Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company announced today at the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Fla., that the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, 182 Skylane, and 206 Stationair year 2012 models will now come equipped with the Garmin GTS 800 Traffic Alert System (TAS). This system, when integrated into the avionics package, can detect traffic in the vicinity, audibly alert the pilot of the traffic’s location and distance, and make the aircraft more visible to other pilots in the area.
The Garmin GTS 800 TAS system can track up to 60 targets at a time and provide a quickly- updated picture of the traffic surrounding the aircraft. The system provides Air Traffic Control-type alerts when other aircraft are approaching, and aids with “see and avoid” traffic separation in high-density airspace. The dynamic traffic surveillance works by issuing spoken audio alerts from the TAS, notifying the pilot of the traffic and specifying the traffic’s location. The system alerts pilots with warnings such as “Traffic, eight o’clock high, two miles,” enabling pilots to keep their heads up and eyes scanning out, helping the pilots react immediately to their surroundings, shaving valuable seconds off the reaction time.
“The verbal cues supplied by the Traffic Alert System are a huge plus for me as a pilot,” said Kirby Ortega, chief pilot for Cessna Aircraft. “As soon as I hear the audio callout, I’m looking for it. On previous systems, if a pilot hears a traffic callout, they have to look at their multi-function display, determine if the target is above or below them and determine their position relative to the nose of the aircraft. With the TAS callouts, you know all that immediately and your eyes can stay up off your instruments. You know exactly where to look when you hear ‘traffic, three o’clock low, one mile.’ As a pilot, you’re always looking for better information, more information, and rapid notification. This system updates once per second, whereas traditional radar sweeps can take as long as 12 seconds. A lot can happen in 12 seconds.”
Another feature that comes with the Garmin GTS 800 Traffic Alert System is the integrated recognition function. If the TAS detects oncoming traffic within a certain range or properly equipped aircraft, it will automatically activate the aircraft’s pulse recognition lights. This will provide even greater visibility to other pilots in the area. Cessna representatives expect this integrated recognition feature to be certified by the FAA in early April, 2012.
“The technology that is now available on the Cessna single engine product lines is amazing, but what is truly remarkable is that you can now equip your Skyhawk with the Garmin GTS 800 TAS system and Max Viz Enhanced Vision System (EVS). These are great new products that are now available on the most popular training aircraft ever,” said Jeff Umscheid, Cessna 172, 182, 206 business leader. The Max Vis EVS system is an infrared vision system designed to note differences in heat rather than light. This aids the pilot when flying at night, or in smoky or hazy conditions.