Pilot Journal
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Chelton's Magic Boxes

The future of instrument flying is here and now

Chelton's Magic BoxesBefore they were booted up, the Chelton boxes in the Malibu Jet Prop we tested looked like any number of other newer panel configurations. Almost every new airframe manufacturer is putting glass into the cockpit now with a primary flight display (PFD) in front of the pilot and a multi-function display (MFD) right next door.
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Chelton's Magic Boxes“I put a 20-hour student pilot in the left seat,” says Shimon. “I set up a HITS approach to a DME Arc Back Course, and he flew it flawlessly all the way down to minimums. And to ATP standards.” So all this looks good on paper, but just how good is the Chelton system really?

In 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized a $4.9 million contract with Chelton to provide more than 150 of the units for installation in aircraft that are participating in the second phase of the Capstone Project, a study in Southeast Alaska aimed at upgrading the national airspace. The FAA’s own analysis concluded that the system’s abilities to see terrain provided an additional 41,000 feet of airspace along 1,521 nm of existing route structure. Why? Because normal minimum enroute altitudes are controlled by the reception of navigation signals from ground-based units. Due to line-of-sight limitations, aircraft are required to fly thousands of feet higher to assure terrain clearance. The Chelton system allowed aircraft to not only see the terrain more effectively, but the FAA also went on to say that “the crash rate in the test area, which had been abnormally high in that part of the country, has dropped significantly.” Another Capstone official went on to describe the Chelton system as “one of the most innovative technology advancements in instrument flying history since Jimmy Doolittle’s historic flight in 1929.”

For more information, contact Chelton Flight Systems at (208) 389-9959 or visit www.cheltonflightsystems.com. To order a free training DVD, offered exclusively to Pilot Journal readers, log on to www.cheltonflightsystems.com/pj_request.htm.


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