in Features / Airports

FCSL checking in for Africa

Posted 11 June 2018 · Add Comment

Flight Calibration Services Ltd (FCSL) is Europe’s only privately owned and fully independent flight calibration service. David Oliver has been looking at the services it is now providing in Africa.

FCSL provides cost-effective flight calibration, inspection, validation and checking for the full range of aircraft radio navigation aids, including everything from instrument landing systems (ILS) to Cat III and primary/secondary radar systems, with minimum disruptions to airfield and aircraft operations.
The company is both a flight inspection service provider and a flight inspection system (FIS) manufacturer.
Through its use of the latest technology, significant cost-savings have been achieved by using small lightweight airborne equipment with a high level of automation.
FCSL owns and operates four Diamond DA 62, one Diamond DA 42 and two Piper Chieftain aircraft, with sufficient aircrew and equipment to operate them simultaneously. This is the largest fleet of flight calibration aircraft in private ownership.
The airborne flight information (AFIS) equipment comprises a small lightweight unit housing the specialist navaid receivers, GPS receiver, data collection computer, telemetry transceiver and an operator laptop. It also includes a separate pilot’s head-up display (HUD) to assist with guidance and awareness.
The AFIS equipment uses its own satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS) to determine the aircraft’s position in space to within 20mm accuracy.
The head-up guidance display provides the pilots with situational awareness and accurate guidance during the inspection runs. Each profile run is preprogramed into the system and can be selected by either the flight inspector or the pilot using the touchscreen interface.
The laptop computer provides the flight inspector with all the real-time inspection and positioning data. The flight inspection software runs in a user-friendly Windows environment using multifunction facilities with the data presented in a clear and precise graphical format.
FCSL also provides a mobile AFIS that is capable of easy installation on locally based light or medium-sized aircraft. This is a flexible solution for commissioning and maintaining navaids at airports in remote locations, where the cost of deploying a flight-check aircraft is uneconomic. The compact lightweight design enables the equipment and crew to be deployed worldwide at short notice by commercial airlines. The mobile AFIS does not require any structural changes to the aircraft’s airframe or any additional antennas to be fitted.
A compact lightweight automated precision reference system (PRS) unit provides differential global positioning system (DGPS) corrections to the aircraft to enable the AFIS airborne equipment to fix its position in space. DGPS correction data is sent to the airborne flight inspection system via a dedicated telemetry link. Guidance information and inspection analysis is then provided to the pilot in real time.
FCSL has signed contracts with several African countries, including Libya, for en-route aids and a number of airports have signed up to various services.
They include the recent ILS Cat II commissioning at Tripoli and Benghazi airports in Nigeria for ILS; VHF omnidirectional range (VOR)-scheduled and commissioning flight inspections at Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Bauchi, Sokoto and Enugu Airports; and, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the commissioning of new instrument landing systems distance measuring equipment (ILS/DME) at Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kisangani Airports.
FCSL has also undertaken flight calibration of new ILS/DME (Cat II) at Kotoka International Airport in Accra for the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
 

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