US carrier selects Rockwell Collins' new-generation display to equip Embraer twinjets for reduced visibility operations

JetBlue Airways has selected a new-generation Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics head-up display (HUD) system to equip its Embraer 190s for reduced-visibility operations in a deal that is worth around $60 million to the avionics supplier, based on list prices.

"We have just finalised a contract with JetBlue and Flight Dynamics to provide a dual HUD," said Embraer senior vice-president engineering and new product development Luis Carlos Affonso, speaking at Embraer's European headquarters in Paris. The US low-cost carrier is the launch customer for the 100-seat 190 with an order for 100 aircraft.

The HUD system, which will be the first by Flight Dynamics to incorporate liquid crystal display (LCD) image sources rather than traditional cathode-ray tubes, is targeted for certification in time for JetBlue's first 190 delivery in August 2005.

"We are still analysing the schedule to see if it's possible, otherwise there will have to be a retrofit," says Affonso.

"With LCDs you have much better image quality and you can add all sorts of images on top of the symbology of the display," he adds. The HUD could be combined with an enhanced vision system and offer features such as roll-out guidance, although these will not be part of the initial certification. "I'm sure in time all these features will be developed," says Affonso.

A longer-term goal is to certificate the HUD as a primary flight display, freeing one of the existing five panel-mounted displays to host an electronic flight bag or cabin surveillance video camera feed.

Two 190s are in the flight-test programme, the third is due to fly in August and the fourth in September. Affonso says development of the 195 - a stretched version of the 190 - is continuing despite launch customer Swiss International Air Lines' decision to defer first delivery to August 2006. First flight of the 195 is expected by the end of this year, but certification is not due until the second quarter of 2006.

Swiss has held discussions on converting its 195 commitments to the smaller 190. "They have that option but as of now they are sticking with the 195," says Affonso.




Source: Flight International