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Sherpa Avionics To Help Smokejumpers Find & Fight Fires

by Airport Business |

Installation of a Garmin G950 avionics suite will begin this week when the first of four Sherpa aircraft arrives at Field Aerospace’s Oklahoma City facility. Field Aerospace teamed with Garmin’s aviation segment for the upgrade, which includes the design, installation, and FAA certification of a fully integrated flight deck and avionics system. The modernization of the U.S. Forest Service’s SD3-60 Sherpa aircraft, which will be given new life after serving the U.S. Army, will enhance their flight accuracy and ability to safely and efficiently extinguish fires.

John Taylor, Field Aerospace vice president and general manager, said the avionics upgrade is a big win for his company. “The Forest Service has an extremely important national mission, and the system upgrade that we will design, install, and certify will enhance their ability to safely and effectively execute that mission.”

Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing, said Garmin was honored that Field Aerospace selected the G950 Integrated Flight Deck to meet the requirements of the Forest Service. “The G950 will provide an intuitive, modernized avionics suite that brings new, safety-enhancing capabilities to the aircraft, such as large-screen Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), ADS-B In/Out and much more. Together with Field Aerospace, we look forward to supporting their mission.”

The first upgrade is expected to be complete by August 2016. Shortly after, the second Sherpa will arrive at Field Aerospace to receive the same enhancements. Field’s base contract is for 4 Sherpa aircraft, but the U.S. Forest Service could exercise up to 11 contract options, which would bring the total to 15. Field Aerospace expects to complete the first four upgrades by January 2017. The updated aircraft will be utilized in support of wildland fire operations, including smokejumper, passenger, and cargo missions.