SEXTANT AVIONIQUE has achieved French certification of its head-up flight-display system (HFDS) for Category IIIB landings in the Boeing 737-300. Launch customer Aeropostal has carried out the first commercial flight using the system.

Aeropostal flies passengers by day, converting its aircraft to freight configuration for night-mail services. Director-general Philippe Mounier-Poulat says that the airline plans to fit the HFDS to ten of its 737s by January 1996.

"In an operation like ours, punctuality is essential," he says, adding that 32 flights had to be cancelled in October because of weather. Trials have shown that departure reliability with HFDS-equipped aircraft could be as high as 99.6%. The certificated system allows landings with a 35ft (10m) decision height and horizontal visibility of 125m for landing and 75m for take-off.

Sextant and Aeropostal worked in partnership to develop the HFDS. The airline invested some Fr30 million ($6 million) of its own money in the project. "We expect to recoup our investment in several years," says Mounier-Poulat, largely through avoiding penalty payments for late postal deliveries.

The HFDS is already approved on Airbus narrow bodies and the A330, and Sextant is working with Alitalia to certificate the system for McDonnell Douglas MD-82s.

Source: Flight International