Mississauga, Ontario, April 27, 2011...Field Aviation has completed the first major modernization of the flight deck of a Bombardier Dash 8 on schedule at the company’s facilities at L. B. Pearson International Airport. The aircraft has been handed back to the owner - the Icelandic Coast Guard. Transport Canada Supplemental Type Certificate # SA11-27 “Universal EFI-890R EFIS Cockpit Upgrade”, was issued on April 12, 2011, and the process to obtain equivalent FAA and EASA certification is underway.
This flight deck upgrade has been specifically designed by Field Aviation for the “classic” Dash 8 100/200/300 series aircraft and developed in close cooperation with Universal Avionics, who were responsible for tailoring and certifying the unique display and interface software for the Dash 8 aircraft, and with Ametek, who developed the Dash 8’s dual channel Engine Interface Unit.
The upgrade features five identical Universal Avionics EFI-890R, high definition LCD flat panel displays of which four primarily present the pilots with navigation information and the fifth (centre display) presents the engine information. The system provides full redundancy by allowing information to be switched between the five displays, as well as a modular upgrade path for features such as synthetic vision, charts, checklists, electronic documents and satellite weather display.
Field Aviation’s flight deck upgrade removes over 30 old instruments and indicators from the instrument panel alone and replaces these with five primary displays plus one advanced stand-by indicator. The result is less weight and a significant reduction in equipment failures, improved dispatch reliability and reduced maintenance costs.
“We see many advantages with incorporating this state of the art flight deck upgrade into our Dash 8 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft,” said Georg Larusson, director general of the Icelandic Coast Guard. “We are convinced that this modernization of the flight deck will not only greatly improve the working environment for the cockpit crew but rather facilitate for improved operation of the aircraft in its various tasks which include general maritime surveillance for safety and security, battle against all kinds of illegal activity as well as during search and rescue operations, not forgetting monitoring of volcanic activity.”
Larusson further adds, “As our aircraft is being used internationally and may in that context be based abroad for extended periods, it is comfortable to learn that the new instruments on the flight deck are much more reliable and have much lower failure rate.”
“Our first customer has fully endorsed the benefits of converting to the Universal EFI-890R flight deck display”, says David Jensen, Field Aviation’s vice-president of business development. “First and foremost there is the improvement in situational awareness for the flight crew, but also a much easier flight crew transition from, and into other aircraft types which tend to have more modern flight decks than the “classic” Dash 8s.”
“The first “classic” Dash 8s entered commercial service in the mid-1980s, but the flight deck technology has remained static until now,“ continues Jensen. “The aircraft remains very popular and the fleet is good for many more years in service. We believe that many operators will implement this flight deck upgrade as part of extending the useful life of the Dash 8 aircraft, whether their primary reason is safety, reliability or maintainability or a combination of all.”