Brazilian and US certification for Rockwell Collins HGS fitted to E-190 expected soon

Embraer and Rockwell Collins have completed Category 3 flight tests of the HGS 5600 digital head-up guidance system on the E-190, and are optimistic of achieving Brazilian and US certification by the end of November.

The clearance will allow crews from JetBlue Airways, which is taking aircraft with dual HGS installations, to hand-fly approaches to Cat 3a minimums with a 50ft (15m) decision height and a runway visual range (RVR) of 185m. The HGS will also enable take-offs with visibility reduced to 90m RVR on properly equipped runways.

JetBlue introduced the E-190 in November 2005 and, under the first part of a two-phase certification path, the HGS is currently cleared for use as a "repeater" primary flight reference system, repeating the head-down flight director. Engineering flight tests in April paved the way for the latest certification flight tests. The work evaluated a new software load developed in the second certification phase that enables the system to be used as a guide to touchdown.

© Guy Norris

The display will allow JetBlue crews to make more hand-flown approaches

The final round of certification flight tests, conducted from Portland, Oregon, concluded on 22 August after 30 landings. "Our schedule was driven by mother nature. The hard part was getting the right winds we needed," says Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics Embraer programme manager Robert Irish. "We finally got the last crosswinds we needed for the E-190 in Bend, Oregon," he adds.

Irish says no technical glitches were uncovered during the tests of the system, which is the first liquid crystal display-based head-up display to receive regulatory approval, as well as the first digital HUD system to be certificated to Cat 3.

"The only new areas have been concerned with low visibility operations and the rules of flying, and what should the non-flying pilot be doing in a dual HGS configuration. What is the scanning technique for the non-flying pilot? That's been one of the key areas," he adds.

Plans are under way, meanwhile, for development and certification flight tests of the HGS on the E-195, the first customer of which will be UK airline Flybe. These are expected to take place late in the first quarter of 2007, with Brazilian ANAC (formerly CTA) and European Aviation Safety Agency certification expected around November 2007. EASA Cat 3 certification of the dual HGS on the E-190 is expected early in 2007.

Source: Flight International