Kollsman aims to extend EVS reach to retrofits

Washington DC
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Kollsman, infrared sensor supplier for Gulfstream's pioneering enhanced vision system (EVS), is moving into the retrofit market with plans for supplemental type certification (STC) on other business jets and commercial aircraft. The move comes as EVS acceptance for business aviation aircraft takes off.

The US subsidiary of Elbit Systems has already delivered more than 300 of its first-generation EVS I systems to Gulfstream, says Roy Gentry, vice-president commercial aviation systems. Certification work is under way on the improved EVS II, for which Kollsman has 150 orders from Gulfstream plus "over 50" for retrofit.



Gulfstream 

 Kollsman EVS: now you see it...


The EVS II is to be certificated early next year on the Boeing MD-10 freighter for FedEx Express, for which Kollsman is teamed with Honeywell to develop the digital head-up display (HUD). The smaller, lighter and more sensitive IR sensor will then be phased in by Gulfstream from mid-2007, says Gentry.

CMC Ele­ctron­ics competes with Kollsman in the HUD-projected, cooled-IR EVS market, where the system allows lower-visibility landings. The Canadian company, which supplies the IR unit for the EVS on Bombardier's Global, has delivered more than 100 sensors and says its system for Dassault's Falcon is close to certification.

But it is the uncooled-IR market, where the EVS image is displayed head-down for situational awareness only, that growth is fastest. Market leader Max-Viz says it has sold more than 270 systems, and views the increasing competition "as a validation of the market".

L-3 Avionics Systems is the latest to launch a low-cost EVS targeted at the general aviation market, its $15,000 IRIS sensor adapted from automotive technology. An STC on the Beechcraft King Air C90 is scheduled for the first quarter of next year, says L-3, which plans to target manufacturers first, followed by aftermarket modifiers.

Max-Viz already has 48 STCs, says president Jim Tuttle, with others pending for the Bombardier Learjet 60, Cessna Citation 500 and Dassault Falcon 2000 as well as the King Air.

Factory installation of a triple-sensor EVS-2500, able to detect the latest LED airport lighting, on a Challenger 300 is under way with Bombardier, he says.

Kollsman, meanwhile, expects certification of its GAViS uncooled EVS on a Citation II by year-end, and CMC says its uncooled M-Series sensor will be approved on the Pilatus PC-12 by year-end, and available for aftermarket or factory installation. FLIR Systems and Forward Vision have also introduced EVS sensors for the GA market.