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FreeFlight Systems

Avionics Systems

BAN's World Gazetteer

The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.

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Read our latest feature:   Show issue: MEBAA
FreeFlight RA6500 set to commence rigorous testing
The RA 6500's small footprint means that it can easily be installed in place of legacy altimeters from multiple manufacturers. Existing antennas can also be used in most installations, making for a straightforward retrofit.

FreeFlight Systems' RA6500 radar altimeter is to begin flight testing ahead of schedule. The RA6500, part of the Terrain Series, which also features the RA500 and RA7500, each designed for specific segments of aviation, will commence testing shortly. The tests will take place over bodies of water, various terrain, near 5G towers known for interference, and will also include steep bank angle testing during the evaluation.

“This is a great advancement for FreeFlight, as the original testing timeline wasn't expected to be met until September at the earliest,” mentions Behlul Poonawalla, director of engineering. “This is a revolutionary product, and we are eager to see the results from our first flight test.”

The new radar altimeter features redesigned RF circuitry built to withstand 5G interference. This adaptation will increase this critical sensor's availability and reliability, the only sensor on board an aircraft capable of detecting clearance height above terrain, in challenging RF interference environments.

The RA 6500 features comprehensive interface capabilities, including the ARINC 552 legacy interface, which allows integration with legacy analogue indicators, simplifying the retrofit of the system. As an additional display option, the RA 6500 can be paired with the FreeFlight Systems RAD45 standalone indicator, which meets EASA AMC1 SPA.NVIS.110(b) guidelines.

The TSO'd, DAL-B rated RA 6500 meets the FAA's most rigorous design standards, including TSO-C87a Class A, ETSO-2C87, DO-160G, and DO-178C, ensuring commercial transport and military-grade operability. The RA 6500's small footprint means that it can easily be installed in place of legacy altimeters from multiple manufacturers. The existing antennas can also be used in most installations, making the RA 6500 a very straightforward retrofit solution.

The Terrain Series altimeters feature dual-install capability making them suitable for installation in Part 29 rotorcraft and larger fixed-wing aircraft. The feature-rich radar altimeters have an update rate of 25 times per second (25 Hz), Frequency- Modulated Continuous-Wave (FMCW) at 4.3 GHz centre frequency, an altitude range of -20 to 2,500 ft, antenna response angles of up to plus or minus 20 degrees pitch and plus or minus 30 degrees roll, and a service ceiling of 55,000 ft. This design allows for robust operations and reliability, true to FreeFlight Systems' history of high integrity and dependable avionics.

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