Worth the Wait — FAA’s New EFVS Rule FAR 91.176

The FAA has released the long-awaited Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) rule FAR 91.176 that will bring numerous benefits to aviation. More specifically, the rule will expand applicability of EFVS for business aircraft owners and operators and introduce, for the first time, similar benefits to the air transport industry.  Up until now, other than by exemption, the air transport sector has not been able to participate in the operational benefits EFVS affords. This has all changed.

The new rule is lengthy, so let’s  highlight some of the impacts of the rule change.

Main benefits to FAA’s new EFVS rule:

  • Enhances low-visibility flight and ground operations
  • Increases access, efficiency and throughput at many airports when low visibility is a factor
  • Reduces infrastructure necessary to support low visibility operations
  • Provides a real-time display of the outside world in low-visibility conditions using imaging sensors
  • Enables descent below Decision Altitude/Decision Height (DA/DH) or Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) in low visibilities on a greater number of approach procedure types (precision, approach procedure with vertical guidance (APV) and non-precision)

The comprehensive re-structuring and implementation of FAR 91.176 impacts numerous rules and guidance documents that provide a better cross reference. These cross reference materials make the review and learning of this material much easier than in the past. (The complete rule can be found on the Federal Register.)

The FAA 91.176 rule summary:

Establishes new landing minima

  • Permits operators to use an EFVS to touchdown and rollout 91.176(a)
  • Relocates EFVS to 100’ operations to 91.176(b)

Permits operators who conduct EFVS operations under parts 121, 125 or 135 to use EFVS-equipped aircraft

  • Dispatch/release under IFR
  • Allow those operators to initiate and continue an approach when destination weather is at or below authorized visibility minimums on the Instrument Approach Plate (IAP)

Establishes pilot training and recent flight experience requirements for EFVS operators

  • The pilot flight crew member or any other person who manipulates the controls of an aircraft during EFVS operation meets the training, recent flight experience and refresher training requirements in FAR 61.66 is applicable to EFVS operations
  • Provides EFVS training requirements for Part 121 and Part 135 operators   

Revises pilot compartment view certification requirements for vision systems

  • New airworthiness standards for certification of vision systems removes ‘special conditions’ that were required to certify vision systems which will speed up the certification process
  • The FAA issued Advisory Circular 90-106A, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems and Advisory Circular 20-167A, Airworthiness Approval of Enhanced Vision System, Synthetic Vision System, Combined Vision System and Enhanced Flight Vision System Equipment.  This updates these documents to support the newly released regulations

The FAA established that these rules would be performance-based and not linked to specific sensor technology. This provides a means to allow for sensor development as new sensor capabilities emerge. The applicant will demonstrate sensor performance during the EFVS certification process. With this, the FAA will manage EFVS operational minimums and approval through its authorization process. This affords a more streamlined means to respond to new technology developments.  As one reads through this material, it is apparent the FAA sets standards that will carry this technology and its operations well into the future.

Presently, EFVS is required to be displayed on a conformal, flight-path-based Head-Up Display (HUD), which displays selectable flight path angle as well as lateral and vertical approach path deviation and command guidance as appropriate for the type of approach being flown. The FAA has provided a means for the development of new display types and sensor capabilities but they will need to be vetted through a certification process similar to the current HUD-based EFVS and meet the same safety and performance standards.

This approach to implementing the new EFVS rules will guide a global process to visual-equivalent operations and provide a means to standardize international-based operations and regulatory process. The application of this comprehensive approach to implementing EFVS will secure safety, airfield throughput and airline operational benefits in all takeoff and approach operations. The FAA’s consistent implementation of these changes supports the design concept implemented decades ago of placing more capability on the airplane rather than build additional ground infrastructure.

Stay tuned as this new rulemaking progresses and operators are approved for its use.  This rulemaking could be a real game changer.

Read more about author Dean Schwab.


Is it really a business jet if it has no internet connection?

When traveling abroad, understanding a few basic foreign language phrases can go a long way in making it a better experience, versus not having any at all.

The same goes for internet in a business jet – even having a little bit of connectivity makes it a better experience, compared to not having it at all. In fact, many newcomers to a business jet – the very people who will drive future demand for aircraft – are a surprised to find that many aircraft don’t automatically come with some kind of internet connection.

So what is the range of your aircraft connectivity options? What’s the connectivity metaphor to knowing a few phrases, versus being a United Nations linguist? Here’s a quick breakdown of the options available today.

If you need the basics

Iridium SATCOM – Iridium is a constellation of Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites that give worldwide coverage for voice services but with lower bandwidth data rates. Most aircraft can take advantage of Iridium SATCOM using a blade-mounted antenna. While this solution is versatile and relatively low cost, the low bandwidth will limit connectivity options to telephone calls and text messaging only.

If you need a little more bandwidth

Inmarsat Swift Broadband – This is currently one of the more popular and capable systems. Using a geo-stationary constellation of Inmarsat’s I-4 satellites, this option is a versatile and higher-bandwidth solution that supports a variety of internet activities across a wide variety of aircraft. Depending on the antenna fit (blade or steerable dish), data rates can get from 200 to 432kbps, or nearly 0.5Mbps. Streaming media is possible, but some smart things have to be done in the router to bond channels together and increase available speed. Router management can also increase capabilities by enabling compression software to improve efficient throughput. Because it provides safety services, SBB is a complementary solution to the options below.

If you have more passengers on board

Yonder Ku and 2Ku – The Yonder Ku option leverages the same collection of geostationary high-bandwidth satellites used for broadcast television, allowing for “office in the sky” applications. The high bandwidth allows you to send and receive email, establish VPN connections, stream video and participate in video conferencing. The Yonder Ku antenna fits larger business aircraft with room to accommodate a 30cm antenna, while the fuselage-mounted 2Ku antenna solution is used almost exclusively in air transport. This is a capable solution to consider with some limitations when transiting oceans.

If you’re traveling globally with multiple passengers

Inmarsat Ka band – Branded as JX (or Jet ConneX) in business aviation, Ka-band is made available via a worldwide platform of recently launched I-5 satellites. JX offers The highest bandwidth quoted for the satellites is up to 50Mbps, and a typical business jet antenna can expected rates of up to 15Mbps. This high-speed connectivity will allow more devices to be in use on board an aircraft at the same time.

Let’s face it. Today the world – and your passengers – speak through and with the internet. Ask yourself: will your passengers want to fly in your aircraft if it doesn’t speak their language?

Read more about author James Hardie.

A big step toward NextGen: DCL in the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun the deployment of its Data Link Departure Clearance (DCL). This service will be available at 56 major airports in the U.S. by the end of 2016. This is the first step towards nationwide enroute CPDLC coverage. DCL enables your departure clearance to be delivered and responded to via FANS CPDLC. Potential revisions will be delivered via CPDLC, all clearances will be in a loadable route format.

Whew! Now that we’ve gotten the technical description out there let’s talk about what this really means for operators and why operators may want to take advantage of it.

  • The Data Link Departure Clearance Service (DCL) provides automated assistance for delivering initial, and revised departure clearances.
  • DCL does not replace Pre Departure Clearances, but is the next step in the evolution of data link.
  • The service provides the ability to introduce revisions to a previously cleared flight plan, which can be received at any time until the aircraft is handed off to the tower for takeoff.
  • In the not too distant future, logging on to receive your DCL clearance will seamlessly transfer you to enroute CPDLC after takeoff.
  • ARINCDirect has administrative access to the FAA’s Subscriber Database and manage our operators DCL and PDC preferences.

If you need more information about how DCL can work for you, contact our training team for more information: ADTraining@arinc.com.

Read more about author Christian Renneissen.

EBACE 2016 Report: Four Questions About High-Speed Connectivity

High speed airborne connectivity is all the buzz within the business aviation industry, and EBACE was no different. In our latest post to our Aviation Week Special Topics Page, Dave Poltorak, vice president and general manager in our information management services business, talks about two questions he heard about Ka-band connectivity, and two more that owners/operators should also be considering:

EBACE 2016 Report: Four Questions About High-Speed Connectivity Industry exhibitions and conferences are a prime opportunity to get a firsthand sense of what is on our customers’ minds. And after three days at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland this past week, it’s clear that the big topic on private and corporate aircraft operators’ minds is connectivity.

To be more precise, I heard two questions over and over again during the show: 

To read the rest of the post, visit our Aviation Week Information Management Solutions page.

Internet Access—an investment must for your business aircraft

Lots of things are really important when flying an aircraft—aerodynamics, engines, cockpit avionics—but when you consider that those are expected requirements from passengers, you start to differentiate that experience. And today, it’s seamless, reliable internet access that is changing the game and increasing operator satisfaction.

The famous psychologist Frederick Herzberg, one of the most influential names in business management, pointed out that the things which make us dissatisfied or unhappy about an experience are actually different from those things that make us happy or even excited about an experience. He called them hygiene and motivational factors.

For example, I am going to be pretty dissatisfied with my flight if my aircraft is AOG and no amount of impressive features on the aircraft is going to make up for not getting where I need to go—this is what Herzberg referred to as “hygiene.” However, once you have the basics in place, then other things can start to matter and make us say, “Wow.” The trouble is, “wow” changes all the time and becomes familiar and expected.

At the heart of nearly every business is some level of online activity, be it in the office, on a mobile device or in a car. We are much closer to a world where the ability to access the internet in flight is a basic hygiene factor for keeping passengers satisfied. For some people, it already is. While it may not be officially on the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) for safe flight operations, reliable internet access is becoming so important that if it is not going to be available, then principals will find another aircraft—just as they would if there was an engine issue.

Beyond keeping passengers satisfied, access to the internet is changing how business jets are utilized. With the ability to use the aircraft as an office, flight times can be changed to make better use of the time spent flying. For example, business jets do not have to conform to the same issues affecting commercial airliners on long-haul, eastbound transatlantic flights that are typically overnight sleeper flights (and a bad night’s sleep at that!). A business jet has a wider choice of airports for point-to-point operation. Business jets can fit into an alternative flight operation pattern to keep the aircraft passengers as productive as possible on the internet while they travel so they are prepared when they arrive at their destination.

Access to the internet on board that aircraft just helped get an even better return on the aircraft investment and that can only help any justification of what is important to have on the aircraft.

If you are still not convinced as you read this, try turning off your computer and getting any work done today. It might be fun, but it won’t last.  Everything has changed.

Read more about author James Hardie.

Getting buried by complexity?

Today’s pilots have a lot to think about. Mandates, upgrades, maintenance, checks, keeping passengers happy, staying competitive, staying alert—there’s a lot. With today’s modern avionics systems, operators have increased flexibility to display more information than ever before. So, how does one keep track of all this information without getting buried in complexity?

This is answered by a philosophy that we have adopted in our latest flight decks and includes the following concepts:   

  • Consistently presented controls
  • One- or two-step access to the most frequented menus and functions
  • Shallow Menu Layers that can be accessed without stepping out of previously selected menus
  • Predefined flight deck format selections and layout based on flight phases.

The Direct To dialog box (menu) is an example of how Pro Line Fusion consistently presents controls. The Direct To control is selected directly from the Keyboard (MKP) or within the Flight Management System (FMS) format, and the pilot will always see the same Direct To dialog box. From here, there is no guesswork about how to make the required entries.

Direct To Dialog Box

Need to open a CharEEJ MKPt, FMS format, Checklists, Map Format or something else?  These are just a one-button-push away and will predictably appear in the same location every time. They are available from the keyboard. (Pro Line Fusion® with touchscreens offers a real QWERTY keyboard).

Once inside a given format, the menu depth is kept to a minimum.  Leaving one menu to go to another or leaving one format to go to another will not require “backing out” of the menu.  Just select the other menu of interest or format of interest.

Flight Planning and the FMS
The FMS page is laid out to help with the flight planning process. The latest versions of our Pro Line Fusion FMS software will step the pilots through the typical flight planning process with data entry fields advancing automatically as each step completes.  However, nothing will stop the pilot from leaving a menu at any time or following a different path to accomplish the data entry in a different order depending on how much is already known about the flight plan.

Memorized Flight Deck Display Layouts
The pilots can revert to known flight deck layouts and settings with two-button pushes.  All of the Pro Line Fusion flight decks are preconfigured with layouts that could be typical for operations in a given flight phase such as Taxi, Takeoff, or Cruise.

mem configHas the mechanic been poking around at the maintenance system to load databases while you have been finishing up pre-flight? Upon your return to the fligh
t deck you find that all the formats have been changed and the maintenance format is still displayed, but don’t fret, it’s as easy as “MEM”, “1”, and the displays are set back to the start arrangement.  And it didn’t cost you a lot of brain power. This can apply to a lot of situations, and there are even memorized configurations that you define for your favorite setups.

All functionality, consistently presented, even if there is a failure
Let’s face it, there are bad days when things just don’t go well. Even with the required reliability and redundancy needed for certified avionics systems, there can eventually be a failure. With Pro Line Fusion, a failure should not be a complex event for you as a pilot. Sensor failures are automatically sorted by the system with reversion to known good sensors for air data or attitude, with notification that there are failures. Red flags and quick-button pushing are less of an issue for you.  However, you still have the control to force reversion of sensors if you wish to do so. If a display fails, the other displays will automatically pick up the task at hand and present you with a predictable format. The Pro Line Fusion displays have enough surface area and configurability to help ensure that you don’t lose access to the data you need in generally the same layout that is found when the system is fully functional. There is no need to re-adjust your scan to an unfamiliar layout of a PFD, Engine Indication, or Map format.

So, whether it is the day-to-day operation of the system or dealing with system failures, there are tools available today to help you not get buried in complexity.

We’d like to hear your stories in the comments about situations where things could have been made simpler.

Read more about author Aaron Child.


4 things you need to know before traveling to Cuba

You’ve no doubt seen the recent headlines of U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba. Not surprisingly, the interest in traveling to this beautiful island has drastically increased as well. While the process of traveling there by corporate or private aircraft may have been streamlined, the criteria to go remain unchanged.

If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must still be authorized by meeting certain conditions defined by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The latest amendments do not provide additional categories of authorized travel, but do offer some interesting examples of what actually qualifies for the general license for people-to-people travel.

So, before your flight department considers adding Cuba to your itinerary, here’s the CliffsNotes to the amended regulations:

1. Visas are a must-have

Visas are required for entry into Cuba.

– Visas must be obtained prior to entry into Cuba and they must be sourced in advance directly from the sponsor in Cuba.

– Visas can be obtained upon arrival.
– Not required for crew dropping off/picking up passengers but recommended.

2. Complete information for your sponsor in Cuba is required

Be sure you have all the required details for your sponsor in Cuba. Cuban authorities will be verifying the following information at a minimum:

– Company name
– Individual to be contacted
– Title of contact individual
– Address
– Phone number
– Fax number and/or email

3. Approved ports of entry / exit are no longer required

The Interim Final Rule that was published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Federal Register on March 21, 2016, addressed changes to the regulations regarding flights to and from Cuba. Essentially, 19 CFR 122, Subpart O has been removed, eliminating the need for aircraft flying to and from Cuba to utilize specific airports of departure and arrival.

4. No need to obtain a temporary sojourn license

A Temporary Sojourn License is no longer required, with two key restrictions:

– The aircraft/crew cannot stay in Cuba for more than 7 consecutive days.
– The aircraft cannot go to more than two airports within Cuba, and both must be international airports (entry and exit point).

This is not an exhaustive list of considerations before heading to Cuba, but it should get you started. Once you’re ready to take flight, let us help!

Get all of your questions answered and even set up your trip to Cuba by contacting us at ops@rockwellcollins.com or by phone at +1 713.430.7200. Safe travels!

Read more about author Rick Snider 

What do March Madness and flying have in common?

Without a doubt, March Madness more than lived up to its name during the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Did you predict Villanova to sweep the NCAA tournament? The craziness reached new heights during the first round of this year’s tournament as upsets were not only abundant, but incredibly major.

Looking back to 2012, when Kentucky clinched the tournament win and cut down the net, another champion was also introduced. Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion® flight deck entered into service on the Global 5000 in the final days of that tournament. Pro Line Fusion then realized additional cockpit tournament wins in other markets, something not seen by one team in basketball leagues. The Pro Line Fusion flight deck came to play on the Gulfstream 280 in the super-midsize business jet market later that year, followed by another fantastic 2014 league-changing win on the Embraer Legacy 450 and 500 business jets. Although each aircraft seeded in a league bracket of its own, the avionics winner was common, Pro Line Fusion across the board.

No, I’m not going to list out the Pro Fusion flight deck technologies available, and give you my play-by-play. Instead, I’m going to skip straight to what I consider to be my picks for the “Final Four” technologies you’ll always want as part of your flight deck:

airport dome#1 Seed- Head- up Guidance System with Synthetic Vision—game changing technology with an airport dome providing you the necessary situational awareness to land at unfamiliar destinations.

#2 Seed- ADS-B Out – Oh yes, December 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. is coming quick. Not equipping is like showing up to the Final Four without a basketball to play the game. No one plays.

#3 Seed- Takeoff and Landing Alerts—a technology that is almost like taking another set of eyes on board to reduce the risk of runway confusion or incursion. Yes, visuals and aural alerts help impede risk. You can’t go wrong with another set of eyes to keep you safe. A second set of eyes…that might come in handy for some of those ref calls.

#4 Seed- Split Format Displays—This is so Sweeeet. Reconfigurable displays let the crew decide what information is needed and when it’s needed. Large moving map, charts, weather, you make the call.

Four quick years have passed and now over 350 Pro Line Fusion tails are flying the organized tracks across the Atlantic and connecting between LAX and JFK meeting the business needs of many operators.

So, whether it is playing a game of basketball or flying an aircraft from LAX to JFK; it is about having the right training and tools to win the game and make your final destination with the right technologies on board.

How did your bracket fare?

Read more about author Bonnie Berg.

Cleared for engine start?

“You are ‘go’ for main engines start, 7, 6 – engine start – 3, 2, 1 …” You know where this is going.  My family had the fortune to be personally acquainted with the family of Col. Steven Nagel, and we were lucky enough to see and feel the STS-51G launch in June 1985 up close.  For those who have experienced a launch, you understand what I mean by being able to “feel” it. Although I’ve had the privilege to see other shuttle launches before its retirement – even with 30 years having passed – I’ll never forget that first launch.

IMG_1327Just this past fall, I added another event to my list of personal aviation firsts.  I rode along on my first King Air flight, and by no coincidence, it was equipped with Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion® avionics. This was a memorable first because I was part of the engineering team that originally put Pro Line Fusion on the Gulfstream G280 and Bombardier Global 5000, and seeing it firsthand in action on the King Air was extremely gratifying.  As an engineer, I had spent a lot of time working with different pilots to help define what would become Pro Line Fusion and this was the first time I saw it flying with my own eyes.  

During the trip, which took place in Europe, we met with several operators and discussed their thoughts on how the aircraft are used, howthe new avionics system can change their way of operating the aircraft, and the particular needs of operators.  It was nice to see the appreciation for the talented people working at Rockwell Collins and all the great thinking that has gone into the Pro Line Fusion design.

 In theIMG_1317 many years that Rockwell Collins has been supplying equipment to the King Air family, a lot has changed. There is no doubt that our participation in the various space programs has helped shape this evolution of technology and operation leading into the avionics now found in today’s cockpits. We are all doing what we can in many different ways to ensure everyone continues to be “go for engine start” with the latest technology available.

I look forward to future aviation and space achievements during my lifetime that will continue advancing humankind the way they have throughout our history. Pro Line Fusion is just another small step for… ah nevermind.  

Read more about author Aaron Child.

Catching the flying “bug”…literally

MeYou could say aviation is in my blood. After all, my grandfather started flying Aeronca Champs in the 1930s and my great uncle was a navigator on a B-29 bomber in World War II. Like many pilots, I fell in love with flying when I was very young, around five years old. I knew then that I wanted to be a pilot (much to my parent’s dismay, I later found out). I took lessons as a teen at local airports in New Jersey and ultimately became a flight instructor, airline pilot and corporate pilot.

Those that fly know the thrill of soaring through the air and the passion that drives us towards it. From the acceleration on takeoff, to the challenge of landing, every flight takes us away from the mundane and into the world of excitement and possibility. This passion is so strong that it pushes us to continue even after having some “less than pleasant” experiences. I remember one of those experiences quite vividly:

IMG_0026I was flying Metroliners for an airline that no longer exists that was based in south Florida. One night as it was getting dark,  I reached for a dimming knob on the instrument panel…. and to my surprise—and horror—as I went to turn the knob, it scurried away. Not believing my eyes, I attributed it to my lack of sleep the night before. Not so. I pushed the seat back to get a better view and realized that the WHOLE cockpit was “scurrying”—the plane was infested with cockroaches!

I looked over and yelled to the captain, “We’ve got cockroaches in this airplane!”

He responded very casually, “Yeah, nobody told you?”

No, they most certainly didn’t!  Needless to say, I spent the next few months covering my open soda cans sitting in the cup holder and putting all of my snacks in Ziploc bags to avoid any surprises in my food.

Imagine all the places they can hide….

Yet, cockroaches and all, I still feel that flying the Metroliner was one of the most fun flying jobs I’ve had. As my career progressed and I flew more advanced aircraft, I found myself becoming ever more fascinated with what really drove advanced airplanes – the avionics. This fascination grew and ultimately led me to Rockwell Collins.

The great thing about my job now is that I get to work with both pilots and the people that help make and design these truly advanced avionics. Through this experience, I’ve learned that the only real way to continuously improve our equipment is to get candid feedback from other pilots and maintenance personnel like yourselves. With this blog, I hope to start to open these conversations—so let’s get started!

What stories do you have that tested your passion for aviation?


Read more about author Mitch Bernstein.