UPS Airlines is to equip its 59-strong Boeing 727 fleet with the Flight Dynamics head-up guidance system (HGS).

The move will allow UPS 727 crews to fly manual Category IIIA approaches in visibility as low as 210m (700ft) and take off in visibility down to 90m.

The aircraft is limited to Cat I operations (550m landing visibility), resulting in UPS suffering numerous cancellations and delays during the recent bad winter weather in the northern USA.

UPS had been studying upgrades to the aircraft's Honeywell autopilot system, as a possible way of achieving Cat II capability, but this was "expensive and difficult", says Flight Dynamics. "We had the HGS in production and certificated [for the 727], and could deliver it within six months," says Flight Dynamics marketing manager, Phil Moylan.

The first of 60 systems will be shipped to UPS from Flight Dynamics' Portland, Oregon, headquarters in July. "We should have the whole fleet equipped by March-April 1997," says Moylan. Non-HGS-equipped 727s will be used on routes not prone to fog and severe winter weather.

As a result of the UPS deal, Flight Dynamics is optimistic of winning new business from a variety of other express-parcel operators with 727 fleets. These carriers include DHL, Express One and Emery in the USA.

The UPS contract, won in competition with Sextant Avionique, brings total HGS orders to more than 700.

Source: Flight International