Jetcraft Avionics Announces First Installation of EFVS On Pre-Owned Aircraft

ORLANDO, FL – Jetcraft Avionics announced today at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting its first installation of the Elbit Systems of America Kollsman Enhanced Vision System II (EVSII) to improve situational awareness and make flights safer. Jetcraft is the only non-OEM distributor of EFVS for preowned and aftermarket business aircraft. Elbit Systems of America manufactures the Kollsman EFVS.

The installation began mid-August, and FAA certification is anticipated by year-end. The launch aircraft is a Bombardier Challenger 604. The CL 604 intercontinental business jet was introduced in 1996, and 365 were produced by October 2006. Jetcraft Avionics also plans to install a next generation HUD, the Kollsman Advanced Technology-Heads Up Display (AT-HUD), when available in 2009. As the primary distributor of the Kollsman EFVS to various aircraft already in the marketplace, Jetcraft Avionics is able to customize the installation to the unique needs of each aircraft type and its existing avionics. Until now, these safety advancements have only been designed for and offered on new aircraft by their respective OEMs.

Jetcraft Avionics Vice President Ken Elliott says, “For the first time, an equipment OEM (Elbit Systems of America Kollsman) is able to supply both an EVS and a HUD integrated and designed to meet current and future FAA and European Union Operations (EU-OPS) landing credit. These unique qualifications are streamlining the design and Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) process for us. We are very pleased with the progress of the launch STC and the understanding of our valued customer to facilitate a complex program.”

Elbit Systems of America Kollsman certified the first ever vision based cockpit system, the Kollsman EVS I in 2001. EVS II is lighter and up to three times more sensitive than EVS I and is currently being incorporated in both commercial air transport and corporate aircraft. This proven technology is already being used by industry leaders Gulfstream and FedEx in close to 500 aircraft so far. As announced at NBAA 2008, a growing number of aircraft OEMs have recently selected the Kollsman EFVS for their future aircraft.

Elliott applauded the increased market opportunities arising from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) ruling in late-August to improve and approve the operational credit for continuing approaches when using EFVS for low visibility approaches. “This opens new doors for Jetcraft Avionics’ potential customers who base or operate their aircraft internationally.”

EASA Airworthiness Authorities have approved the second generation Kollsman EVS II for new operational credit in low visibility conditions when displayed on a HUD and certified for landing credit. EVS alone allows pilots to see through most weather by displaying an infra-red sensor image on a heads up or heads down display.

However, when the EVS meets requirements and is displayed and certified on a HUD, it provides equivalent vision, allowing the pilot to see the visual cues required for VFR and instrument operations per FAR 91.175 in conditions that normally would not allow. One of these cues is landing lights. The Kollsman EVS II was the first to be certified after EASA passed a general rule under EU-OPS rule 1.430(h), providing a 1/3 visibility credit to any aircraft using an approved EFVS for instrument approach procedures, regardless if the aircraft is a business jet or an airliner. Now with the Kollsman EVS II on board, aircraft can proceed to land in visibility that is 1/3 less than the requirement for other aircraft.

This is generally equated to but not strictly the same as the existing FAA rule in which appropriately certified aircraft can proceed to 100 feet height above terrain (HAT) before seeing with the human eye the required visual cues, greatly increasing the aircraft’s operational flexibility and chance of a successful landing at the desired airport.

The Kollsman Enhanced Vision System design has won numerous aviation and business awards for pioneering EVS products. Elbit Systems of America’s Vision Based Cockpit, which includes the EVS II displayed on a Head Up Display (HUD), provides customers with a key component of the FAA’s Next Generation Air Traffic System (NextGen). Anticipated FAA changes for Part 121 and 135 operators to harmonize with the new EASA rule are expected soon to support the NextGen implementation.

FAA in its NextGen video calls EFVS “one of the cornerstones of NextGen.” According to the June 2008 NextGen Implementation report, “Airspace and taxi constraints can limit the use of available runway capacity and cause unnecessary delay, fuel burn and emissions, and noise. Enhanced flight vision, lowering minimum decision height” is listed among improvements that will help with runway capacity. EFVS allows pilots to fly the most efficient route, even in most poor visibility, and land as planned, which represents huge environmental benefits from reduced fuel emissions and noise as well as significant savings in fuel costs.

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