File server builds on Pro Line 21 Continuum upgrade which has been certificated on eight business jet types

Rockwell Collins plans to flight test in the third quarter a key Pro Line 21 Continuum avionics feature which will pave the way towards full free-flight capability. It builds on the foundation of the current upgrade now being offered on a growing range of business jets.

The file server unit (FSU), which should be available from February 2003, will provide growth capability including datalink, electronic charting, taxi map, graphical weather, two-dimensional vertical terrain, three-dimensional mapping and geopolitical overlays.

The FSU will interface with the main elements of the Pro Line 21 Continuum upgrade which, in the fully integrated system, includes 200 x 250mm (8 x 10in) liquid crystal multifunction displays, FMS-6000 flight management system, AHS-3000 attitude heading reference system, TCAS-4000 traffic alert collision avoidance system and TWR-850 turbulence-detection weather radar.

Continuum has been certificated on eight aircraft types, the latest being the Dassault Falcon 20, which was cleared in mid-April. Like the Falcon 50 and Bombardier Challenger 601, the Falcon 20 has the larger displays. Standalone Continuum installations certificated with the smaller FDS-2000 displays include the Cessna Citation III, Gulfstream II/IIb, III and Challenger 600.

Compared to the standard equipment on the Challenger, the upgrade reduces overall weight by more than 230kg (505lb). It also cuts power demands by more than 400W and takes up 0.17m3 (6ft3), a reduction of 0.06m3. Mean-time between failure of the system is 67% greater and display area is doubled.

Rockwell Collins expects "significant" upgrade business from the Continuum, which it says reduces pilot workload and, as the autopilot can be engaged and disengaged down to an altitude of 100ft (30m), provides a fully automated, complete lateral and vertical navigation autopilot. Situation awareness has been boosted and will be improved with the FSU introduction, it adds.

While Rockwell Collins pushes the Continuum for Challengers, Bombardier is focusing on a Pro Line 4-based suite as part of its PrecisionPlus upgrade for the Challenger 604. Unveiled at the recent FIDAE show in Chile, the system has a Safe Flight Auto Power auto-throttle system and cabin enhancements. The cabin can be effectively stretched 10% by adding two windows.

Source: Flight International