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Heads-up for E-190 landing trials

Guy Norris in Los Angeles

Embraer is preparing for certification flight tests of the Rockwell Collins head-up guidance system (HGS), aimed at full Category 3 low-visibility operations clearance for E-190 aircraft later this year.

The tests, scheduled for July, follow the completion in late April of engineering development flight tests in Portland, Oregon. Clearance to use the full capability of the HGS to land in poor visibility is expected to be a major operational benefit for carriers such as JetBlue Airways, which introduced the E-190 in November 2005 on US east coast routes that are frequently affected by bad visibility during winter weather.

Although JetBlue received US Federal Aviation Administration certification for the dual liquid-crystal display HGS in February, this only allows crews to use the system as a primary flight reference. Recent engineering flight tests evaluated a new software load which will enable the HGS to be used for low visibility landings to Cat 3. Unlike Boeing, which offers the Rockwell HGS under a supplemental type certificate (STC) on the 737 Next Generation family, the equipment is certificated by Embraer as part of the E-190’s type certificate, which will be amended to show Cat 3 clearance.

UK airline FlyBe has been revealed as the first customer for the HGS on the E-195. Embraer market intelligence vice president Luiz Sergio Chiessi says: “We hope to have Cat 3 with the HGS for FlyBe for the 195 in 2007.” Chiessi adds that Embraer plans to complete Cat 3 certification with the HGS for JetBlue and Cat 3A certification for the E-175 later this year. Unlike the dual installation in JetBlue’s E-190s, FlyBe’s configuration will be single installation.

Embraer plans to deliver the first E-195 to FlyBe and receive Brazilian CTA and European EASA certification in August. FAA certification is expected by “year end”, adds the manufacturer.

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