Deutsche Aircraft’s extensive modernisation of the Dornier 328 turboprop, the D328eco, will include overhauling the cockpit with a new integrated avionics suite to be supplied by Garmin.
Based on the G5000 suite aimed at business jets, the redesigned cockpit will be dominated by three large touchscreen displays, intended to simplify the pilot interface.
Separate panel displays will feature on the central pedestal and on each pilot’s side. Garmin says the cockpit will enable crew members to view charts, flightplans, maps, checklists and other documentation simultaneously.
Touchscreens will also be incorporated into the overhead control panel, covering switches, system information and electronic circuit-breakers.
Deutsche Aircraft says the cockpit overhaul, branded ‘Companion’, will mark the first new flightdeck for a sub-70-seat regional aircraft for over two decades – with a design that underlines the potential for future single-pilot operation, an aspect to which the company has previously alluded.
“Implementation of the Garmin avionics into the ‘Companion’ flightdeck is one key enabling system towards future single-pilot operation capability,” it says, adding that “focus and attention” has been placed on human factors.
Deutsche Aircraft highlights features including flight-envelope protection, an automatic emergency descent mode, and runway alerting.
“Its functionalities really make Deutsche Aircraft’s innovation vision a reality,” says managing director Dave Jackson.
Deutsche Aircraft aims to introduce the D328eco, which is undergoing preliminary design review, by 2025 and planning work is continuing for a final assembly line at Leipzig-Halle airport.
Garmin says the avionics will provide pilots with access to several features and applications intended to follow a “simplified vehicle operations” philosophy and reduce crew workload.
These include synthetic vision systems, featuring three-dimensional depictions of terrain, traffic and the runway environment, as well as Garmin’s ‘SafeTaxi’ enhanced situational awareness application for manoeuvring at busy airports in reduced visibility.
“SafeTaxi identifies airport ‘hot spots’ and overlays hold-short lines on airport diagrams to provide crews with an active representation of threats during ground movement and helps avoid runway incursions,” says Garmin.
It adds that the suite can access a further safety tool to prevent pilots from taking off or landing on incorrect runways, based on pre-flight performance data, or inadvertently using taxiways.
Performance-based navigation and vertical guidance will give operators access to more airports and lower approach minimums, while the aircraft will support controller-pilot datalink.
Garmin director of airline and business aviation sales Creighton Scarpone says the flightdeck will be “optimised specifically” for the D328eco and offer a “scalable platform” for operators’ “current and forward-looking needs”.