ACSS, a joint Thales Avionics and L-3 Communications company, hopes to achieve US Federal Aviation Administration approval for its terrain and traffic collision avoidance system (T2CAS) by the end of January as it passes the halfway point in its flight-test effort in Arizona.

The system combines a derivative of a Thales-developed ground-collision avoidance module originally made for the Dassault Mirage 2000N with the TCAS 2000 traffic collision avoidance system. It is fitted to a Beech King Air C90 testbed and by 20 November had completed 12 of 22 planned test flights. Early flights have also included demonstrations for the FAA, says programme management director Dennis Porter.

Flight tests are due to finish in early December, concurrently with the "freezing" of software for the production T2CAS. Verification and functionality tests of the line replacement unit (LRU) have begun and involve "running it against 12 controlled flight into terrain [CFIT] scenarios for technical standing order [TSO] testing", says Porter. "We aim to have the package submitted for certification by year-end."

The system computes the energy state of the specific host aircraft and compares this with the aircraft's known position in space and nearby terrain. Nuisance warnings are reduced and "it stops screaming at you once you clear the terrain", adds business development vice-president Hal Adams. The system's ±30° viewing angle provides enhanced CFIT avoidance projection, says ACSS, which has developed a 90° "all aspect" viewing function for the system during hard turning manoeuvres.

The system has been selected by Aeromexico, FedEx Express, Northwest Airlines and Virgin Express as well as the US Customs service.

Source: Flight International