FreeFlight Systems of Waco, Texas, announced today at the AEA International Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., that it has received FAA STC approval for an ADS-B OUT solution for the Sikorsky S-76A/B/C models. FreeFlight worked with Peregrine Avionics and DAC International to develop the STC. The ADS-B OUT solution is a 10090ES system, with high-integrity Waas GPS position source and an ADS-B rule-compliant mode-S transponder.
FreeFlight pioneered ADS-B approvals, having developed the first STC to meet the Jan. 1, 2020 mandate. That system was for the AgustaWestland AW139. FreeFlight also collaborated on an STC for the S-76C+/C++.
A new program for FreeFlight is a long-term agreement to supply its FDL-978-TX Rangr-G ADS-B transponder to Exelis for airport ground vehicles. This is part of Exelis's Symphony Vehicle Movement Area Transponder (VMAT) airport operations system. VMAT will be used to provide tracking of all types of vehicles on the airport surface at 35 airports in the U.S. that are equipped with airport surveillance detection equipment (ASDE-X). It can also be used at airports with airport surface surveillance capability (ASSC).
Air traffic control displays, cockpit displays and portable devices can be used to view the equipped vehicles on the airport surface. Portable devices will use Exelis's MobileVue application. According to FreeFlight, "the Rangr-G is the first and currently only FAA-certified [universal access transceiver] for ground vehicle installation." The Rangr-G operates on the 978UAT frequency that is also used for ADS-B IN datalink weather and traffic services.
To help meet the demand for equipment needed for the Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B OUT mandate in U.S. airspace, JetTech has received an STC amendment that adds ADS-B capability to Cessna Citation 500 series jets. The amended STC covers Citation 500s modified by JetTech with Garmin GTN 650 and 750 touchscreen com and navigation systems.
A new benefit of the amended STC is that JetTech can install the GTN 650/750 in Citation 500s Serial Number 1 through 274 that are fitted with Bendix FGS-70 autopilots. Now the JetTech STC covers more than 2,000 Citation airframes, according to the company, and the model numbers include the 500, 501, 550, 551, S550 and 560.
The ADS-B portion of the STC uses Garmin's GDL 88, a dual-link transceiver that provides ADS-B OUT on the 1090ES frequency and ADS-B IN services, such as free datalink weather and traffic information on the 978UAT frequency. Also installed for the ADS-B upgrade is Garmin's GTX 33ES transponder. The STC adds Garmin's new GWX 70 radar, GDL 69A Sirius XM WX receiver, GAD 42 remote adapter and GMA 35 audio panels, plus antennas. JetTech can add its STC for installation of Garmin G600 glass panels as well.
JetTech has also developed an STC for installation of the GTN 650/750 in CitationJet models with serial numbers 0001-0359. FAA approval is pending.
In partnership with Ultra Electronics Flightline Systems, JetTech announced a digital engine display upgrade for the Citation 500 series jets. The new system will replace the analog vertical tape gauges in the Citations but plug into existing connectors and use the same mounting fasteners. The display will meet Level B software certification standards and feature field upgradeability, monitoring and recording of all engine parameters, fuel computer functions and reversionary mode, according to JetTech.
The True Blue Power division of Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics unveiled a new 250-Watt inverter at the Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn., this week. Mid-Continent is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, as well as the recent FAA and EASA certification of the True Blue Power division's new TB17 lithium-ion main-ship battery.
The new TI250 DC-to-AC inverter runs on 28-VDC input and delivers 250 Watts of 115-VAC power for plug-in devices, such as laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and special-missions equipment. The inverter weighs 2.2 pounds and can be installed in the cabin or cockpit. No fan is needed to cool the TI250, which includes a built-in ground fault interrupter. True Blue Power also manufactures inverters in other sizes, including 10, 500 and 1,200 Watts.
Mid-Continent now employs 200 people at its two locations, in Wichita and Van Nuys, Calif. In addition to manufacturing more than 20,000 units per year, the company also overhauls/exchanges and repairs more than 15,000 units per year, including gyros, altimeters, HSIs and autopilots.
"Growing and sustaining a successful business, especially in the highly competitive and challenging aviation industry, is not for the faint of heart," said Todd Winter, Mid-Continent president and CEO. "To do so for half a century requires exceptionally efficient and dedicated employees that have an unrelenting commitment to their customers and fellow aviators.
Founded in Wichita, Kan., in 1964, Mid-Continent added a manufacturting facility in Van Nuys, Calif., in 1991.
The U.S. Air Force's 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona is set to formally unveil its first Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter on Friday, following delivery of the aircraft earlier in the week. Hosted by Undersecretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, the ceremony comes ahead of this weekend's public airshow at the base. The aircraft was flown in from Edwards AFB on Tuesday by test pilot Colonel Roderick Cregier.
Following delivery of the first aircraft, Luke AFB will begin preparation to train crew for the conventional takeoff and landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter. By the end of this year 16 F-35As are due to have been delivered, and training is scheduled to start in the second quarter of next year. By 2019 more than 100 F-35As should be at Luke, from a final allocation of 144, split among six squadrons. This month the first Luke-assigned pilot, Capt. Joshua Arki of the 61st Fighter Squadron, is scheduled to return from JSF conversion training.
Luke has been the principal location for U.S. Air Force tactical training since the 1950s, with F-84s, F-100s, F-4s, F-15s and F-16s assigned as the major types. F-16 training has been undertaken since 1982, and Luke became the primary F-16 training center in the early 1990s with the transfer of three squadrons from MacDill AFB, Florida. Located in the western suburbs of the greater Phoenix area, Luke enjoys excellent year-round weather and has quick access to sizeable ranges over sparsely populated areas of Arizona.
F-35 training for all three U.S. services is currently conducted by the F-35 Integrated Training Center of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida, which parents the 58th FS "Mighty Gorillas" (Air Force, to be at full strength with 24 F-35As this spring), VMFAT-501 "Warlords" (Marine Corps, 20 F-35Bs) and VFA-101 "Grim Reapers" (Navy, to receive 15 F-35Cs). As well as assuming the training mantle for U.S. Air Force pilots, the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke will also parent training for overseas JSF operators. The first aircraft for Australia (AU-1) is due to arrive at the Arizona base before year-end.
Next year the Air Force plans to begin F-35A deliveries to its first operational unit (388th Fighter Wing) at Hill AFB, Utah. The base will ultimately have 72 F-35As assigned to the 388th FW and Air Force Reserve 419th FW. Hill is also home to the Ogden Air Logistics Center, which is the primary maintenance depot for the F-35A. This unit received its first F-35A for pre-service modification work last year.