After a historic three record-breaking missions in one year, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer and its Chelton avionics will be retired to the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C. The induction ceremony will be held June 29, 2006.
The three missions were: Absolute Distance over a Closed Circuit, 24,986.73 miles (40,212.14 km) in March 2006; Distance without Landing 25,766 miles (41,467 km) in February 2006; and Speed around the World Non-Stop and Non-Refueled - 342.24 mph, in March 2005.
Chelton Flight Systems' Electronic Flight Instrumentation System (EFIS) provided world circumnavigator Steve Fossett with critical information on aircraft performance and navigation. The EFIS consisted of two display units in the panel, both of which served the functions of over a dozen different instruments, saving tremendous weight. According to Mr. Fossett, "The Chelton FMS was my primary means of navigation and control of the Global Flyer." In addition to displaying altitude, attitude, airspeed and heading, the EFIS includes a real-time moving map along the entire route of flight, along with seamless forward-looking three-dimensional terrain modeling. Coupled to a two-axis autopilot, the EFIS played a significant role in making a 72-hour single pilot flight possible.
The red-and-white plane consists of three hulls attached to a 35-meter (114-foot) wing that measures more than half the wingspan of a Boeing 747. Twin "boom" hulls on either side of the cockpit hull each carry almost 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of fuel. Atop the plane's 7-foot cockpit is a single jet engine. The GlobalFlyer routinely cruised at an altitude of about 45,000 feet (13, 716 meters). The GlobalFlyer also carried equipment from other companies within Chelton Flight Systems' parent, Cobham plc, including a Comant ComDat combination antenna, a Wulfsberg Electronics VHF Communications Transceiver and Cockpit Controller, and a Northern Airborne Technology Audio Panel. 360 degree video of the cockpit.
"This has been a breakthrough year for aviation, and a great year for Virgin Atlantic with both SpaceShip One and the GlobalFlyer returning successful missions," said Chelton Flight Systems President Gordon Pratt. "Chelton Flight Systems and Cobham are proud to have been part of this outstanding accomplishment and congratulate Steve and the GlobalFlyer team."
Chelton Flight Systems, part of the Cobham Avionics & Surveillance Division, is the manufacturer of the world's first FAA-certified synthetic vision EFIS, which is now STCd on over 740 airplane and helicopter models. Chelton Flight Systems' parent company, is Cobham plc. Cobham plc is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced aerospace and defence systems in the air, on land, at sea and in space. The company has five technology divisions and one service division which collectively specialise in the provision of components, sub-systems and services to keep people safe, improve communications and enhance the performance of platforms.