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Mon, Jun 23, 2008

FedEx Earns FAA Certification For MD-10 Cockpit System

Combined HUD/EVS Improves Situational Awareness On Takeoff, Landing

FedEx Express recently earned FAA certification of a new aircraft avionics system to improve situational awareness for pilots during takeoff and landing.

FedEx Express is the first major commercial carrier in the airline industry to receive a Supplemental Type Certificate for the advanced system, which combines Honeywell International 'Head Up Display' (HUD) technology with infrared 'Enhanced Flight Vision System' (EFVS) technology of Elbit Systems of America Commercial Aviation-Kollsman Business Unit.

The STC approves the combined system for installation in the FedEx fleet of Boeing MD-10 freighters.

Upon activation of the system, pilots can significantly enhance visibility in poor weather —including darkness, smoke, smog, haze and other weather events—while simultaneously seeing critical flight data. This allows the captain to maintain a heads-up view of his surroundings, eliminating transition time normally needed to look down at cockpit primary flight information. The visual enhancement is similar to that created by infrared night-vision technology used in modern-day defense systems.

"The visual transition from an instrument approach to landing, especially in low visibility conditions, is one of the more challenging tasks a pilot performs," said James Parker, senior vice president of Air Operations at FedEx Express. "This system is a leading edge safety enhancement that will complement the skills of our pilots. Combining HUD and EFVS technology into a single system for flight crew situational awareness increases the margin of safety in all aircraft operations and, more importantly, during reduced visibility conditions."

The Honeywell HUD interfaces with aircraft navigational and flight data systems in presenting a high resolution liquid crystal display of critical flight guidance information. This is overlaid with real-time EFVS infrared video of the outside world that is displayed in an overhead unit in the captain's forward field of view using HUD "combiner” technology. Elbit Systems Ltd., Electro-Optics-Elop manufactures the combiner glass.

The company’s MD-10 modification program for HUD/EFVS will begin this summer and is expected to be completed in 2012. The world’s largest cargo carrier also anticipates seeking FAA approval to expand installation of the technology on its entire trunk fleet.

FMI: www.fedex.com

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