Flight tests of the third and final planned upgrade of the Honeywell versatile integrated avionics (VIA) system on the Boeing 717 have been completed in preparation for a series of certification flights and fleetwide upgrades beginning towards the end of 2003.

The Block 03 provides software provision for a head-up-display (HUD) for the first time on the 717, and enables both the flight management system (FMS) and displays to work with a HUD in future. According to Honeywell VIA systems manager Tony Guyer, no operator has yet selected a HUD for the 717 and he says further flight tests would be needed to certificate such a system.

Block 03, which follows earlier updates, also modifies several alert messages in the display system and includes software to correct earlier problems within VIA. The screens are driven by two VIAs, which also function as the FMS, central aural warning and flight data acquisition system.

Testing took place using the last of the ex-TWA/American Airlines 717s that are due for delivery to AirTran Airways. Boeing says flight tests went better than expected and certification is expected in the third quarter - three months earlier than planned.

Source: Flight International