SAS has become the first airline to install a certifiable example of one of the most important items of equipment needed by the industry to achieve the goal of free flight.

The MMI5000 cockpit display of traffic information (CDTI) was installed in a Fokker F28 for a certification flight, with the Swedish civil-aviation authority on board on 14 December.

Swedish suppliers Carmenta and Hectronic provided the software and hardware for the full-colour display seen on the centre pedestal.

The F28 is also equipped with the Swedish-developed Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Transponder which receives differential global-positioning-system signals from a network of ground stations and datalinks the aircraft's position to other aircraft and air traffic control.

The technique, known as automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), is the crucial technique which is expected to be at the heart of any free-flight system of the future.

The MMI5000, however, is more than just a CDTI - it also functions as a limited flight-management system complete with moving map and pop-up menus of navigation aids, airfields, flight plans and other features.

Its extreme accuracy, married to a database of airfield layouts allows it to be used as a surface-movement guidance system, displaying the positions of vehicles equipped with the GNSS Transponder, say its promoters.

Under the north European ADS-B Network programme, 12 aircraft and some 30 vehicles at several airports are scheduled to be equipped with the transponder and/or the CDTI during 1997 in the world's biggest trial of the ADS-B system.

The project also makes extensive use of the Swedish self-organising, time-division, multiple-access datalink which has emerged as a rival to the Mode-S datalink.

Source: Flight International