The delay in US Federal Aviation Administration certification for the latest traffic collision and avoidance system (TCAS II) version equipment is hampering airlines' efforts in meeting European airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS II) requirements, delegates at a recent Eurocontrol conference in Brussels were warned.

The European mandate, issued in 1995, requires all civil fixed wing turbine engined aircraft with a maximum take-off mass exceeding 15,000kg, or more than 30 seats, flying in European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) airspace to carry and operate the ACAS II with effect from 1 January, 2000. Aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of greater than 5,700kg or more than 19 seats will be required to meet the mandate by 1 January, 2005.

The FAA has yet to issue a technical standard order for TCAS II Version 7 equipment, the only version which meets the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) ACAS II standards and recommended practices (SARPS). The European mandate stipulates that the equipment complies with ICAO SARPs. Version 7 introduces more than 300 changes to the Version 6.04a TCAS now in operation.

The target for the Version 7 technical standard order is September, according to Greg Edwards, international field representative at the FAA. Version 7 equipment from the TCAS manufacturers AlliedSignal, Honeywell and Rockwell-Collins will be available towards the end of the year, leaving airlines with 12 months to equip the fleet operating in ECAC airspace and conduct training.

John Law, chairman of Eurocontrol's ACAS implementation group, says: "The availability of Version 7 equipment is later than we hoped and is putting pressure on our implementation dates. We are making provision for this."

Source: Flight International