Boeing Upgrades 757 Avionics

A new set of avionics features on the flight deck of the Boeing 757 will make it even easier for crews to navigate or to avoid potential dangers in flight.

The first 757-200 equipped with the features was delivered to Icelandair April 20. All future 757s will incorporate the avionics upgrades.

The new enhanced ground proximity warning system features a display screen on the flight deck instrument panel that depicts terrain ahead in vivid red, yellow or green.

To determine what is ahead, the enhanced system uses the airplane's altitude, ground speed, longitudinal/latitudinal position and other data in conjunction with a built-in database of worldwide terrain. When terrain shown on the display is solid red or yellow and the system sounds a voice alert, the pilot immediately knows terrain is too close and must be avoided. The previous system did not have the terrain display or the look-ahead capabilities.

In addition, the 757 now has a predictive windshear system which uses color displays to alert flight crews. With new weather radar, the system looks for downbursts of air which indicate windshear conditions that the airplane might encounter when landing or taking off. When a downburst is found, the system sounds a voice alert and also provides a red or yellow icon on the display screen. The new system gives the pilot more reaction time than previous windshear systems.

The 757 also has a new Flight Management Computer (FMC). The improved FMC allows airlines to select options for advanced air traffic management, navigation and communications.

Those features include the Global Positioning System (GPS) that uses satellite signals to navigate during most phases of flight.

Another feature is a Satellite Communications System (SATCOM), which allows voice and data communications between the airplane and the ground. Even on long oceanic routes, passengers can telephone people on the ground and the crew can talk to air traffic control or request that weather forecasts and other data be sent to the airplane en route. SATCOM supplements the high frequency communication system currently in use in the 757 fleet.

The Boeing 757 family consists of the 757-200 and the new 757-300, which was delivered for the first time in March 1999. Flight decks for both models are designed for two-crew operation. Both models also share a common flight crew rating with the Boeing 767 family.

The 757-200, which can carry up to 239 passengers, has a range of 4,520 statute miles (7,420 km). The 757-300, which carries up to 289 passengers, has a range of 4,000 statue miles (6,436 km).

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Cheryl Addams