Universal Avionics Restructures Executive Team

Universal Avionics (UA) announced the restructuring of its executive team with Gil Rivnai appointed as vice president of Engineering and Marc Bouliane’s previous role as vice president of Business Development expanded to include Marketing and Services.

“We are focused on uniting, extracting synergies, and leveraging our competencies throughout the entire organization,” said Dror Yahav, UA CEO. “The restructuring of our executive team was an important step in our effort to align the organization to achieve more innovation, product designs, and overall efficiency,” he added.

Rivnai joined UA in September 2018 as director of Enhanced Flight Vision System Products and served in that role before being promoted to UA’s head of Engineering in December 2019. Prior to UA, Rivnai had a long tenure within the Aerospace Division of Elbit Systems, Ltd., working in engineering roles ranging from board design, product management, team and department leadership, to chief engineering. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Physics, and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering.

Bouliane joined UA’s executive team as vice president of Business Development in March 2019 with 25 years of experience in the Aerospace industry. Prior to joining UA, Bouliane worked for over 12 years in various sales and management roles at Esterline Avionics Systems and CMC Electronics. Earlier on in his career, he served in various engineering and product management roles for Bombardier Aerospace. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering.

UA also announces the departure of Dan Reida, vice president of Sales, Marketing and Support. He had been a valuable member of the UA executive team, serving the company for more than 30 years and playing a major role in the success of introducing new products and capabilities to the market. UA’s Sales, Marketing and Support organization is now merged with the Business Development organization, acting as one unified group under the leadership of Bouliane.

Garmin Autoland Achieves FAA Certification for General Aviation Aircraft

Garmin announced Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification and availability of the Garmin Autoland system in the G3000 integrated flight deck in the Piper M600. In the event of an emergency, Autoland will control and land the aircraft without human intervention. The award-winning Garmin Autoland system is also featured on the Cirrus Vision Jet and Daher TBM 940 and will soon be available on these aircraft, with additional aircraft approvals to follow.

“What started as a vision to develop the world’s first Autoland system for general aviation, became a reality today as we deliver one of the industry’s most significant innovations,” said Phil Straub, Garmin executive vice president and managing director of aviation. “Congratulations to the entire Garmin team who contributed to the development and certification of Autoland – one of the industry’s most forward-thinking technologies that will forever enhance aviation safety and save lives.”

In the event of an emergency, the pilot or passengers on board the aircraft can activate Autoland to land the aircraft with a simple press of a dedicated button. Autoland can also activate automatically if the system determines it’s necessary. Once activated, the system calculates a flight plan to the most suitable airport, while avoiding terrain and adverse weather, initiates an approach to the runway and automatically lands the aircraft – without pilot or passenger intervention.

Autoland takes into account a breadth of information and criteria during an activation, including a wide range of performance, operational and environmental factors. The availability of a GPS approach with lateral and vertical guidance to the runway is also required when the system is considering various airports and runways. Even further, the system will automatically communicate with air traffic control (ATC), advising controllers and pilots operating near the aircraft of its location and its intentions.

Throughout an Autoland activation, the G3000 integrated flight deck provides passenger-centric visual and verbal communications in plain-language so passengers in the aircraft know what to expect. The flight displays show the aircraft’s location on a map alongside information such as the destination airport, estimated time of arrival, distance to the destination airport and fuel remaining. Airspeed, altitude and aircraft heading are also labeled in an easy-to-understand format. Passengers also have the option to communicate with ATC by following simple instructions on the display using the touchscreen interface on the flight deck.

The Garmin Autothrottle system is used to automatically manage aircraft speed, engine performance and engine power so the aircraft can climb, descend or maintain altitude as needed during an Autoland activation. On approach to land, the system initiates a controlled descent to the airport. If the aircraft needs additional time to descend or slow down during the approach, the Autoland system initiates a standard holding procedure. When aligned with the runway, the landing gear and flaps are automatically extended and the aircraft continues its descent. On the runway, automatic braking is applied while tracking the runway centerline to bring the aircraft to a full stop. Engine shutdown is also automated so occupants can safely exit the aircraft.

At any time, a pilot can easily deactivate an Autoland activation. With a single press of the “AP” autopilot key on the autopilot controller or the autopilot disconnect button on the controls, an Autoland activation can be canceled. The flight display shows a message that confirms Autoland has been deactivated and in the event of an accidental deactivation, the system shows passengers how to reactivate Autoland if needed.

Garmin Autonomí, a family of autonomous safety solutions, encompasses Autoland, Emergency Descent Mode (EDM) and Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP). These technologies add to the safety enhancing tools and capabilities of a Garmin-equipped flight deck. For example, in the event an aircraft loses pressurization, EDM is capable of automatically descending the aircraft to a preset altitude without pilot intervention to help avert hypoxic situations.

ESP further enhances the Autonomí suite by working to assist the pilot in avoiding unintentional flight attitudes beyond that for normal flight. ESP works in the background while the pilot is hand flying the aircraft to help pilots avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles. Should the pilot become inattentive while hand flying the aircraft and exceed pre-determined pitch, roll or airspeed limitations, Garmin ESP activates and the pilot will feel pressure on the flight controls that guide him/her back to a recommended flight limit.


ThinKom Completes Successful Antenna Interoperability Demonstrations on Ku-Band LEO Satellite Constellation

ThinKom Solutions, Inc., recently completed a series of interoperability tests that demonstrated the compatibility of its core antenna technology with a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network. 

The tests took place during the first quarter of 2020, using commercially available airborne-certified hardware, including a ThinKom Ku3030 phased-array antenna subsystem and a Gogo radome, adaptor plate and power amplifier that together comprise the “2Ku” aero satcom terminal.

The 2Ku terminal demonstrated rapid acquisition and tracking of LEO satellites and provided continuous connectivity over all operationally relevant elevation angles. The switch time between individual satellite beams was less than 100 milliseconds (ms), and handoffs between satellites were completed in less than one second. Switches between LEO and geostationary (GEO) satellites were also achieved with similar results.

The measured terminal performance demonstrated the potential that the combination of ThinKom antennas and LEO solutions will provide, with throughput rates in excess of 350 Mbps on the downlink and 125 Mbps on the uplink, at latencies of less than 50 ms. 

“LEO satellite networks have the potential to be transformative to the in-flight connectivity experience, but also place new stringent demands on the antenna systems used to track and connect with the rapidly moving satellites,” said Bill Milroy, CTO of ThinKom Solutions. “This important demonstration is another milestone verifying that our antenna technology operates effectively in the LEO environment, which is a key requirement for airlines in terms of enhanced network resiliency and flexibility.”  

ThinKom has successfully tested its Ku- and Ka-band COTS phased-array aero antennas across commercial and military frequency bands and a wide range of GEO and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites over the past 12 months. In all cases, the phased-array antennas have consistently demonstrated high throughput operation and rapid reliable handoffs, including both intra- and inter-satellite switching.


Manufacturers Raise Awareness on 406Day about Benefits and Responsibilities of Owning 406 MHz Beacons

Safety specialists ACR Electronics, ARTEX, and Ocean Signal are raising 406 MHz beacon awareness and offered important advice on the eighth annual 406Day (#406Day20) in April.

Every year, the leading beacon manufacturers team up with supporters and aviation, outdoor, and boating safety partners to highlight the benefits and responsibilities of owning an EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) or ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter).

The awareness day encourages aviators, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts to update their beacon registration, check their battery expiration date, and self-test their beacons to make sure they are working perfectly. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the 43,000+ lives saved worldwide since the mid-1980s by using emergency distress 406 MHz beacon signals and the Cospas-Sarsat system.

“406Day is about getting beacon owners more comfortable with their emergency 406 MHz device by testing their beacon, making sure they know how to use it, checking the battery expiration date and updating their registration information,” says Mikele D’Arcangelo, vice president of Global Marketing & Product Management.

EPIRBs for boats, PLBs for outdoor adventures and ELTs for planes operate on the 406 MHz frequency. Each 406 MHz beacon transmits a unique digital code that identifies the type of beacon and allows registration data to be associated with the device. The registration data provides information such as the beacon owner, the type of vessel and emergency points of contact.

ACR Electronics’ new award-winning ResQLink View PLB now offers users even more innovations and functionality, including a screen displaying all the beacon’s operational activities, including GPS coordinates, operating instructions, usage tips, transmission bursts, as well as battery power. 

ACR Electronics offers the following simple advice to beacon owners to ensure their EPIRB, PLB or ELT will operate effectively in the event of an emergency.

  • Check the battery expiration date – Each beacon is marked with the Month and Year the battery needs to be replaced.
  • Update your beacon registration – Make sure your contact information is correct and your emergency contacts information is accurate. It’s the best way to assist Search and Rescue should you ever need to activate your beacon.
  • Double check your beacon registration number matches your beacon – Especially if you hand wrote your registration and mailed it in. It’s easy for a 1 to look like a 7, so always confirm they match.
  • Test your beacon – 406Day is about getting beacon owners to be more comfortable with their beacon, so do a self-test and make sure it’s working perfectly.
  • Educate your family and friends – Take a picture with your EPIRB, PLB, or ELT and share it on your social media accounts using the hashtags #406Day20 and #beaconssavelives.

For evidence of the effectiveness of beacons check out SurvivorClub, ACR’s one-of-a-kind ‘You use it – we replace it program’ which provides real-life testimonies shared by people of all ages and from all walks of life, who thanks to their beacon, have lived to tell the tale.


VT Group Awarded Presidential Helicopters Support Contract

Technology integrator and C5ISR solutions provider, VT Group, has been awarded a $105M contract by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to support the Presidential Helicopters Program Office (PMA-274), Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1), and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Twenty-One (HX-21). Under the five-year, single-award contract VT Group will provide the US Navy and Marine Corps with research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E); integrated logistics; engineering; and maintenance support. 

The presidential helicopter fleet provides rotary wing transportation to the President and Vice President of the United States, heads of state, and other official parties. VT Group has supported PMA-274 since 2004, leveraging its uniquely qualified engineering and technical expertise to provided mission-critical services for the mixed fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft that currently transport the President, as well as other support platforms. Under this new contract, VT Group will continue to support the existing fleet, but will also integrate the new VH-92A®helicopter into full operational service. The Navy has said that it will procure 21 VH-92A operational aircraft and two test aircraft; the new platform will offer technological and performance improvements and serve as a complete mobile command-and-control platform. 

“The presidential helicopters support contract is the flagship of VT Group’s growing aerospace engineering portfolio,” said John Hassoun, VT group president and CEO. “We are immensely proud to be NAVAIR’s partner-of-choice for this high profile, mission-critical program, and equally proud of our engineers and technical experts who remain committed – day in and day out – to NAVAIR’s 100% mission success requirement.” 

VT Group has a 50-year history of providing defense customers with industry-leading modernization solutions and full lifecycle engineering services – in the air, on land, and at sea. Its aerospace capabilities include a full spectrum of engineering, maintenance and sustainment services for fixed and rotary wing, tilt rotor, and unmanned aircraft. In addition to the presidential helicopter fleet, VT Group has provided prime contract systems engineering and integrated logistics support for the V-22 Osprey, F/A-18 Hornet, MQ-8 Fire Scout, AH-64 Apache, and UH-60 Blackhawk.


Elliott Aviation Offers Three-Week Guaranteed Downtime on G1000 NXi Installations

Elliott Aviation has announced a $3,000 per day guaranteed three-week downtime on standalone King Air Garmin G1000 NXi installations. Elliott Aviation has completed over 350 installations, which is more Garmin G1000/G1000 NXi installations in King Airs than all other dealers in the world, combined. In addition to the industry-leading downtime guarantee, the company offers free avionics familiarization with all Garmin G1000 NXi installations in King Airs. 

The Garmin G1000 NXi in the King Air is the latest technology which includes an all new autopilot, WAAS/LPV, synthetic vision, XM weather, geo-referenced charts, RVSM, SurfaceWatch runway monitoring, and cockpit connectivity.

“We’ve led the industry in G1000 and G1000 NXi installations for over a decade,” said Conrad Theisen, director of Avionics Sales at Elliott Aviation. “By offering a three-week downtime guarantee, customers can be assured they are getting the best-quality installation by the most experienced team in the world in the shortest downtime in the industry.”

Elliott Aviation is a King Air authorized service facility. They have been servicing King Airs since 1964.

Elliott Aviation’s team says they use the highest-level of safety precautions for mitigating COVID-19 that the company has implemented in their three facilities to ensure employee and customer safety. This includes extensive, documented cleaning, social distancing, and the highest-level of cleanliness. A complete list of the steps Elliott Aviation has taken to mitigate COVID-19 can be seen on their website.


Binder USA Introduces Series 763 M12-A Connectors with Plastic Threaded Rings

Binder USA launches new Series 763 M12-A connectors with plastic threaded rings. The IP68-rated male and female cable connectors are available with 3, 4, 5, 8 or 12 gold- plated contacts in a molded UV-resistant nylon (PA) housing. The plastic connectors offer a lightweight, cost-effective solution for use in factory control systems and electrical equipment requiring IP68 protection. Series 763 ready-to-connect cable sets are available with 2 or 5-meter cable lengths.

Key features include:

  • Series 763, M12-A
  • Degree of protection: IP68 in mated condition
  • Rated voltage: 250 V (3, 4 contacts), 60 V (5 contacts), 30 V (8, 12 contacts)
  • Rated current: 4.0 A (3, 4, 5 contacts), 2.0 A (8 contacts), 1.5 A (12 contacts) per conductor
  • Contact plating: Au (gold)

Garmin TeamX Unveils the 7-inch Format aera 760 Portable Aviation GPS

Garmin announced the aera 760, a premium aviation portable that is purpose-built for the pilot and the cockpit. The aera 760 boasts a 7-inch bright, sunlight readable touchscreen display complete with comprehensive chart options in a compact and dedicated portable GPS. Additional features of the aera 760 include the option to load instrument approach procedures, arrivals and departures, approach chart overlay on the map, Garmin Connext wireless connectivity, as well as the option to integrate it with select Garmin avionics. The aera 760 is expected to be available in May for a list price of $1,599 USD.

“On behalf of our innovative and nimble TeamX gang of aviation enthusiasts, we’re excited to introduce the latest edition to the distinguished family of Garmin portable GPS products, the feature-packed aera 760,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “For nearly three decades, Garmin has sold hundreds of thousands of portable GPS products for aircraft big and small. Building upon our acclaimed portable aviation GPS line-up, the aera 760 has the most robust aviation feature set to-date, that is designed exclusively by pilots – for pilots.”

Featuring a modern yet rugged design, the aera 760 is an all-in-one aviation portable complete with a built-in GPS/GLONASS receiver that is optimized for the cockpit. Its bright, 7-inch sunlight readable display can run on battery power for up to four hours on a single charge. Along the bezel, an industry-standard USB-C connection is used to charge and power the aera 760, while a microSD card slot allows pilots to load topography and street maps or use it to easily transfer user waypoints. The aera 760 features an intuitive user-interface resembling that of many other popular Garmin products such as the GTN Xi series, G3X Touch and Garmin Pilot allowing pilots to easily transition between multiple Garmin products in the cockpit. Capable of operating in harsh conditions, the aera 760 has also been tested and hardened to meet stringent temperature and vibration standards.

New to the aera 760, pilots can load departures, arrivals and instrument approach procedures (IAPs) within a flight plan, which can be wirelessly transferred to a navigator in the cockpit. Once a procedure is loaded within the aera 760, pilots have the option to view the chart or they can overlay it on the moving map. IFR enroute charts, VFR sectionals and Garmin FliteCharts are also geo-referenced, providing optimal situational awareness. Jeppesen electronic charts are compatible with the aera 760 and give customers worldwide access to instrument approach chart information. In addition to procedures, victor airways, user-defined holds and holds over an existing navigation fix can be entered into a flight plan.

Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow the aera 760 to take advantage of Garmin Connext wireless connectivity inside and outside of the cockpit. When connected to Wi-Fi, pilots can easily download aviation database and software updates without the need to physically connect it to a computer. Prior to departure, pilots can also view worldwide weather information on the aera 760 when it’s connected to Wi-Fi. In the cockpit, it is capable of wirelessly connecting to select products such as the GTX 345 or the GDL 52 to display the benefits of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) traffic, Flight Information Service-Broadcast (FIS-B) weather, SiriusXM aviation weather and more via Bluetooth. Exclusive features such as TerminalTraffic and TargetTrend can also be viewed on the moving map and dedicated traffic pages.

Pilots can hard-wire the aera 760’s power, audio and dual RS-232 connections to receive additional benefits. When connected to a navigator such as the GTN 650Xi/750Xi, GTN 650/750 or the GNS 430W/530W, the aera 760 can send and receive flight plan data that is entered into the navigator over a serial port so all products remain synchronized throughout the flight. It is also capable of wirelessly connecting to these navigators when paired with a Flight Stream 210/510. When connected to a NAV/COM such as the GTR 225, GNC 255 or GTR 200, frequencies and airport identifiers can also be transferred from the aera 760 to the corresponding NAV/COM. For aircraft flying in visual conditions, pilots can optionally connect the aera 760 to select autopilots to fly lateral GPS and single point vertical navigation (VNAV) guidance. For example, pilots flying in visual conditions can fly a VNAV profile from their current altitude to pattern altitude using the aera 760 fully coupled to the autopilot.

3D Vision technology displays a virtual 3D perspective view of surrounding terrain, obstacles and airports, as well as a horizontal situation indicator (HSI) that is capable of showing lateral and vertical deviation bars. When the aera 760 is panel mounted or paired with a compatible attitude source such as a GDL 52 or GTX 345, pilots can view synthetic vision (SVX), which adds the display of back-up attitude information on the portable.

The aera 760 also features fuel price information, an E6B flight computer and weight and balance calculators. The E6B can be used prior to a flight to aid in calculating fuel burn, estimated time of arrival (ETA) and more. While in-flight, the aera 760 utilizes ground speed information to recalculate fuel burn and ETA. Helicopter operators also have access to features tailored to their unique operations, such as WireAware wire-strike avoidance technology. WireAware overlays power line locations and relative altitude information on the moving map and provides both aural and visual alerting when operating near power lines. With optional map data, pilots also have the option to enter street intersections or non-aviation waypoints. GPS altitude display is offered in both mean sea level (MSL) and above ground level (AGL), so they are easier to identify relative to the aircraft flight path.

The aera 760 is expected to be available in May for a list price of $1,599 USD and is compatible with the cost-effective Garmin Navigation Database that is available in the Americas with US coverage starting at $39.95 for a single update. A variety of annual bundles are also available on the flyGarmin website, such as the U.S bundle for $169.95, which includes the Garmin Navigation Database, FliteCharts, IFR/VFR Charts, terrain, obstacles, SafeTaxi and the airport directory with fuel prices. Pilots can also add enhanced map information such as topography or street maps using a MicroSD card. The aera 760 is supported by Garmin’s award-winning aviation support team, which provides 24/7 worldwide technical and warranty support. For additional information, visit www.garmin.com/aera760.


Battery-Powered Single-Channel Signal Conditioner for use with Bridge and Differential Voltage Sensors

MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corporation released Endevco  Model 4418 low-noise signal conditioner providing test engineers with a new battery-operated solution for lab and field testing. The Model 4418 signal conditioner is designed to work with piezoresistive bridge sensors and differential voltage sensors, including Endevco’s line of piezoresistive accelerometers, piezoresistive pressure sensors, variable capacitance accelerometers and angular rate sensors. The unit provides the excitation supply to the sensor and includes switchable gain, optional filter and zero output tuning. The Model 4418 is a small, lightweight single channel device and is unique in terms of its portability and functionality.

The compact size and full-day battery life of the internal lithium battery make the Model 4418 signal conditioner ideal for use in low channel count R&D applications where AC power is not available. 


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