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Honeywell Engineers Help Airbus 300 Freighters Fly into the Future

Honeywell Engineers Help Airbus 300 Freighters Fly into the Future

Honeywell is a major supplier to Airbus providing equipment across all their aircraft types. In the commercial market, the partnering relationship dates back to Airbus’ first wide-body, the A300, with Honeywell providing the Flight Management Computer. For the few remaining “greybeards” from this era, it is gratifying for them to see the A300 cockpit modernized with the latest-generation Flight Management System (FMS). “The next-gen FMS is a central function in the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics system. This system will give the A300-600, which first flew in 1983, a new lease on life. UPS indicated this upgrade is an enabler for them to extend the fleet to 2035,” said Allen Fenske, Honeywell Sr. Director of Airbus Programs.  

EASA certification was achieved on December 22, 2020. This is a significant milestone paving the path for UPS to upgrade their 52 freighters. “The program’s success in modernizing this 30-year-old aircraft required close collaboration between the three companies. Honeywell has decades of experience integrating new cockpits; however, this was our first with Airbus, working with their Upgrade Services organization,” noted Rey Trujillo, Sr. Program Manager who lead this project.

The upgrade includes replacing the current cathode ray tube displays with new multifunction LCD flat panel displays. Aside from significantly higher reliability and the larger format with sharper imaging, the displays have new features integrated in, including the traffic collision avoidance symbology and weather radar. The latter provides alerting for wind shear, turbulence, lightning and hail, enabling safer and more efficient navigating weather conditions. 

As UPS and Honeywell began discussions on the flight management system in late 2015, it soon became apparent that the A300 fleet would benefit from a more comprehensive flight deck upgrade. UPS asked Airbus to lead the program, and together they chose Honeywell and a Primus Epic solution, signing the contract in 2017.

Rob Anchondo, Honeywell Senior Engineering Director, Integrated Flight Deck Systems, punctuated that “The value that EPIC provides to UPS is efficiency and speed. They are getting enhanced maintenance data, wireless upload of world-wide navigation databases, and new cockpit capabilities. Future Air Navigation System (FANS) provides UPS priority with the ATC controllers, weather radar for routes around weather and a new GPS navigation system improves airport access with poor weather and 0.3 nm Required Nav Performance (RNP) landing capability.”

Also included are the latest Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, new standby instruments, and a new central maintenance system.

“Replacing avionics initially developed in the 1970s with a 21st-century solution was a big undertaking for both Airbus and Honeywell,” Fenske said. “This certification is testament to the maturity of the Primus Epic system and the strength of our partnership. It is rewarding for the Honeywell team to reach this point, enabling UPS to proceed with their fleet upgrade. UPS operations will progress on their mission to shorten gate times, reduce maintenance costs, enable access to more airports and to plan more efficient routes. The pilots will now have tools to fly more safely and efficiently around weather, get ATC priority and enjoy a much more integrated view on their larger color displays” he added.

Click here to learn more about how you can upgrade your fleet. 

Allen Fenske
Sr. Director Program Management


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