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Airliner Avionics

Old 10th May 2020, 11:35
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Airliner Avionics

Will airline avionics ever catch up to general aviation advancements?
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Old 10th May 2020, 12:05
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Which GA aircraft has triple ADIRU, triple FMC, dual HUD and fail-operational autoland system?
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Old 10th May 2020, 13:33
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Not an MD-83!
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Old 11th May 2020, 07:05
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While capabilities aren't the same as a typical modern transport category Airplane, there are many glass cockpit GA aircraft with a lot of capabilities. Look at Cirrus or the newer VLJs. But these capabilities sometimes cause pilots to do stupid things such as trying out " airline quality" IMC which is not smart at all.
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Old 11th May 2020, 10:24
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As I see it, the answer to the question asked is NO.
Airlines have a fleet which is desirable to have as common as possible. A big consideration is certification, is the new whiz-bang kit RPT certified? It is so much easier to upgrade one aircraft than it is to upgrade 25 or so to a standard which really is very little better than the current fit out.
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Old 11th May 2020, 11:32
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It depends what the OP means by 'advancements', perhaps they could specify?

Too much technology could destroy situational awareness - leading to a meaningless video game atmosphere. Real pilots still need to know where the high ground is, what the aircraft is doing, what the speed and thrust are etc. I mean, trains could all theoretically be driverless, some are, but you still need the human element to take account of, say, blind passengers exiting slowly, or landslides or trees across the tracks etc.

I personally think the Airbus A320/A330 family is a very good balance between technology to help, but still keeping the pilots very much in touch and control of what is going on. (I have not flown A350/B787 etc, so cannot comment on those).

I have not flown a HUD but a recent go-around accident involving HUDs make me think that perhaps they are an unnecessary step too far for commercial passenger operations, and not a substitute for properly trained and experienced pilots. Beyond CAT lllC auto-landing, what else do you need?
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Old 11th May 2020, 12:10
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I believe the OP possibly refers to the various synthetic vision tools that are currently widely used in GA and business aviation. I have never flown anything equipped with that kind of gear, but would love to give it a go.
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Old 11th May 2020, 12:25
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It's already available but mostly undesirable. There needs to be an obvious commercial advantage for a customer to choose to increase the cost of his new equipment by x$ per unit. Over the last 15 years Ive seen synthetic vision demonstrations on both Honeywell and Collins systems but they offer no advantage over Autoland/HUDLS. Even HUDLS is not that popular compared to AL capability as most products are initially designed with AL and then HUDLS offered as an option. If your fleet is equipped with HUD for a.n. other reason (normally someone advancing their career on the basis of added situational awareness) then HUDLS can be argued to be part of that philosophy. But the OEM isn't going to discount the AL capability if it's standard so you only save on maintenance and waste capability if you ignore it.
Then when it comes to fleet replacement you are trying to offload aircraft with a capability that has a different training requirement so anyone in the market is going to look at the more mainstream versions of the same product.

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Old 11th May 2020, 13:14
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As a neoludite, that I am, I think that this flight deck picture is state of the art and cutting edge

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...bFZUWrrxKETqBF
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Old 11th May 2020, 13:29
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In some ways i was surprised to find out that transitioning from the 737NG to the A320 was actually a step back in avionic capabilities. Stuff like vertical situation display, navigation performance scales and IAN (no, managed is not the same, FLS would be) are actually quite good. Not to mention of course, that the alert height of the 737NG is 200ft, not only 100ft. Oh, and it does RNP 0.1 out of the box as well as GLS, and of course the screens are bigger on the 737 and their brightness level can be adjusted in a much wider range. As an everyday working place the A320 is better of course, more automation, the table and a slightly lower noise level and more space in the flightdeck keeps one less stressed over a long day.

Would a synthetic vision be nice? Yes, in a way of course it would be. Is it necessary? No, not at all. I'd rather have the distributed breaking action assessment done by the aircraft itself and then redistributed as information to all other aircraft of my company, tangible benefit for real life winter operation, better EFB integration and stuff like that.

Yes, the flight deck in many GA jets sure looks nice. But i always wonder if it is more about "bling" value, and if it can withstand 6000 hours a year of flying, as many airliners manage.
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Old 13th May 2020, 17:45
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Denti,

there is the Panasonic weather data that is transferred throughout the fleet....especially helpful to the trailing aircraft....so the other data could be ported the same way.
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Old 14th May 2020, 17:38
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How many airports are CAT III certified? How many airports does GA vs Airlines serve? There is your answer regarding synthetic vision, RNP approach capability etc.

A GA operator will see this situation from a different perspective. Whatīs the use of autoland if over 90% of airports in the world donīt have it? But, you may get lower approach minima with synthetic vision with some CAAs.

I was surprised that the 787 is not certified for RNP approaches. At least not the one I am familiar with. But, then again in the airline world how often do you need to fly an RNP approach?
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Old 14th May 2020, 17:47
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Originally Posted by wondering View Post
How many airports are CAT III certified? How many airports does GA vs Airlines serve? There is your answer regarding synthetic vision, RNP approach capability etc.

A GA operator will see this situation from a different perspective. Whatīs the use of autoland if over 90% of airports in the world donīt have it? But, you may get lower approach minima with synthetic vision with some CAAs.

I was surprised that the 787 is not certified for RNP approaches. At least not the one I am familiar with. But, then again in the airline world how often do you need to fly an RNP approach?
Actually, not all that rarely. And since airliners can easily get RNP 0.1 certified, not to mention RNP (AR) in many cases, it is actually quite handy to have. The main thing is crew training in that case, training a few thousand pilots to a higher degree of precision is actually quite an undertaking.

Interestingly for something like CAT I LTS (lower than standard) one does not need any new displays, a 35 year old airbus display system is quite enough. And that allows CAT I landings with RVR down to 400m.

But yes, GA operation is of course quite different, as one of the main appeal is being able to get into a lot more airports than the airlines cover, besides the timing of a trip that can be adjusted to personal requirements of the passengers.
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Old 14th May 2020, 17:52
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Originally Posted by turbidus View Post
Denti,

there is the Panasonic weather data that is transferred throughout the fleet....especially helpful to the trailing aircraft....so the other data could be ported the same way.
Yes, there are several distributed data attempts currently. I know airbus is now rolling out the breaking report thing after it had a non-connected test run with several selected airlines. Check out https://safetyfirst.airbus.com/using...nated-runways/

I know several companies are in the process of developing mosaic weather radar pictures, basically real-time radar pictures from all airplanes in an area distributed to all airplanes to enable a better general weather picture. Which could even allow an airplane with inop radar to get a real time picture of the weather situation, kinda like herd immunity (sorry, couldn't resist).
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Old 14th May 2020, 19:00
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Originally Posted by MD83FO View Post
Will airline avionics ever catch up to general aviation advancements?
No. Because of certification requirements, cost, problems with commonality and the time between design freeze and the first customer getting their hands on it.

My glider has better instruments than the 777 I fly for work. It has 1,000x the memory in the FMC-equivalent, to start with. The outlay to upgrade an airliner avionics suite to tech that is only 10 years old as opposed to 30 is so eye watering that it is rarely done. iPads have augmented a lot of the functionality of the aircraft in a way that would be prohibitively expensive and/or plain impossible conventionally.
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Old 14th May 2020, 20:06
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Originally Posted by FullWings View Post
My glider has better instruments than the 777 I fly for work. It has 1,000x the memory in the FMC-equivalent, to start with.
It actually doesn't. It's got better instruments to fly in nice weather and it's fairly trivial to land any light aircraft without any instruments when you've got a bit of experience, so no need for any serious redundancy. Also, if one instrument doesn't work, you always have a chance at postponing your flying for a day or two, whereas airlines would go bankrupt without a solid MEL dispatch availability. Horses for courses.

Originally Posted by wondering View Post
I was surprised that the 787 is not certified for RNP approaches. At least not the one I am familiar with. But, then again in the airline world how often do you need to fly an RNP approach?
A modern aircraft like 787 can't do RNP? That seems very far-fetched. Even an old 737 can do RNP AR 0.10 if you buy some extra toys from Boeing.
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Old 14th May 2020, 20:27
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The main advancements in the GA catagory relate to

1) live weather updates
2) synthetic vision

As for the live weather this is only possible because a network (NEXRAD) has been set up around the US that allows for this. Not all countries have this. In any case it doesn't really matter in commercial aviation as weather forecasting is quite good, and we have a weather radar, ACARS and datalink.

What I would like to see however is a transfer of turbulence data from aircraft to a ground station that could then be relayed to other aircraft. I believe that a lot of work is going into turbulence forecasting and its pointless. Much better to just take the data from g loading sensors on board and have the manufacturers work out a way to catagorize it according to turbulence levels and then have that data sent to a centralized location via ACARS.

As for synthetic vision, like others have mentioned it really doesn't add much if one can do a CAT2 or better autoland. As for terraint awareness we have a TAWS database on board, sure the display of terrain on an ND isn't as 'high tech' as synthetic vision but it does the job. The danger is flying the plane using the synthetic vision like a video game. You don't want that in a commercial setting. Having used a HUD for landing I can honestly say that I see no use for it except for certain airports, and even then you only need one for the PF.

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Old 14th May 2020, 21:05
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Originally Posted by FullWings View Post
No. Because of certification requirements, cost, problems with commonality and the time between design freeze and the first customer getting their hands on it.
Part 25 certification requirements are the primary driver - any important flight deck instrumentation is considered to be flight critical, which means it's Design Assurance Level (DAL) A or B. It takes a long time and costs a fortune to certify DAL A or B hardware and software. Further, any change to hardware means re-validating the software, and visa/versa. As a result, once avionics are certified, there is huge incentive to leave well enough alone unless absolutely necessary. Parts obsolescence is a huge, on-going problem with commercial aircraft avionics due to the rapid changes in the consumer electronics - it's often not even possible to manufacture some of the electronic bits from ten or twenty years ago because the changes in technology. Back in the 1980s, most of the electronics were mil-spec, specially manufactured for purpose - now days nearly everything is "Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) (although typically screened to a higher standard than the stuff in your phone). The manufactures simply are not interesting in making a few thousand parts for aviation when they are producing parts in the millions for commercial applications, so we have to use what they are already making.
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Old 14th May 2020, 22:46
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Originally Posted by FlyingStone View Post
It actually doesn't. It's got better instruments to fly in nice weather and it's fairly trivial to land any light aircraft without any instruments when you've got a bit of experience, so no need for any serious redundancy. Also, if one instrument doesn't work, you always have a chance at postponing your flying for a day or two, whereas airlines would go bankrupt without a solid MEL dispatch availability. Horses for courses..
Here, you're talking about two different things, capability and reliability.

My RV-9 is, in some ways, more advanced than the latest A350. If something goes out of limits, it won't just go "PING!" and require you to look at the ECAM to find out what went wrong. It will tell you, in your headset "Oil Pressure" or "Electrical Current" or any number of other things. IT has synthetic vision with terrain shading, a glide ring showing what points on the ground I can reach, based on current environment variables, can have touch-screen's installed if I want, displays a geo-referenced position on the visual or approach chart and is interfaced with an electronic circuit breaker system (though, granted the A350 has the last two as well). Another EFIS manufacturer provides for a camera input on which you can superimpose your PFD symbology, allowing a FLIR camera to be fitted for low-light operations.

That being said, while no light single will have autoland capability, I think many folk would be surprised to see the amount of redundancy built in to your typical IFR Experimental. Dual ADAHRS, triple screen (often with a third standby EFIS), dual GNSS and oftentimes dual batteries or alternators as well.
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Old 15th May 2020, 07:52
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@FlyingStone,

I reckon it can for some extra $$$. It probably comes down to a cost vs benefit analysis.
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