Rob Wilson, Honeywell’s president, business and general aviation, says his company has more engineers in Europe than many who are actually based here. He tells Steve Nichols that he is in Geneva to show just how committed the company is to the region.

Q How significant is Europe to Honeywell’s business and general aviation activities?

Europe is one of the highest growth areas for the business. The economy is strong and in the Eurozone, where companies are able to buy in dollars, the exchange rate is very attractive. We are seeing a large influx of business aviation equipment into Europe and as a result we are stepping up our commitment to the region.

We have a regional office right here, just down the road from the convention centre in Switzerland. It’s not just for business aviation, but for all of the Honeywell Aerospace business and we have an office in Prague. Even my global sales leader is based in Switzerland, so we can provide an in-region service, in our customers’ own language.

We have also increased our stock levels in Europe and upgraded our regional parts distribution and infrastructure to provide better telephone support, better software and better IT systems to enable us to be more effective in servicing our customers.

We have a large Honeywell population in Europe and are taking part in many or the regional aerospace programmes like the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR). We are actually one of the only American-based companies that are participating. We also have 4,000 aerospace engineers in the region - that’s more than many companies that are based in Europe.

Rob wilson

Q How is business at the moment?

We are still seeing strong growth in the business aviation segment, especially in Europe. With more deliveries going on outside the US than inside we feel that the strength of the global market will offset any problems in North America.

I think we have seen the credit crunch affect some pockets of the business. Where we have engine maintenance agreements with aircraft owned by banks or credit companies utilisation is down. But overall, we are not really seeing any detriment either to others or ourselves in the industry.

Q What are Honeywell’s key messages for EBACE?

The main message surrounds our commitment to being green. For us, that means flight efficiency with our engines, navigation systems, flight management systems and advanced weather radar.

A recent study at LAX airport showed that if you added just one new capability to your FMS – CDA or Controlled Descent Approach - allowing you to glide in on final approach, there would be a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 40% reduction in NOx and a 4-15% reduction in noise levels at just that one airport. Thinking about that shows we can start to leverage the features of our FMS, precision navigation and synthetic vision to show real fuel and emissions savings.

Required Navigation Performance (RNP) also reduces fuel consumption and emissions by letting pilots fly more direct routes and helping airports operate more efficiently. We are the first avionics company authorised by the FAA to help flight departments get an RNP approach approved and to allow flight crews to use it. At an airport like LaGuardia, for example, a curved approach would allow you to bypass all the traffic going in and out.

One of our technical divisions, funded by DARPA, is also working on producing green jet fuel. We’re working with vegetable oils and other biomass - we know how to produce diesel and we’re now taking those precursors and making them work in our industry.

We’re at the demonstration and scale-up phase and working with our chemical division to find out how these fuels could affect our engines. Honeywell will then be best placed to use that fuel when it comes to the market.

Q What about recent engine improvements?

The new HTF7000-E engine, which has been selected by Embraer, will feature new technology to achieve reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency, while keeping our record of reliability and dispatchability.

The E-Engine has an acoustic signature that meets stage four noise requirements and improved combustor technology that will reduce NOx emissions substantially below current ICAO levels. We have more than 360 HTF7000 engines in worldwide service with more than 365,000 hours and better than 99.96% dispatch reliability for our customers.

The new HTF10000 turbofan will also incorporate a range of new technologies to make it one of the “greenest” ever developed for business aircraft applications. The new engine will use SABER, Honeywell’s unique package of advanced combustor technologies.  SABER includes the use of a ‘rich-quench-lean’ configuration to improve fuel burn and reduce unburned fuel emissions and smoke.

This will enable the HTF10000 to meet Class 5 emission standards and Stage 3-minus-30 EPNdB requirements and we hope to reach the full technology readiness level by January 2009.

Q What about other technologies?

We are just about ready to roll out Synthetic Vision. We are now certified on the Gulfstream G-350, -450 and -550, have been conducting field trails and will very soon offer it as an upgrade.

We score with the fidelity of our terrain features, which are based on our EGPWS database. The periodic updates we do also take into account things like new towers near airports. We’ve recently been delegated to do those database updates with no official sign off from the FAA – that’s a first for the industry.

Our RDR-4000 weather radar is the first and only 3-Dimensional (3-D) weather radar system in the industry and will be the first of its kind to be standard equipment on a business jet aboard the Gulfstream G-650.

The RDR-4000 automatically scans a volume ahead of the aircraft from the nose out to 320nm, and from the ground to 60,000ft. That’s more than 1.5m cubic miles. It really lets you navigate very accurately around storms.

The G-650 will also feature our next generation FMS, which has been re-built from the ground up to US NGATS and SESAR standards. This will take full advantage of the planned features on both programmes, all of them focused on flight efficiency.

We have also had the APEX integrated flight deck for the turboprop and light to mid-size business jet market certified on the Pilatus PC 12, and are working to certify it on the Grob platform too. It features integrated auto-throttle and INAV graphical flight planning with sensor overlays.

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Source: Flight Daily News