This Finnair-owned Embraer 170 was a recent rare visitor to Boeing Field, Seattle. Spotted by Joe Walker, it is conducting modular avionics upgrade testing for Honeywell to which it is on short term lease. The aircraft’s appearance in Boeing’s back yard comes as the Embraer and the U.S. manufacturer announce a safety initiative aimed at reducing runway excursions – currently one of the top three main causes of aircraft accidents.
The safety plan includes a training video and new cockpit procedures which ensure that, prior to landing, pilots repeat the same runway calculations made during flight planning. In addition, on landing, there will be a call-out for speed brakes. Revised pilot manuals will remind crews that thrust reversers can continue to be used at lower speeds than the 60 kt cut-off normally recommended to prevent foreign object damage to the engines.
The longer term plan for upgraded situational awareness will package several tools including some existing features such as Honeywell’s runway alert and advisory system (RAAS), or SmartRunway. Going beyond this, however, the new effort also includes additional features that will give greater situational awareness such as a head-up-display with a runway depiction with stopping distance and projected markers on the runway to give some perspective. Although the technology plan is defined, Boeing and Embraer are still defining the exact roadmap for implementing it model by model.