BFGOODRICH PLANS to begin shipping its Skywatch traffic-advisory system in June, following USFederal Aviation Administration approval of the system. The company says that it has taken 65 orders since launching the Skywatch, which is aimed at the general-aviation market, at the beginning of April.

Flight International was given a flight demonstration of the system in BFGoodrich Avionics Systems' Beech Baron testbed. This underlined the similarity of operation with the traffic-alert and collision-avoidance system (TCAS). The Skywatch is an active system, which interrogates Mode C transponders and tracks up to 30 intruders, displaying the eight most threatening.

An intruder is displayed as an open diamond, with two digits showing its relative altitude and a trend arrow indicating when the aircraft is climbing or descending at more than 500ft/min (2.79m/s).

A traffic advisory is shown as a solid circle, with an aural alert. With reduced power compared with the TCAS, giving a range of 11km (6nm), the Skywatch does not display proximity traffic or give resolution advisories.

The system interfaces with BFG's WX-1000 Stormscope lightning sensor, using the same 76mm monochrome display. Over 7,500 WX-1000s have been shipped, the company says. In weather-mapping mode, the Stormscope automatically switches to the Sky-watch display when a traffic advisory is issued. Price is under $20,000, for use with an WX-1000, and over $24,000 with a dedicated display.

The Skywatch consists of a directional antenna, remote-mounted transmitter/receiver/ computer and the panel-mounted control-display unit. FAA approval of the system in BFG's Baron will enable installers to reference this "master" certification when installing the Skywatch in other aircraft, avoiding the need for expensive supplemental type-certification.

Following certification, BFG plans to develop interfaces allowing Skywatch information to be presented on other cockpit displays, such as vertical-speed indicators, multi-function displays and the company's new GH-3000 electronic standby-instrument system. Growth to provide automatic dependent-surveillance-broadcast capability is also planned.

Source: Flight International