Iceland continues to put more GNSS procedures in place to augment or replace traditional ground-based infrastructure, says Jonasson. Only two airports in the country have full instrument landing systems (ILS); most have only NDB aids.
In Greenland, he says there is one localizer approach and the remainder are NDBs, though the country is beginning to implement GNSS approaches.
The Q200s replaced two Q100s with legacy avionics after a hard landing and runway excursion of one of the Q100s in Nuuk, Greenland, in the spring of 2010.
The carrier planned to replace the Q100 with another it found in Greece, but the deal fell through, says Bjartur Torfason, director of technical operations for Air Iceland. So it went with two former Mesa Airlines Q200s in storage in Tucson, Ariz., that were “worn” but had relatively low usage—30,000 cycles out of a factory life limit of 80,000 cycles. Field changed out three of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123D engines and repaired the fourth.
Along with Field Aviation's cockpit renewal, Air Iceland opted for several other supplemental type certificates (STC). Field incorporated a fuel tank STC to boost capacity to 1,506 gal. from 835, using the area between the wing root to the engine pylon on each side, and an STC to increase maximum takeoff weight to 37,300 lb. from 36,300. A Bombardier STC added ground spoilers to the Q200 to aid short-field landings.
On the interior, Torfason says the carrier had Field refurbish the seats, re-laminate the sidewalls and bins, paint the cockpit interior and replace the cockpit floor.
Along with increased navigation performance, the cost benefits of removing 1970s-era avionics cannot be overlooked. Universal Avionics says it costs $8,000 to repair and $16,000-20,000 to replace Honeywell-built cathode ray tube (CRT) displays in the electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) in legacy Q100/200/300s, which have two CRTs per side.
Torfason says reliability of the upgrade has been “great,” with early failures limited to a fuel-tank sensor and two cockpit displays that Universal replaced under warranty. “The aircraft has been OK since then,” he says.
Valdimar Einarsson, avionics engineer for Air Iceland, says the carrier is discussing “doing something similar” to the Field upgrade for the Fokker F50s. “They have Honeywell and Rockwell Collins EFIS CRTs that are wearing out and getting old. If Air Iceland is going to use the aircraft for 10 more years, we have to do something about it.”