight, it saw immediate use, especially on longrange flights. The question that must be asked is: What level of automation is appropriate? From a strictly Crew Resource Management (CRM) standpoint, the stock answer is: Whatever the pilot feels most comfortable with. However, there’s a caveat in a crewed airplane. In this case, perhaps the most appropriate level of automation is what’s best for the crew under the current conditions. Keeping hand flying skills sharp is important, but so is keeping a civil relationship with the other crew member. Willingness to speak up is critical if a pilot feels the level of automation is inappropriate for the situation. No one wants to be surprised by the “cavalry charge” aural alert of an autopilot being disconnected on an approach to minimums, so briefing whether the autopilot will be used – and to what degree – goes a long way toward increasing situational awareness and decreasing workload. When in doubt between being a hand flyer and a 99 percenter, it’s always a safe bet to split the difference and join the 10/1 club, even if the membership is only temporary.

Photo courtesy Collins Aerospace

and not quite human-factor friendly. Today, both the Universal Avionics and Collins Aerospace FMSs use a multitude of inputs, such as terrain awareness, to enhance situational awareness and increase safety. Controller–Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) is a great example of a relatively new technology incorporated within the FMS to eliminate miscommunication. Thirty years ago, the thought of receiving an air traffic control clearance – and sending it to the aircraft with a push of a button – was unheard of. Things have changed for the better.

Shannon Forrest is a current line pilot, CRM facilitator, and aviation safety consultant. He has over 10,000 hours and holds a degree in behavioral psychology.

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assault unveiled its new business jet, the Falcon 6X, during an online event streamed on December 8, 2020 from the company’s Charles Lindbergh Hall, in Bordeaux-Merignac, France. The Falcon 6X rollout, hosted by TV journalist Miles O’Brien, featured Dassault Aviation Chairman & CEO Eric Trappier and Civil Aircraft Sr Exec VP Carlos Brana, and included interviews and videos in a set that had the Falcon 6X in the background. The new Falcon 6X is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney PW812D engines that enable a top speed of Mach .90 and a max range of 5500-nm (10,186 km). For the passengers, an ultra widebody offers more space

Photos courtesy Dassault Aviation

Dassault Falcon 6X rollout

to sit or stand, plus the flexibility to configure the aft cabin to the passengers’ specific needs with enough room for both work and relaxation areas. And for the pilots, the 6X sports the latest generation of Dassault’s EASy III avionics suite, with the FalconEye Combined Vision System. The 6X is backed by Dassault’s worldwide support network, including AOG solution FalconResponse and aircraft health monitoring system FalconScan. Certification is expected in 2022, with entry into service later the same year.

Potential pre-departure Covid testing coming for intl ops

N

BAA reports that FAA and CDC officials indicate that a policy is imminent to expand pre-departure Covid-19 testing requirements to all US arrivals from international locations. The new policy will affect international bizjet travelers, and NBAA expects it to reflect a mandate for commercial passengers arriving from the UK to show a negative Covid test from within 3 days of departure. Exemptions are expected for crew members, children under 2 years, emergency air ambulance flights, and military and law enforcement personnel carrying out orders.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2021 23

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I What are the top 3 upgrades that you would like to have in your aircraft? What specific equipment/ model do you want installed in your aircraft? Explain why.

F

lying a Gulfstream G550 has been a great experience. However, the 3 upgrades that I consider would be helpful are synthetic vision system (SVS) to augment the head-up display (HUD), and enhanced flight vision system (EFVS). Faster Internet connectivity is also desirable. And, lastly, a larger crew rest area for long international flights. Troy Moore ATP. Gulfstream G550 Senior Captain Colleen Corp Nottingham PA

W

hile wholly unnecessary for an airplane like the Pilatus PC-12, FADEC and autothrottle would be fun to have, and would reduce pilot workload just enough to be noticeable. On the PC-12

’d like the owner of the Citation CJ2 that I fly to install Tamarack active winglets for the performance increase and the cool ramp presence. And, since most pilots are gadget people, a Garmin G3000 would be nice in the CJ2 or my Citation Encore+. Lastly, Wi-Fi in the airplane would be fantastic, even though it would be difficult to justify the cost. Kevin Weilein ATP/CFII. Citation CJ2/Encore+/ Westwind I/Cessna 310 & Piper Navajo Chief Pilot Corporate Aviation Services/ Silverado Aviation Angola IN

C

ould use a couple of improvements for our Falcon 2000 – for example, LED landing lights and nav lights, which last longer and are brighter. In the cockpit, I’d add HUDs with EFVS for better situational awareness. Ray Sparks ATP/CFII. Falcon 2000 Aviation Mgr The Cafaro Co Vienna OH

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FalconEye Combined Vision System (CVS)

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assault’s FalconEye combined vision system (CVS) HUD is what I’d like to see in the Falcon 6X, which is coming into service soon. It improves situational awareness in all weather conditions and RNP AR approaches. Bill Chambers ATP. Falcon 2000LX & Hawker 900XP Sr Jet Pilot Aerolíneas Argentinas Calgary AB, Canada

Image courtesy Dassault Aviation

NGX, the Pratt & Whitney PT6E comes with both, making 2 for 1! Also quite unnecessary would be a spoiler system, but the addition could make the PC-12 a super-short-runway capable machine, adding to its already remarkable performance numbers. Maxwell Maroney Comm-Multi-Inst. Pilatus PC-12 Dir of Training Tradewing Aviation Danbury CT

I

’d like to see an updated flight management system (FMS) providing better interface with information presented on the nav display. David Shafer ATP. Embraer ERJ135 Captain Contour Airlines Moss Beach CA

C

ollins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion upgrade for our Citation CJ3 is what I’d like to see. This modern suite will enable us to fly with better situational awareness. Brett Mahlo ATP. Citation CJ3 Chief Pilot Divair Canobolas NSW, Australia

I

t’ll be phenomenal to have ADS-B In, and automatic transmission of engine trend data to the tracking company. Also, I’d also like to have consistent, reliable, affordable Internet service that works worldwide. Jeff LaSalle ATP/A&P. Gulfstream V Chief Pilot REG Equipment Alexandria LA

24  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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Photo courtesy Garmin

Image courtesy Raisbeck Engineering

Squawk Ident

Garmin G1000NXi

U

pgrades for my King Air B350i would start with the Garmin G1000NXi suite to increase capabilities and situational awareness. I’d upgrade the engines to Blackhawk XP67As to improve performance at altitude. Finally, I’d upgrade to Raisbeck’s composite 5-blade swept propellers for shorter takeoff and landing distances, higher climb rates, and quieter operation. In addition to the improvements specified, all these mods would increase aircraft value. Carlo Cesa ATP. King Air B350i/B350ER Captain B350 & Contract Pilot SPECAV Nyon, Switzerland

M

y preference would be to start upgrading the P&WC PT6A engines powering our King Air 350i. Also, I’d like an electric freon air compressor that can run on a GPU. And, regarding avionics, if I didn’t have Collins Pro Line Fusion, I’d add the Garmin G1000 package. Jon Norman ATP. King Air 350i Av Dept Mgr Central Management Alexandria LA

I

operate a Falcon 10, and, if I had the chance of upgrading it, I’d choose a glass cockpit using a variety of multifunction displays (MFDs) to simplify operation and navigation. I’d also improve the heater and air conditioning systems, and I’d have reclining seats installed. Kenneth Gonsalves ATP/Falcon 10 Captain Flightexec Mississauga ON, Canada

Raisbeck’s Ram Air Recovery System (RARS)

I

R

T

F

’d begin with avionics, upgrading to Universal FMS UNS-1L or better. This way, we’d operate a newer system, and have superior performance and updated navigation capabilities. I’d also like to have Wi-Fi installed in our aircraft from Gogo or another similar company in order to allow connectivity for both pilots and passengers. Gary Nickell ATP. Sabreliner 65 Pilot Fitness Management Grand Rapids MI

here are a few upgrades that I’d like to see in our aircraft. First, an ergonomic cockpit. Second, more cargo space. Third, cup holders. And fourth, better sights and optics. Patrick Montgomery Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/A&P. Boeing AH-64D/E Chief Test Pilot Murder Inc El Paso TX

A

utothrottles would be my choice of upgrade for the reduction in workload. The Phenom 300 almost got a rudimentary version. There is a CSC button on the autopilot control panel, but I’ve never heard an authoritative explanation as to why it was abandoned. Another improvement would be automated calculation of V-speeds, weight and balance, and takeoff/landing distance in our Garmin G3000. These are workload-reducing features available in many other aircraft. Mac Tichenor ATP. Phenom 300 Owner & President Tichenor Ventures Dallas TX

aisbeck’s ram air recovery system (RARS), together with the enhanced performance leading edges (EPLE) kit, are the upgrades I’d have for the King Air B200 that I fly. They would improve climb and cruise performance in all conditions. I’d also consider adding the Garmin autopilot once it’s certified. Charles Hackett Comm-Multi-Inst. King Air B200 Chief Pilot Blue Sevens Denton TX irst, I’d like to see EFVS-to-land capability in my Falcon 2000LX. It would mean a better chance of landing under low ceilings. Second, inflight Internet connectivity would be extremely helpful. It’d be good for both passenger productivity and crew flexibility. Other than that, I’m very pleased with my current aircraft configuration. Enio Beal ATP. Falcon 2000LX Captain Coteminas Brasília, Brazil

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y upgrade preference for my Challenger 300 would be Collins Pro Line 21 Advanced. It would save time and reduce pilot workload and operating costs. However, in order to have Pro Line 21 Advanced, I’d need the dual-channel integrated flight information system (IFIS). I’d also add MultiScan weather radar to make operations safer for crew and passengers in case of severe weather. John Rempel ATP. Challenger 300 Operations Mgr Flight North Holdings Winnipeg MB, Canada

26  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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Photo courtesy Collins Aerospace

Squawk Ident

SiriusXM Weather

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aving the opportunity to upgrade my aircraft, I’d start by installing winglets and propeller and nacelle enhancements so as to improve speed. I’d also add SiriusXM Weather and ADS-B In for traffic only. Dale Schneider ATP/CFI. TBM 900 & Bell 407 Dir of Operations ARC Aviation Durham SC

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’d improve my Gulfstream G650ER by adding more range, better crew rest area, and, finally, SVS with EFVS on a HUD. Greg Woods ATP. Gulfstream G650ER Senior Dir Aviation Qualcomm St Louis MO

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alconEye CVS is the first upgrade that I’d install in the aircraft we operate. It allows pilots to have exceptional situational awareness. Another addition for my aircraft would be fast, inexpensive Internet connectivity that works globally, even in oceanic or remote areas. Joseph Giles ATP/CFII/A&P. Falcon 7X/900EX Aviation Dir & Chief Pilot Corporate Cowboy Jet Honolulu HI

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e operate a Gulfstream G450 and a G280 in our flight department. I feel that upgrading to SVS would be a great improvement for our operations. Stephen Kosiarski ATP/A&P. Gulfstream G450/ G280 Chief Pilot Dominion Energy Richmond VA

Collins Pro Line Fusion

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ot a believer in full automation for aircraft. Automation is intended to ease pilot workload, not to take over from the pilot. Hence, upgrades I would favor are easier flightplan data input, because current platforms are still time-consuming. Another improvement would be expansion of TCAS coverage. With higher speeds, distances become effectively shorter, making longer-range TCAS desirable. Lastly, the cost of connectivity in the air needs to come down so as to make Internet access available for all aircraft. Bee Ngak Tong ATP. Citation Sovereign & Learjet 60 Captain Seletar Jet Charter Singapore, Singapore

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f I had the chance to upgrade my aircraft, I would start by enhancing Wi-Fi connectivity. Also, I’d have installed the Garmin G5000 integrated flight deck. And, lastly, I’d renew my aircraft’s look by having it painted. Peter Van Weele ATP. Citation Excel/Sovereign Chief Pilot Brown & Brown Port Orange FL

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y preferred upgrades would be improved Wi-Fi connectivity for domestic ops, and more widely available satellite-based international coverage. Finally, more advanced avionics to make flights safer and more comfortable. Mark Conrad ATP. Gulfstream G550/G450/ G-V/G-IV/G200 & Challenger 601 President, Consultant & Captain MPC Aviation Services Allen TX

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pgrading my King Air 350 with Collins Pro Line Fusion would improve situational awareness. I find the Pro Line Fusion to be outstanding avionics equipment. M Abah ATP/CFII. Citation CJ3 & King Air 350 Aviation Mgr Lasaik Yaoundé, Cameroon

T

op 3 upgrades that I’d like to have in our Gulfstream G200 are HUDs to make operations much easier for pilots. Second, better satellite signal and high-speed Internet would benefit pilots and passengers alike. And finally, more staff, like full-time flight attendants. Lance Offill ATP. Gulfstream G200 Jet Aviation Lead Captain Allen TX

U

pgrades that I’d like to see in my Hawker 400XP are Garmin’s G5000 integrated flight deck. Also, upgrades on the pair of P&W JT15Ds turbofans that power our plane, and winglets to improve aircraft performance. Harvey Meharry ATP. Hawker 400XP Chief Pilot Smile Rusk TX

I

’d be very pleased if our aircraft could get an interior cabin update, newer avionics, and exterior paint. Joseph Marthaler ATP. Learjet 60 Dir of Ops Jet Air Shelbyville KY

28  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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© 2020 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

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2021 AVIONICS PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY

1 Garmin, 2 Universal Avionics, 3 Collins Aerospace, 4 Honeywell Garmin is 1st for 17 yrs, Universal 2nd for 13 yrs, Collins 3rd for 13 yrs, and Honeywell 4th for 5 yrs. Operators sent back a total of 614 survey forms – an 8% return. Survey results based on 611 line evaluations. Pro Pilot Staff Report Data compiled by Conklin & de Decker

A

vionics OEMs continue to work hard to bring innovative and reliable products to the cockpit which enhance safety and facilitate operations. Product support from the manufacturer is an important factor in this equation, and enables successful operations with no interruptions. For the 26th year, Pro Pilot asked operators to rate avionics manufacturers and share their experience of OEM assistance by means of its 2021 Avionics Product Support Survey. Ranking and narrative commentaries follow. Garmin keeps the crown for the 17th year, obtaining an overall score of 8.66 – an increase of 0.19 from last year’s score of 8.47. Garmin places 1st in all survey categories with improved scores this year. Best category increase was in tech

reps, with 8.68 this year, compared to the 8.32 score received in 2020. Garmin’s Aviation Support Center is ready to answer any questions and provide solutions to help operators complete their missions.

0.65 increase is also the biggest in the entire survey. Universal also had a significant improvement in manuals or CDs, with a score of 8.04 this year – a boost of 0.41 from 7.63 in 2020. Universal Avionics operates a worldwide network of regional offices, FSRs, service centers, and repair stations to solve issues and answer operators’ questions. And UniNet, the company’s online service center, makes available navigation databases and downloads, tech manuals and publications, support requests, online training, and invoice payments, while also providing solutions to other operator needs.

Universal Avionics receives 2nd for the 13th consecutive year, earning an overall score of 8.33 – an improvement from 8.21 in 2020. Universal obtains the 2nd spot in all survey categories, except for speed in AOG service, where it places 3rd. Best category score increase was in cost of parts, with 7.39 this year, compared to 6.74 in 2020. This

Avionics OEM overall score Manufacturer

Responses

Product reliability

Speed in AOG service

2021

2020

Dif

2021

2020

Dif

Garmin

191

9.32

9.18

0.14

8.71

8.51

0.20

Universal

63

9.11

9.16

-0.05

8.18

8.54

-0.36

Collins Aerospace

160

8.91

8.84

0.07

8.39

8.38

0.01

Honeywell

161

8.71

8.57

0.14

8.06

8.06

0.00

2021 Professional Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

8

7.90 7.68 7.78 7.76 8.04 8.17 8.22 8.15 8.34 8.16 8.10 7.88 7.81 8.05 8.11 8.20 8.23 8.14 8.16 8.20 8.29 8.25 8.22 8.02 8.21 8.33

6.68 7.87 7.52 8.03 7.48 7.84 7.92 8.31 8.21 8.51 8.26 8.42 8.51 8.27 8.55 8.47 8.53 8.51 8.44 8.50 8.56 8.47 8.61 8.47 8.66

10

Garmin

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

2013 2014

2011 2012

2008 2009 2010

2006

2001 2002 2005

2000

1998 1999

1995 1996 1997

1994

1993

2018 2019 2020 2021

2015 2016 2017

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

2005 2006 2008 2009

2002

1999 2000 2001

1998

0

1997

2

1995 1996

4

Not rated in 1993

6

1994

Comparison of overall average scores

26 years of surveys

Universal

30  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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Collins Aerospace retains the 3rd position for the 13th year in a row. Overall score this year is 7.98, compared to 7.88 in 2020. Collins places 2nd in speed in AOG service, and 3rd in product reliability, tech reps, and support from manufacturer. This OEM’s best category increase is in manuals or CDs, with a score of 7.67 – up 0.30 from 7.37 from 2020. Collins Customer Service global service networks, as well as the Collins Aerospace Portal and UTC Aerospace Systems Customer Portal, are available 24/7 to deliver the necessary support from technical publications and bulletins, account information, order status, up-to-date information, and services.

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

Overall ranking 8.66

Garmin

191 8.33

Universal

Honeywell rounds out the survey by taking 4th place. Overall score this year is 7.87 – up 0.23 from 7.64 in 2020 – and represents the largest overall score increase in the survey. Honeywell takes 3rd spot in both the cost of parts and manuals or CDs categories. Best category increase was achieved in manuals or CDs, with a 7.93 score – a difference of 0.58 from 7.35 last year, and the 2nd biggest category improvement in the entire survey. It also demonstrated a notable improvement in tech reps, with a score of 8.25 this year – up 0.42 from the 7.83 earned in 2020. Honeywell is available to provide technical support and customer assistance, and to solve AOG situations. Honeywell’s Aerospace Portal enables operators to access solutions to continue flying.

63

Collins Aerospace

7.98 160 7.87

Honeywell

161

0

2

4

6

Overall ranking

8

10

Responses

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

comparisons 2021 vs 2020 Manufacturer

Cost of parts

Manuals or CDs

Tech reps

Support from manufacturer

Overall scores

2021

2020

Dif

2021

2020

Dif

2021

2020

Dif

2021

2020

Dif

2021

2020

Dif

Garmin

7.88

7.76

0.12

8.57

8.46

0.11

8.68

8.32

0.36

8.78

8.60

0.18

8.66

8.47

0.19

Universal

7.39

6.74

0.65

8.04

7.63

0.41

8.60

8.54

0.06

8.66

8.64

0.02

8.33

8.21

0.12

Collins Aerospace

6.17

6.14

0.03

7.67

7.37

0.30

8.38

8.35

0.03

8.33

8.20

0.13

7.98

7.88

0.10

Honeywell

6.49

6.23

0.26

7.93

7.35

0.58

8.25

7.83

0.42

7.76

7.81

-0.05

7.87

7.64

0.23

based on information collected from operators during 2020

Collins Aerospace

* No survey was conducted for 2003 and 2007.

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

2013 2014

2011 2012

2008 2009 2010

2006

2001 2002 2005

2000

1998 1999

1995 1996 1997

1994

7.60 7.64 7.59 7.73 7.73 7.88 7.83 7.52 7.71 7.67 7.80 7.55 7.47 7.63 7.62 7.60 7.35 7.52 7.60 7.57 7.67 7.61 7.58 7.46 7.64 7.87

Data for the 2005 survey was collected in 2004.

1993

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021

2015

2011 2012 2013 2014

2008 2009 2010

2006

2001 2002 2005

2000

1998 1999

1995 1996 1997

1994

1993

7.70 7.66 7.78 7.68 7.82 7.95 7.96 7.74 7.62 7.93 7.81 7.49 8.07 7.92 8.08 7.98 8.05 8.09 8.10 8.12 8.02 8.06 8.00 7.92 7.88 7.98

Avionics rated 1993–2021*

Honeywell

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021  31

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Garmin

G

V

I

G

B

T

H

ave had a nice experience operating the Garmin GTN 750 and GWX 70 installed in our Falcon 10. Just can’t beat Garmin products! Bill White Comm-Multi-Inst. Falcon 10 Chief Pilot Keller Companies Manchester NH

Garmin Intl Dir of Aviation Support Lee Moore can be called on 913-397-8200. His e-mail is lee.moore@garmin. com.

P

rodigy Touch avionics suite for the Phenom 300E is superb, and it’s backed up by great product support. Garmin provides very reliable systems, and AOG parts are normally available in stock. Luke Krepsky ATP/CFII. Embraer Phenom 300 Manager & Captain Exec Aire Stevens Point WI

I

find the Garmin G5000 to be an amazing flightdeck. It’s reliable and lightweight, it gives off low heat, and it’s easy to use. Darin Beyer ATP/CFI. Beechjet 400A Flight Dept Mgr Data Recognition Rochester MN

A

ftersale product support provided by Garmin has been excellent. Technical service received via phone has been especially good. Ron Shintaku ATP. Cessna 206/182 Captain State of California La Verne CA

ery impressed with the Garmin G500H, GTN 750 and GTN 650 in our MD500E helicopter. They more than meet the needs of our aviation unit. And these avionics are extremely reliable. James Sineath ATP/Helo/CFII. MD500E Aviation Consultant Falcon Flight Lee’s Summit MO armin’s phone support is very good and helpful. Reps helped us solve a download problem over the phone, which took about 10 minutes in the plane. Karl Steuk ATP. Piper PA-28 Cherokee Contract Pilot Middle Bass OH

he Garmin G5000 in our Citation Sovereign+ works very well. It has a nice cockpit presentation. On the other hand, I believe that Garmin’s customer service via phone could be better. James Skelton ATP. Citation Sovereign+ Chief Pilot & Manager JD Stauffer Castle Rock CO

armin can be a little slow to acknowledge issues. However, once they’re convinced that shortcomings in their systems are not pilot error issues, tech reps resolve them very quickly and thoroughly. Nigel Catterall Pvt-Inst. Daher TBM 700A Contract Pilot Sugar Land TX

n my opinion, Garmin avionics are magnificent. I have the GTN 750 and GTN 650 installed in my King Air 200, and I couldn’t be happier with them! Charles Hackett Comm-Multi-Inst. King Air 200 Chief Pilot Blue Sevens Denton TX

oth the Garmin GNS 530W and GNS 430W installed in our Citation II have provided us great dispatch reliability and trouble-free line operations use. We’re satisfied with the support received from the OEM. Douglas Olson ATP/CFI. Citation II Captain Tri-State Drilling Buffalo MN ave had the Garmin G1000 suite installed in our 1991 King Air 350 for 5 years. System reliability has been excellent from day 1 with the system. Kenneth Keverline ATP. King Air 350 Chief Pilot Office of the President Chapin SC

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

Product reliability

Speed in AOG service

Garmin

9.32

Universal

9.11

8.91

Collins Aerospace

8.71

Honeywell 0

2

4

6

8

10

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

H

Garmin

8.71

Collins Aerospace

8.39

Universal

8.18

8.06

Honeywell 0

2

4

6

8

10

32  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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L

ove all the features of the G1000 avionics suite installed in our Phenom 100. It’s user-friendly and easy to operate. I’m also pleased with the aftersale product support we receive from Garmin. Dov Kribus ATP/CFII/A&P. Embraer Phenom 100 Pilot & Maintenance Coordinator Avery Aviation Management Laredo TX

I

n my opinion, Garmin G3000 is a good avionics system for the Phenom 300E. When Embraer releases the new software update, it will be even more capable, with additions like visual approaches to all airports. However, something that needs updating is the training manual. It’s severely out of date and has little value to the user. Ryan Blanchard ATP. Phenom 300 & King Air 350 Av Dept Mgr Luck Companies Glen Allen VA

G

armin does a real good job with its products. The G3000 installed in our Phenom 300 is very robust and user-friendly. Could use some improvements, but I think they know that and are working on them. Scott Durkee ATP/CFI. Embraer Phenom 300 & Legacy 450 President OnFlight Cincinnati OH

Universal Avionics Universal Avionics Dir Customer Services Robert Clare can be phoned at 520-295-2300 or 800-321-5253. His e-mail is rclare@uasc.com.

O

ur upgrade in the Citation V to a WAAS-capable Universal UNS, performed by Textron Service Center SMF (Sacramento CA), came off without a hitch. The new LPV-capable UNS has been working as advertised, and the FMS operational class offered by Universal as part of our upgrade is much appreciated. Bill Boggess ATP. Citation V Captain Allen Lund Co Placerville CA

U

niversal Avionics makes great equipment. We have UNS-1 FMS installed in our Sabreliner, and we’ve had a great experience with it. Glenn Michael ATP/CFII. Sabreliner 80, King Air 100 & Beechcraft Duke Aviation Mgr Aeropac Merrimack NH

W

e upgraded our King Air 350 in 2017 with the Universal UNS-1Lw. It’s very user-friendly and has every function that we need for the operation of our aircraft. Its reliability is fantastic. The unit we replaced was the UNS1K, so the transition was easy. Our UNS-1Lw is much easier to use than other units. John Bumpers ATP/Helo. King Air 350 Chief Pilot Saulsbury Aviation Midland TX

U

niversal Avionics has always provided state-of-the-art solutions that have kept our aircraft up to date with WAAS, LPV, FANS I/ A+, and ATN-B1. And the support received from Universal is always excellent. David Gifford ATP. Citation Bravo Managing Partner Gifford Laboratories Newton MA

V

ery pleased with the support received for our UNS-1K. And I find this system to be the best! Kenneth Gonsalves ATP. Falcon 10 Captain Flightexec Mississauga ON, Canada

Methodology

F

or the 26th year, Pro Pilot has used a questionnaire to ask aircraft operators to rate the quality of product support provided by avionics manufacturers. The survey form includes the following categories: product reliability, speed in AOG service, cost of parts, manuals or CDs, tech reps, and support from manufacturer. During Sep 2020, a targeted mailing of 7748 survey forms was sent out to a random selection of established qualified Pro Pilot readers. A total of 614 survey forms, representing an 8% return, came back to Pro Pilot‘s headquarters in Alexandria VA by the Dec 28, 2020 cutoff date. Only 1 form per participant was accepted. After review, a total of 451 survey forms met Pro Pilot criteria for inclusion in the survey. These forms provided 611 line evaluations that were used in the survey results. A total of 163 survey forms were disqualified due

to inconsistencies, significant errors, duplications, lack of information, or for rating hand-held units, rather than panel-mounted equipment. Pro Pilot requires a minimum of 30 evaluations to rank in the survey. This year Collins, Garmin, Honeywell, and Universal Avionics qualified for ranking and were included. Several other manufacturers received evaluations, although not enough to be included in this year’s survey. They were Aspen (3), Avidyne (16), Genesys/ Chelton & S-TEC (2), L3Harris (4), Meggitt (2), Sandel (3), Thales (2), and others (4). Respondents were asked to rate avionics manufacturers on a scale of 10 (excellent) to 1 (poor) for each category in the survey. Conklin & de Decker of Arlington TX, a JSSI company, acted as research agent and performed an independent data analysis.

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W

e have Collins Pro Line 21 installed in our King Air 350 and Hawker 850. And, in my opinion, it’s one of the most intuitive systems to use in flight. John McGhie ATP. Hawker 850 & King Air 350/200 Head of Training QGAir Brisbane QLD, Australia

Collins Aerospace Collins Aerospace Sr Dir Avionics Customer Support Laurie Carlton can be reached at 319-2951504. Her e-mail is laurie.carlton@ collins.com.

C

ollins product support is excellent. Our Citation CJ4 has the Pro Line 21 with the Collins FMS 3000. I find both systems simple and easy to use. Dave Bassignani ATP/CFII. Citation CJ4 Chief Pilot Golden State Lumber Petaluma CA

V

ery pleased with our Bombardier Vision Flight Deck by Collins Aerospace. I find it very intuitive and easy to use. Mark Yokers ATP. Global 6000/5000 Check Airman & Captain NetJets Hamilton OH

C

ur Challenger 605 has the Collins Pro Line 21 installed. It’s been very dependable and pretty much trouble-free. We’re pleased with it and have had few issues during the 8 years we’ve operated it. Mitchell Olbrys ATP/CFII. Challenger 605 Lead Captain Jet Aviation Victor NY

W

e upgraded our Challenger 604 to Collins Pro Line Fusion. The avionics package is excellent, but the company has been substantially late to provide performance data as part of the package, which is critical for all phases of flight. Collins continues to push out delivery dates for when this feature will be available to customers, but we need to have full functionality of the Pro Line Fusion suite. Joseph O’Connor ATP. Challenger 605/604 Dir of Aviation JCPE LLC Amston CT

transitioned from a King Air C90 Pro Line 21 avionics suite to a King Air 350i Pro Line Fusion, and support from Collins has been satisfactory. The Pro Line Fusion works well once patterns are developed for entering and obtaining information. Tim Bentley ATP. Global 5000 & King Air 350i Chief Pilot Old West Aviation Howell MI

P

ro Line Fusion brings an impressive amount of situational awareness to the single-pilot cockpit. And I’ve been very pleased with the support from Collins. I only wish our Pro Line Fusion also came with XM Satellite Radio for my listening pleasure. Patrick Merriman ATP. King Air 90 Corporate Pilot AHA Process Portland TX

R

arely do we have problems with the Pro Line 21 installed in our Gulfstream G150. However, when we encounter an issue, Collins is always available and resolves the problem quickly. I find their technical support amazing. David Bohr ATP/A&P. Gulfstream G150 Chief Pilot Executive Affiliates Yorkville IL

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

Cost of parts

Manuals or CDs

Garmin

7.88

7.39

Universal Honeywell

6.49

Collins Aerospace

6.17 0

2

4

6

8

10

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

ollins product support is generally very good. However, I wish parts and repairs for our Pro Line 4 and 21 weren’t so expensive. Greg Donegan ATP. Gulfstream G200 & Citation XLS+ Dir of Maintenance Cin Air Cincinnati OH

O

I

Garmin

8.57

Universal

8.04

Honeywell

7.93

Collins Aerospace

7.67 0

2

4

6

8

10

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Honeywell Honeywell Aerospace Business & General Aviation Dir of Customer and Product Support, Americas Megan Towne can be reached directly by phone at 602-3008593 or by e-mail at megan.towne@ honeywell.com. Honeywell’s Aerospace portal (aerospace.honeywell.com) allows users to contact customer support ex­perts, find their nearest support partner, and learn about upcoming operator conferences.

I

t’s clear that Honeywell has been focusing increasingly on its advisory Global Customer Committee (GCC). Working together has provided an approach to solving avionics issues with existing platforms, as well as defining new products and enhancements. Brent Keyes ATP. Gulfstream G550 Dir of Aviation Graham Capital Mgmt Bethel CT

H

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

aving Primus Epic PlaneView installed in our Gulfstream G550/ G450 has been great. I find it a good system and very reliable. James Gay ATP. Gulfstream G550/G450 Captain NetJets Bluffton SC

Job titles of survey respondents 26

R

eliability is what I find in our Primus Epic EASy. I think Honeywell has great products. I wish their products weren’t that expensive. Drew Oetjen A&P. Falcon 2000LXS/2000S Mgr of Aircraft Maintenance Union Pacific Railroad Omaha NE oneywell Primus Epic PlaneView installed in our Gulftream G550 is a solid, reliable system. And the support we have received from the OEM has been very good. Troy Moore ATP. Gulfstream G550 Senior Captain Colleen Corp Nottingham PA

W

e have a Honeywell SPZ-8000 avionics suite installed in our Falcon 900B. And even though it’s dated, it’s still very reliable. However, replacement modules are becoming scarce, and prices are rising. John Mottarella ATP/CFII. Falcon 900B Trishan Air Captain Santa Barbara CA

18

235

172

Aviation Dept Mgr, Chief Pilot, Dir of Aviation, Flight Ops Mgr or VP Operations

H

Captain, Line Captain, First Officer or other pilot Owner, Chief Executive, President, VP, General Mgr or other corporate officer Maintenance Chief, Maintenance Mgr or Mechanic

G

reat reliability is what I see in our Honeywell NZ-2000 and Primus Elite systems. We haven’t needed any service during 2020. I’ve had Honeywell products during my whole career, and tech reps have always been very attentive and ready to solve any issues. Love Honeywell! Jeff Lindstrom ATP. Falcon 900EX Captain Liberty Global Aviation Castle Rock CO

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

2021 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey

Tech reps

Support from manufacturer

Garmin

8.68

Universal

8.60

Collins Aerospace

8.38

8.25

Honeywell 0

2

4

6

8

10

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users

oneywell Primus Epic for the Falcon 2000EX EASy II is exceptional. We’ve had very few problems, and, when an issue arises, it’s usually resolved among tech reps and Honeywell’s call center within a day. Mark Jones ATP/A&P. Falcon 2000EX EASy II Dir of Aviation Neurosurgery and Endovascular Associates Milwaukee WI

H

Garmin

8.78

Universal

8.66

8.33

Collins Aerospace

7.76

Honeywell 0

2

4

6

8

10

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021  35

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H

oneywell produces a very reliable product in the Primus Epic installed in our Leonardo AW139s. And it’s very well supported by the manufacturer. Michael O’Brien ATP/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW139 AW139 Captain PHI Cantonment FL

T

he NZ-2000 unit installed in our Challenger 601 is a bulletproof box. It comes with fantastic aftersale product support. Lynn Allen ATP/CFII. Challenger 601 Chief Pilot Allen Aviation Waxahachie TX

W

e have a Primus Epic avionics system on our Leonardo AW139, and we’ve only received excellent service from Honeywell here in Mexico. Jorge Coll Espina Helo. Leonardo AW139 Maintenance Mgr Aeroservicios Especializados Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, Mexico

Avionics OEMs not scored

Of those manufacturers that were not ranked, Avidyne obtained the largest number of line evaluations (16). For this reason, the company’s customer support contact information is provided here.

Avidyne Avidyne Sr Dir of Sales & Customer Experience Bryan Kahl can be reached at 321751-8494, cell 321-506­-1541 or by e-mail using bkahl@avidyne.com. Customers can use the myavidyne.com custom portal, which presents the many services avail­able for Avidyne operators.

Lafollette Aero Chief Pilot Roger Russell is an ATP pilot with over 11,000 hrs logged. He’s had experience with Collins Aerospace and Garmin and expresses his levels of satisfaction with both manufacturers. Russell’s survey form is 1 of 614 received for the 2021 Avionics Mfrs Product Support Survey.

36  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021

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FLIGHT SAFETY

Remotely-operated control towers

Photo courtesy Searidge Technologies

Pilots and airport operations could benefit from the enhanced safety of ATC services without an at-airport physical tower.

A supervisor’s view over 2 remote air traffic controller stations and the accompanying camera-fed display of a distant airport.

By Glenn Woodward Contributing Writer

J

anuary of 2018. The pilot of a Beechraft Bonanza on final to Rwy 33 at FNL (Fort Collins/ Loveland CO) failed to understand a series of UniCom messages from a helicopter pilot practicing an instrument approach to a “missed” that was descending to the approach end of the runway. The airplane pilot reported that he was passing overhead to a full-stop landing. The situation did not end well. The Bonanza struck and destroyed the helo, and left the runway after touching down. Luckily, no one died, but this situation was completely avoidable. There were no terminal ATC services in place at the time of the accident, and a control tower for an airport this size costs about $3 million – assuming the airport would even qualify for such a facility. It’s easy to say, after the fact, that it would have been worth it, but revenue streams, politics, and expenditures are conjoined triplets whose connecting points vary from moment to moment. Add government bureaucracy

and the excruciatingly long time it takes for projects to be completed, and you have a continuing safety risk – basically, standard operating procedures for uncontrolled airports.

The fix A remotely-operated tower (ROT) could have prevented that accident. It is a visually-based, radar/artificial intelligence (AI)-augmented ATC facility where 1 controller handles 1, or several, airports simultaneously from an off-site location called a remote tower center (RTC). One or more airport authorities can sidestep the red tape and delays of government-administered ventures, and do so effectively by sharing the cost among various stakeholders. In the case of FNL, the airport formed a coalition to fund its ROT project that included the Colorado DOT’s Aeronautics Division. The ROT concept does not necessarily replace ATC control towers. Instead, it adds a layer of safety and/ or cost efficiency where there was none before. It is also an alternative means of securing ATC services in lieu of a brick-and-mortar tower that requires a complicated funding

maze. In other words, airports that do not – nor would ever – qualify for a tower facility can now enjoy an umbrella of ATC services, safety, and other associated benefits. At FNL, this safety factor alone has encouraged Allegiant Airlines to reinstate scheduled service to the airport. In Norway and Sweden, the 13-year SESAR project has resulted in a facility that can handle up to 3 airports simultaneously with 1 or 2 controllers. Remote airports in Scandinavia are realizing the benefits of ROTs. Combining resources dilutes the cost of bringing ATC services to their towns by 50% or more, and enhances the safety of the flying environment. Sweden has even gone so far as to design and construct an airport on the northern border with Norway served by a remote tower and catering to winter sports traffic. ROTs have a twofold effect – they bring the safety umbrella ATC provides, and pose an opportunity to increase the connectivity of small airports and their related local commerce to the outside world.

Remote visualization Imagine a soundproof room that has a camera-fed 360º view of a small airport 300 miles away, displayed on a set of screens for a certified air traffic controller who has full view of the airport and its surrounding airspace. This view is nearly identical to the one in a control tower at that airport (should it ever exist), and it’s augmented with radar and AI upgrades. From the center of the room, the controller can see each aircraft along with a data block similar to one displayed in an approach or air route traffic control center. The cameras can zoom in on an object to show abnormalities which are not visible to the naked eye, along with decision-assistance such as lists of prioritized options for further control instructions. Wearing a special set of glasses, the controller selects from that list with a movement of

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Remote tower technology This technology is currently in the final testing and validation stages in the US and EU. At FNL, a state-ofthe-art facility is soon to be validated by FAA, while Europe is in the final validation stage of a multi-airport remote tower module (RTM). While the reasons and justifications are numerous, Sweden is years ahead in terms of implementing a functional ROT. The Swedish facility began live operations in 2015, and is soon to be expanded to an RTC within which RTMs operate. Think of a radar center where a supervisor monitors several controllers handling aircraft in adjoining airspace sectors, while other supervisors monitor similar groupings of controllers handling other clusters of airspace. The difference is a radar data display versus an aggressively augmented visual display. RTCs work in the same manner, where a supervisor monitors 1 (or several) RTMs with 1 or 2 controllers handling multiple airports simultaneously. The idea boils down to economies of scale. Traditionally, where 1 controller handles aircraft at 1 airport, the underlying costs associated with that controller are pigeonholed and cannot be used as efficiently. Previously, downtimes between aircraft were wasted waiting for the next airplane or vehicle to call, but now, the

Photo courtesy HungaroControl

their hands or eyes “layering” their response actions, saving time and, perhaps, lives. If the situation is such that a call to the airport fire department is necessary, preselected data can transmit automatically to rescue agencies via synthetic voice and encrypted text. Now imagine this same controller in a slightly larger room with 3 rows of projector-screens – side-by-side or stacked – offering the same view for completely different airports hundreds of miles away. And just to make things interesting, the room is now a warehouse, and the controller is responsible for up to 3 different airports – all visible simultaneously. Using a special pair of glasses, a controller could freeze an image to send to maintenance or a supervisor, along with the data block and other necessary information, while still remaining available to control other aircraft and airports.

Multiple controllers monitor simultaneously-displayed views of a complex facility or multiple airports.

same controller and skill sets handle multiple aircraft and vehicles at several airports safely and efficiently. While airports exist throughout the world that are not especially busy but still need a controller and other associated aviation infrastructure – such as meteorological services or flight information services – consolidating those assets into one structure and entity will save hundreds of millions of dollars. ATC services, including controllers, weather observers, and flight information services specialists, can now be applied equally across many airports from one central location – an RTC. Cost savings in human resources (HR) are tremendous. One set of specialists with one HR benefit cost package diluted across several airport funding pools has a twofold effect. The first obvious effect is the drastic lowering of direct costs to an airport, but it also offers service providers the opportunity to attract, solicit, and entice a higher caliber of specialist with better pay and benefits. Compensation packages should be elevated commensurate with the exponential increase in individual responsibilities and liabilities. In the US, ATC union officials are adamant about “1 controller, 1 airport,” and the reasoning has to do with volume and complexity. In Europe, where there are fewer GA airports and, consequently, lower traffic volume, 1 controller handling multiple airports makes more sense. Cost benefits aside, improved safety, and all the stakeholders are ben-

eficiaries. Safety is increased with high-quality visual media and advanced radar technologies, managed by a human controller and augmented through the application of AI.

Back to the action Inside a tower cab, many sensory inputs exist that allow a controller to respond and react efficiently when required. This is commonly referred to as situational awareness (SA), and it’s a crucial aspect of a controller’s training. Hearing is a very important aspect of SA, and one I had not seen heavily addressed in my research. Those aural filters, learned through experience, are very special skills, and training a microphone to discern “generic” over “life threatening” inputs presents a unique technological and managerial challenge. Another parallel aspect of this audibility component is the time it takes for communications to occur. The delay could be up to 1 second. In my experience, 1 second has often been the difference between safe and unsafe. It’s like watching an interview on TV where there is a delay in the audio feed, and people end up talking over each. To me, even in the worst-case scenario of a 1-second delay, the Bonanza and the helicopter would not have collided at FNL. One question often asked is “Would a person fly on an airplane that doesn’t have a human pilot on board?” I have often received a resounding “no” in response to that question. But an appropriately simPROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  January 2021  39

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Photo courtesy Visit Loudoun

Looking further ahead

Cameras at JYO (Executive, Leesburg VA) tower provide a 360° image display of the airport’s runway, ramps, and surrounding airspace.

ilar query concerning aircraft operating at an airport without a human controller in the tower would likely receive a different answer, because pilots train regularly to fly in and out of airports defined as uncontrolled. In situations where there has been neither loss of life nor an aircraft accident, but many close calls or near-misses, ROTs reinsert the human factor into the equation. This human link completes the safety system via skills and processes. In that same vein, controllers must train to handle multiple facilities at the same time, with different types of aircraft in uniquely different flying environments.

On the ground Remote tower operations are not just for aircraft in flight. AI, augmented vision, and predictive analytics can detect a multitude of processes in play for aircraft taxiing and at the gate. Current technology can detect the proper number of safety cones and their correct placement. In addition, with zoom technology, security is enhanced using facial recognition or other body physiologies. Integrated with special sensors, the pace of ground personnel can be monitored for safety and efficiency. Did a bag fall off the luggage cart? Was catering on time, or late? All of these metrics are monitored visually and matched with a process to discern

completion or identification of improvement potential. Although these may be ramp controller duties, missed pitot tube covers, venting fuel, excess oil leakage, and open access or cargo doors could be caught on the ground by the controller before the aircraft takes off. Add in a sensitive thermal imager, and a controller can detect a potential hot brakes situation well in advance to notify the authorities.

But what if…? In an emergency, the RTC watch supervisor has the ability and authority to reassign an airport to a different RTM, leaving the controller to focus wholly on the critical situation without distraction. Safety, again, comes first with backup systems in place for contingencies, such as loss of cameras or loss of communications. These are addressed via builtin redundancies. If the augmentation drops offline, the controller falls back to standard air traffic skill sets for spacing and sequencing. This could lead to an additional branch of training that is currently split into just 2 specialties – tower/ radar – further dividing the “tower” branch into “facility or ROT.” Other effects include more stringent vetting for ATC candidates, longer and more complex training, and the peripheral infrastructure resources necessary to support the training dynamics.

The augmented ROT could also display the projected route off the end of the runway, and alert the aircraft and pilot to traffic, terrain, or other potential conflicts. Now imagine 2 or 3 more camera towers that can integrate their data to a holographic projection instead of a 2-dimensional display. This portends an interactive environment between the controller and the pilot, where the controller “grabs” the aircraft and moves its desired destination (on a SID or a STAR). After approval from the pilot, the aircraft would then fly on autopilot via the most efficient or expedient route. With built-in safeguards and the option for the pilot to decline the route or performance parameters, fuel and time are saved while guaranteeing a safety net. And let’s not forget an overlay of weather and winds at altitude available to the controller. This would maximize airspace utilization efficiency, which, again, translates into money saved. The weather and wind input would come from specialized airport drones using swarm-technology as well as built-in buffer technology, operating under the control of the airport authority/FAA and providing real-time met data.

A new way to control air traffic The remote tower concept is but a small taste of a cornucopia of potential technology applications that streamline and polish ATC in the cab. It is more than just a way of multiplying the 2 points of contact between controller and aircraft. It is amplifying and supplementing those 2 points efficiently, creating a symbiotic connection that enhances safety and service to a level not currently provided. I for one am excited about the future of remote ATC. Somebody hand me a headset!

Boeing B-52s.

Glenn Woodward is an air traffic controller with 18 years of tower experience in the US, UK, and Afghanistan. He is an FAA-licensed flight dispatcher as well as a veteran flightcrew member on

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KEEP YOUR AIRCRAFT FLYING WITH CONCORDE RG® SERIES BATTERIES

Concorde Battery is the versatile aircraft battery manufacturer. With over 100 certified valve regulated sealed lead acid batteries for turbine and piston engine starting, as well as stand by applications. Concorde batteries are designed for airframe manufacturers as Original Equipment or as drop in replacements specific to the application. Concorde’s dependable RG® Battery Series is crafted for quality in the USA using proven proprietary processes and is the battery selected by critical mission operators, US and foreign militaries.

Upgrade from nickel cadmium or other lead acid technologies for proven reliability, safety, reduced maintenance requirements and extended performance. Concorde batteries have no memory effect, no deep cycling requirement and no potential for thermal runaway. With over 40 years of experience, Concorde is known for excellent customer support and technical knowledge. Call Concorde today for specifications, application data and technical assistance or contact a knowledgeable Concorde Authorized Distributor – available worldwide.

C O N C O R D E ’ S L AT E S T R E L E A S E S

Piper M500/M600 | RG-41/53

Cirrus SR22T | RG24-15M

Gulfstream 280 | RG-380E/GH

Enstrom 480/480B | RG-641

CONCORDE BATTERY CORPORATION | 2009 SAN BERNARDINO ROAD, WEST COVINA, CA, 91790 | 626.813.1234 | ISO 9001 + AS9100

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THE GULFSTREAM DIFFERENCE Your mission is our inspiration. Every investment we make—in advanced technology, precision manufacturing and worldwide customer support—is an investment in you.

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