BOMBARDIER DASH 8s of US-based regional carrier Horizon Air, equipped with the Flight Dynamics-made head-up guidance system (HGS), were used for 20 successful landings in Category III conditions at Portland Airport, Oregon, on 11 January.

Visibility in the area was down to around 300m (980ft) in thick fog for much of the day and many other operators were forced to divert or delay flights. "A year ago, this weather would have caused a major disruption in our system, but, on 11 January, with our HGS-equipped Dash 8s, we were able to keep our operations right on schedule," says Horizon Air flight-operations vice-president Dan Scott.

Horizon received US Federal Aviation Administration approval in June 1995 to operate its Dash 8s to Cat III minima, using the HGS. By September, it also obtained FAA clearance to begin "improved" Cat I operations into another fog-prone Oregon regional airport, Medford.

The carrier is equipping all 23 of its Dash 8s with the HGS for around $12 million, and plans to obtain Cat III clearance for its Dornier 328 fleet in time for the 1996/7 northern winter season.

Other carriers opting for the Flight Dynamics system include Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Ryan Air, a US Boeing 727 freighter operator.

Certification flights for the HGS-equipped Boeing 737-400 series have just been completed with Alaska, and Flight Dynamics expects formal approval "within weeks". More than 70 HGS-equipped 737s are now in service with Southwest, which accepted delivery of the first 737 fitted with the HGS on the Boeing production line as early as August 1995.

Source: Flight International