Flight deck modification on a B737-200 aircraft

The Requirement

This B737-200 operator, operating Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) crew-change charter and remote community services in the austere conditions of Canada’s north, needed to replace obsolete avionics and flight displays to enhance safety, increase dispatch reliability and operational efficiency. These aircraft must be able to operate to paved, gravel and other unimproved runways 24/7/365.

Safety and operational efficiency can be enhanced through investment in technology. FIFO contracting requires demonstration to the operator’s clients, that they have taken every step possible to augment safety of flight operations.

Why the Operator Selected MC2

These aircraft, the “workhorses of the north” needed Mid-Canada Mod Center’s (MC2) skills and Boeing experience to meet their quality, cost and schedule requirements. MC2’s holistic approach, from listening and understanding the need, creating a solution for customer review, design and airworthiness review, kit build, installation and certification ensured the aircraft was wheels-up on an extremely tight timeline. MC2’s reputation for post-delivery support was an additional factor.

Main Benefits

The new Primary Flight Displays (PFD) and Multi-function Displays (MFD) have full ARINC 702 map display capability. This allows the pilot to see the path though the sky that the aircraft will fly. From a safety perspective in austere, poor weather environments, the ability to see the projected flight path when coupled with TCAS traffic is a powerful safety tool. Flight crew can see where the other aircraft traffic is in relation to the intended track and judge diverging or converging tracks well in advance. EGPWS, or terrain, can also be displayed, providing terrain mapping when operating low-level in the airport or remote gravel field environment. When operating in marginal Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), this can be a tremendous safety enhancement. The Satellite-based Augmentation System (SBAS) Flight Management Systems (FMS) in a dual configuration provide the ability to fly the increasing number of Localizer Performance (LP) and Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV) Level of Service (LOS) approaches and meet the requirements for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Out mandates. SBAS FMS complies with Performance-based Navigation (PBN) requirements.

About the Mods

Like every project MC2 undertakes, the modifications can be complex. This Canadian-based charter and cargo operator’s aircraft are no exception. While the existing radios, audio systems, original SBAS-FMS, EGPWS and weather radar were retained, key upgrades included:

  • Four (4) Universal Avionics EFI-890R Flat Panel Integrated Displays (FPID) replaced the aircraft’s obsolete legacy HSI/ADI suite with large format PFDs, MFDs and associated controllers. The four FPIDS are identical parts, reducing spares and logistics requirements, and highly-configurable to conform to an operator’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The 8.9” (diagonal) LCD displays are high-resolution and high-contrast that provide superior readability through the full range of ambient lighting conditions, from bright sunlight to dim nighttime environments, with extremely wide viewing angles. In addition, the displays are LED-backlit, reducing power requirements and a lower unit operating temperature for increased reliability.
  • Dual Honeywell Laseref IRS (Inertial Reference Sensors) replaced the existing vertical and directional gyros which were removed.  Dual Honeywell Laseref Inertial Reference Sensors were installed and interfaced to both the new and existing systems.
  • A second UNS-1Lw SBAS FMS (Flight Management System) was also installed to supplement the existing UNS-1Lw system previously installed by MC2.

Great Results

With SBAS-FMS the operator will have better access to remote airfields, some with gravel runways, gaining the ability to land in conditions that were previously prohibitive.

What the Operator Says

“We had an extremely tight timeline for these avionics upgrades. It’s always difficult to have an aircraft out of service, but MC2’s expertise and full-service approach to these mods, helped us achieve increased safety and new efficiencies as well as improved reliability.”

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