ACI Jet completes first Challenger 604 FANS 1/A installation as Rockwell Collins authorised dealer


ACI Jet maintenance

San Luis Obispo, CA – California-based private jet management, luxury charter, aircraft maintenance, and executive terminal and FBO provider, ACI Jet, announced today the successful completion of the Company’s first FANS 1/A compliance package installation as an authorised dealer for Rockwell Collins. The package was installed on one of ACI Jet’s managed Challenger 604 aircraft, with a second aircraft nearing completion.

The compliance package hardware included a Rockwell Collins CMU-1000 Communications Management Unit, Rockwell Collins FMS-6000 Flight Management System WAAS/LPV upgrade, Satcom Direct Avionics Iridium Datalink Unit, a new L3 Communications FA2100 Cockpit Voice Recorder, and Rockwell Collins’ new Aircraft Information Management system for wireless database and maintenance downloads.

Dave Jensen, ACI Jet’s Vice President of Aircraft Maintenance, stated, “As the ADS-B Out and FANS 1/A requirements become the standard in 2020, many aircraft owners are struggling to find qualified repair stations to meet their needs. With this installation for our client, our team has proven that these major avionics upgrades can be delivered on time and on budget.” Jensen added, “Our Rockwell Collins dealership and maintenance authorization proves we can provide predictable costs, reliable and proven equipment, and send our clients off with confidence in their aircraft for years to come.”

Following the installation, the company performed a “squawk-free” test flight at its San Luis Obispo, California headquarters. The aircraft was returned to service the following day.

“Ongoing transatlantic access impacts both operational flexibility and the Challenger’s market value,” stated Brian Ford, ACI Jet’s Avionics Supervisor. “It’s rare for most facilities to perform an installation of this scale and complexity without having at least a few items to button up after flying the aircraft, but not for ACI Jet.” He continued, “we have multiple Challenger 604’s in our own fleet that we manage all aspects of maintenance for, as well as a substantial and growing number of operators of the model that we provide maintenance support for, so we are very familiar with all the nuances of Challenger aircraft.”

Why FANS 1/A Matters

The Future Air Navigation System (FANS), as the name implies, is a new standard of inflight safety and navigation that utilizes the latest technologies available today—bridging the gap between outdated systems and the future of aviation technologies. FANS 1/A specifically is the amalgamation of multiple technologies and hardware to create a suite of resources for aviators, maintenance providers, and air traffic controllers, and elevates the safety of air travellers. Beginning in 2020, aircraft not equipped with FANS 1/A will be denied access to the busiest route in the airways—the North Atlantic Organized Track System (NATOTS) which connects North America with Europe. Owners and operators who traverse the continents will be faced with less-favorable routes that take more time, consume more fuel, and ultimately devalue their aircraft asset when compared with other equipped aircraft of type when it comes time to upgrade.

Simplified, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), governing body of civil aviation recognised by 192 Member States around the globe, defines FANS 1/A compliance as holding specific Inmarsat or Iridium satcom systems, which enable inflight satellite-based communications and data transmissions, a Flight Management System (FMS) capable of handling satellite-based data, Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract (ADS-C) and Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), Required Navigational Performance (RNP) 4 rating with additional tolerance requirements, a dedicated Communications Management Unit (CMU), and a data-capturing Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). All of these systems amount to knowing where an aircraft is within space, where it’s going, and what aviating actions by the flight crew are approved. This leads to more informed flight crews and air traffic controllers and improved safety for all aircraft within ever more congested airspace.

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