- April 27, 2011 - Equipped with a newly-integrated flight deck featuring large-format Universal Avionics Flat Panel displays and special mission Flight Management Systems, the de Havilland DHC-7 (Dash 7) operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) recently returned from its latest season of hard work in Antarctica. The new flight deck retrofit completed in fall 2010 supports critical missions BAS conducts in the extreme and varied operating conditions found on the Antarctic subcontinent.
BAS is one of the world's leading environmental research centres and is responsible for the United Kingdom's national scientific activities in Antarctica.
"From a pilot's point of view, we found the Universal systems intuitive to operate and easy to use after an acclimatization period of only a few hours. The training provided by Universal helped considerably with this process," says Alan Meredith, BAS' Chief Pilot. "The improved operability and especially the increased situational awareness are appreciated by the crews and in general we are very pleased with the upgrade. The upgrade has, from an avionics perspective, future proofed this airframe for which there is no obvious alternative that meets British Antarctic Survey's operating criteria."
The upgrade consisted of four Universal Avionics EFI-890R Flat Panel Displays, dual UNS-1Fw WAAS/SBAS-FMSs with multi-mission management software (MMMS), TAWS, dual Vision-1(r) Synthetic Vision Systems, dual Radio Control Units (RCU), and dual Application Server Units (ASU) for charts, checklists and electronic document (e-docs) display. The integration project was led by BAS maintenance support contractor Voyageur Airways Limited based at North Bay, Ontario, Canada, in cooperation with Universal dealer Kitchener Aero Avionics and Avionics Design Services. The Supplemental Type Certificate approval was issued by Transport Canada in October of 2010.
The Dash 7 is the only aircraft type that meets specific mission requirements of BAS, making it the lifeline and intercontinental link supporting transport, critical scientific research and survey missions based at the Rothera Research Station (Adelaide Island), along with regular long over-water resupply flights staging from the Falkland Islands and Chile.
Operators of Dash 7 aircraft that will equip with this advanced Universal flight deck will benefit from a previously-unavailable level of safety and situational awareness, along with reduced maintenance cost burden. Unique special-mission operations features for the increasing number of Dash 7s migrating to specialized roles are also supported.
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