BaldBoeingGuy
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 6:44 am

Retrofit 737-300/400/500 With Large LCD Displays

Sun Jan 21, 2007 7:52 am

Hey everyone. Okay, I'm a new guy to the discussion groups and was wondering what your opinion(s) are on retrofitting CRT-based EFIS 737-300/400/500 aircraft with newer LCD-based "Large Format Displays". The goal is to make the flight deck more common to 737NGs (not installing the NG 8X8 display system, but something similar to 787 type displays). One ~14" diagonal (16:9) in front of each pilot with PFD/ND and other goodies displayed.

Obviously the retrofit cost (to an operator) is a big issue.

Thanks in advance!
 
User avatar
Stitch
Posts: 23209
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:26 am

RE: Retrofit 737-300/400/500 With Large LCD Displays

Sun Jan 21, 2007 7:55 am

I imagine you'd have to replace the entire instrument panel and cluster, and that is not going to be cheap, as you noted. I expect the costs outweigh the benefits of such an extensive and invasive modification.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Retrofit 737-300/400/500 With Large LCD Displays

Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:23 am

Personally, I think the LCD-retrofit effort has been a victim of some poor timing with respect to other industry events.

I wouldn't think that LCD displays would generate the same degree of monetary savings that other retrofits like fuel-saving winglets would. That makes the return on investment (ROI) period longer, and maybe beyond the remaining service lives of the -300, -400, and -500 fleets. If the technical leaps from CRTs to LCDs had happened a few years earlier, that might have changed the equation to make retrofits a no-brainer, but the later spike in fuel prices might have also prevented it.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
warreng24
Posts: 573
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:38 am

RE: Retrofit 737-300/400/500 With Large LCD Displays

Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:26 am

Quoting BaldBoeingGuy (Thread starter):
retrofitting CRT-based EFIS 737-300/400/500 aircraft with newer LCD-based "Large Format Displays".

If you're talking a straight swap of the existing CRT's with a drop in replacement with an LCD of similar size, it may be possible. The LCD's would most likely need to be custom designed (to fit the size) and need to be certified to have the same viewing angle, brightness, reliability, shock sensitivity, etc... of the existing CRT's.

However, I doubt that either Boeing or any other airline would invest in such a move as a majority of the 733/4/5 fleets are aging, and it would not be cost effective. Many of these aircraft may not have many flight hours, but they have many cycles.

Additionally, the weight savings of replacing the CRT's probably would not be attractive in terms of the cost. Other than fuel savings, what added benefit would there be for airlines?
 
BaldBoeingGuy
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 6:44 am

RE: Retrofit 737-300/400/500 With Large LCD Displays

Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:50 am

Thanks for everyone's comments so far.

While there is a weight savings the big advantages (I feel) is flight crew commonality, reliability (and cost) and growth for features to support future airspace development.

For example, airlines like CAL & KLM use common crews to fly both the NG & classic 737. The more new stuff they want displayed on their NGs drives more differences (i.e. non-supported features on 737C).

If you currently have a CRT TV and the picture tube goes out are you going to replace the CRT or just buy a new LCD HDTV for almost the same price? As time goes on the EFIS CRT spares prices will jump (even if the EFIS supplier has a warehouse full of CRTs they will become expensive).

Repairing those old electro-mechanical airspeed and altimeters indicators are becoming a piece of art (and commanding the price of a piece of art).

Are there any airline maintenance folks out there who can comment?