Glass cockpit retrofit package ready to enter service aboard converted freighter

Universal Avionics, together with Miami-based partners Commercial Jet (CJI) and ARC Avionics (ARC), have secured US Federal Aviation Administration certification for a  Boeing 737-300/400 “glass” cockpit retrofit package that includes advanced liquid crystal flat panel displays, synthetic vision (SVS) and terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS).

Based around the Arizona-based company’s Universal EFI-890R flat panel display system, the flightdeck retrofit received FAA supplemental type certificate approval on 19 October, and entry into service will follow soon. Although the specific identity of the launch customer is not being revealed, the first flightdeck retrofit is for a converted 737-300 freighter.

A three-dimensional terrain image is provided on the LCD

The suite includes four EFI-890 displays, the Universal Avionics-developed Vision-1 SVS, dual UNS-1F flight management systems, and a Class A TAWS, which are integrated with the existing autopilot. Universal says a follow-on certification expected within the next few months will add the company’s Application Server Unit. This will provide weather graphics, charts, checklists and “e-docs”, which will be displayed on the EFI-890R navigation display.

Universal Avionics and IFR Avionics recently launched the first Gulfstream III flightdeck retrofit with EFI-890R flat panel-displays and the same SVS system. At the recent National Business Aviation Association convention, Universal said the STC was expected “early in the first quarter of 2007”, and that California-based IFR Avionics was “also looking for a Gulfstream II candidate aircraft to add to this STC”. Universal is also upgrading the Dassault Falcon 50 with
EFI-890R displays and SVS.

Universal says the 8.9in (220mm) diagonal EFI-890 high-definition LCD display for the 737 “is the only large display system capable of both synthetic vision and electronic charts on the market today”. European EASA certification is also being pursued.

Three-dimensional image

Universal's SVS system originally received certification in November 2005. It provides a three-dimensional terrain image instead of the traditional blue-over-brown artificial horizon. Coined the "egocentric" view, and designed to improve situational awareness, the terrain image is generated in real time from a database stored in the Vision-1 unit, which is part of the cockpit retrofit product line. Until now, this has been aimed mostly at the corporate market, although some early "glass" cockpit display upgrades were undertaken for Boeing 727 and McDonnell Douglas DC-8 cargo operators. An "exocentric" view - a moving map showing aircraft position and flightpath in relation to 3D terrain - has been available since 2002 for Universal's multifunction and navigation displays. 

Source: Flight International