Boeing has chosen Rockwell Collins to provide the flightdeck liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for the 767-400ER. This is a significant victory for Collins in its battle to regain Boeing flightdeck display market share from Honeywell.

"In a sense it is a comeback for us," says Steve Piller, vice-president Boeing programmes at the company's Air Transport Systems Group. "It is a balancing of the competition at Boeing, and it puts us back in the game."

The contract also represents the first use of a large Collins-made LCD on any Boeing aircraft, as well as the first commercial application of an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) for display system interconnections with flight-critical avionics.

Collins also hopes that the 767-400ER deal could be a bridge to future flightdeck work, particularly on other proposed 757/767 derivatives. Boeing has already mooted the retrofit of the advanced flightdeck across new production 757/767s and is studying new derivatives incorporating recent advances made with the 757-300 and 767-400 programmes.

The flightdeck will incorporate six 200 x 200mm LCDs driven by three display mission computers, and is designed to provide a "common flightdeck look and feel" with the 777 and Next Generation 737. The open system database architecture of the LAN will enable the flightdeck displays to handle high-speed data transfers.

Collins believes that the capacity will be required to handle future enhancements, such as live video, cockpit display of traffic information, interactive cursor control devices, graphical flightplan editing and traffic alert and collision avoidance systems.

The company delivered the first display units to Boeing for tests at the end of April, and it plans to deliver completed units to meet the current 767-400ER assembly schedule. This calls for roll-out in August, with the first flight around September.

Certification and initial delivery to launch customer Delta Air Lines is expected in May next year.

Source: Flight International