Woodgate Aviation maintenance team has started planning the installation of ultra-modern glass cockpit and autopilot system in two customer aircraft.
The cockpit makeovers on the two Beechcraft Kingair twin-turboprops will be fitted with the latest avionics so that both pilots will have identical displays in front of them and S-TEC digital autopilot system.
This is the first significant contract won by Woodgate for this highly specialised type of work since securing its dealership with Texas-based Genesys Aerosystems.
Cockpit digital displays will be provided by Garmin of Aspen, Colorado, completing an all-American equipment supply chain.
The work involves the removal of the existing analogue instrumentation and autopilot systems in the two Kingairs in a painstaking and patience-testing operation. The next generation is the G600txi glass cockpit, which is better, faster and provides enhanced situational awareness.
The complete upgrade will take up to twelve weeks to complete. Preparation is everything and no more so than in this highly specialised field.
Four to five weeks are devoted to technical drawings and processes, leaving nothing to chance, before moving to modifying the air frame, removing the redundant systems and installing the upgraded ones.
One of the engineers responsible for the task is Alan Crosby who’s a B2 Licensed Engineer.
In perfectly understated fashion, as he explained a busy diagram on an office whiteboard, Alan says: “The actual job itself won’t be too difficult. The laying of cables, the making up of plugs, fitting of LRUs and modification of the structure is day-to-day stuff….
“The complexity comes in the vast number of boxes that are going to go in and the interconnection of those, so the real work is in the preparation, making sure we’ve crossed all the ‘t’s and dotted all the ‘i’s to enable it all to flow smoothly on to the aircraft.”
Alan agrees that to the uninitiated, the complex drawings of boxes and connections resemble a brain-teasing 1,500-piece jigsaw.
At the end of it all, Woodgate Aviation’s customer will have two Kingairs with much more modern glass cockpits.
“This will allow the pilots to focus more on their role and it will take a lot of the workload and stress off them, having it all automated and put in front of them rather than having to go looking for the information”, declares Alan.
Woodgate Aviation Accountable Manager, David Shaw, says the new dealership with Genesys Aerosystems has given the company a strong additional service it can offer to customers.
David explains: “The customer wanted to upgrade and because of our dealership arrangement, we were able to offer a complete one-stop-shop solution.
“The S-TEC Digital Flight Control System, with displays by Garmin, will drastically transform the cockpit, indeed, the aircraft overall.
“We see this service as having considerable potential. A significant factor is having the highly qualified engineers capable of doing the exacting work. Alan makes it sound straight-forward but there’s a mountain of technical data that has to be followed to successfully complete the installation of the new autopilot system.
“At Woodgate Aviation, we’re excited by our new dealership and, of course, our first customer for such a makeover.”