Honeywell says its hard-won US certification of the Primus Epic integrated avionics system on the Gulfstream G550 business jet finally clears the way for the upgrading of avionics and cabin systems with software rather than hardware.

"It sets a precedent for future avionics and allows us to modify the software without going through full certification of the hardware," says Honeywell avionics executive vice-president and general manager John Uczekaj, who says clearance of Epic on several platforms has "inevitably run into difficulties".

Delays to the certification of full Epic-capability on the Dassault 900EX/2000EX, Embraer 170/175, Gulfstream G500/G550 and Bell/Agusta Aerospace AB139 tiltrotor appear to have been caused by the complexity and scale of the integration tasks. "There have been no technical issues whatsoever," adds Uczekaj, who says the Epic-equipped Cessna Citation Sovereign "is getting towards final certification in the fourth quarter".

Clearance of the Gulfstream system, described by Honeywell as "one of the largest design efforts ever undertaken in the field of avionics", removed all limitations from the provisional certification awarded last December and "allows us to TSO [technical standard order] software separately from hardware," says Uczekaj. To do this, the US Federal Aviation Administration had to draw up new standards for separate certification of hardware and software in modular avionics.

With these standards now set up, and the first full system certificated, Honeywell says future upgrades will be "quicker to market" and functionality will be improved.

Source: Flight International