Ronaldo747
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Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:28 pm

The SOFIA flying telescope based on a Boeing 747SP received a major Avionics and Cockpit upgrade. Following NASA statement with High Res photos before/after upgrade. Enjoy!

http://www1.nasa.gov/mission_pages/SOFIA/sofia_status_12_03.html
 
LimaNiner
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:42 am

How far does that upgrade go? Is this still a 3-man cockpit, where the LCDs have simply replaced the analog dials?
 
rwessel
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:33 am

Quoting limaniner (Reply 1):
How far does that upgrade go? Is this still a 3-man cockpit, where the LCDs have simply replaced the analog dials?

I was wondering the same thing. The first photo at the NASA site appears to show the corner of a display screen in what would be the lower-left corner of the FE's station.
 
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747classic
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:06 am

AFAIK it's still a three man crew aircraft.
Modifying the aircraft in a two pilots aircraft would be an economical disaster. The re-certification costs would be enormous.
Navigation updates (FMS/GPS), EGPWS and all analogue instruments replaced at the pilots positions.
The analogue autopilots are retained.
At the F/E panel it seems that part of the old indicators have been replaced by digital indication.
I would indeed like to see a photo of this modified F/E panel.

[Edited 2012-12-08 00:15:29]
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
Spacepope
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:11 pm

Any idea when it's going to be back in the air? Last flight I can find was a year ago. It usually flies under "NASA747"
The last of the famous international playboys
 
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ssteve
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:50 pm

Quoting 747classic (Reply 3):
Modifying the aircraft in a two pilots aircraft would be an economical disaster. The re-certification costs would be enormous.

The SOFIA program has been a bit of an economical disaster. However-- I'm wondering if this upgrade has something to do with operating from airfields other than NASA's own? Though I have no idea whether that was actually a restriction to this point.
 
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747classic
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:01 am

In the first place the aircraft has to have a certain navigation accuracy to keep the aircraft operational.
That's the main driver for this modification.

With the old navigation equipment this wasn't possible anymore. The photo of the "old cockpit clearly showed that the original Delco INS navigation was still present. These old INS systems are also a maintenance nightmare in the present time. Less and less possibilities for repairs of this mechanical/analogue equiment are available in the near future.

The integration of a FMS , with a less accurate "strap-down" IRS but updated by GPS in an analogue built aircraft is already certified by several STC's on many 747 classics and is relative cheap.

IMHO the only "new"part of this upgrade is the size of the LCD screens and the fact that for the first time a (part of) the old dial instruments at the F/E panel are replaced by LCD screen(s).
This part of the modification is to lower the maintenance costs, because the analogue instruments will become very difficult to be serviced (=very expensive) in the near future.

Clearly this cockpit modification was the most cost-effective option to stay operational and satisfy the present and future navigational requirements and at the same time to lower the maintenance costs.
Modifying a more recent digital built aircraft to "Sofia-standard" would be far more expensive and funding for that project almost impossible.

[Edited 2012-12-09 02:31:20]
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
Max Q
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:35 pm

It may be functional but it's the ugliest 'lash up' conversion i've seen of a classic cockpit to meet nav requirerments.


The Classic Cockpit may be old fashioned by todays standards but it was not only functional but an aesthetic delight.



I know, I just like old cockpits, I'm an incurable fan of the queen of the skies and it's look, inside and out.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
rcair1
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:39 am

What happened to the Oxygen masks?

If you look to the right - on the edge - did the FE panel get upgraded too?
rcair1
 
Max Q
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:17 am

If you look just to the right of where the F/O's knee would be you can see a sort of red cap sticking up.


I bet that is the newer generation 'inflatable' oxygen mask installation. It looks very similar to the arrangement
we have on the 75/67.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
rcair1
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RE: Sofia 747 Received Major Avionics+Cockpit Upgrade

Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:40 am

Thanks - never would have seen that.

I have to say - I'm a bit disappointed in the quality of the photo. If you view the large image - really grainy.
rcair1

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