Oklahoma City, OK | Oct. 1, 2018
Field Aerospace obtained a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the US Forest Service SD3-60 Sherpa avionics upgrade, which modernizes the aging smokejumper’s flight deck and improves its mission capabilities. The FAA approved the STC on Sept. 12, 2018, the same day Field Aerospace delivered the first modified Sherpa to the US Forest Service.
Field Aerospace integrated and installed the modernized flight deck, conducted FAA-witnessed ground and flight tests, and completed the STC certification. Field’s FAA-authorized Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) issued the STC for this first Sherpa.
The next three aircraft are currently in work at Field Aerospace’s Oklahoma City facility. This four-aircraft program also includes an option to complete the flight deck modernization on up to 15 US Forest Service Sherpas.
Initial feedback from the USFS pilots who flew the first smokejumper home was immediately positive, as the new flight deck significantly enhances the aircraft’s flight and navigational capabilities as well as improves the safety and efficiency of their firefighting operations.
Field Aerospace’s Oklahoma City Operations Vice President and General Manager John Taylor said the modernization addresses avionics equipment obsolescence issues and extends the life of the aircraft for firefighting efforts.
“This was a challenging integration of modern digital avionics into an older analog based aircraft but has yielded a functionally advanced and aesthetically pleasing cockpit system,” Taylor said. “We are very proud to have achieved this major milestone and are even more proud to support the vital mission that the Forest Service performs for our country.”
The modernization integrates an intuitive and advanced Garmin G950 NXi integrated flight deck system. The flight deck system includes new features and safety-enhancing capabilities, such as a glass cockpit, weather radar, digital audio system, VHF-FM tactical radio, large-screen Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT), Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out, Traffic Avoidance and Collision System (TCAS), Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS), Mode S extended squitter, and Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV).
The modified Sherpa aircraft are now much better equipped to support wildland fire operations, including smokejumper, passenger, and cargo missions for many years to come.
About the US Forest Service Sherpa Smokejumper
The US Forest Service received 15 SD3-60 Sherpa (C-23B variant) aircraft from the US Army in early 2014 to use as smokejumpers and to transport cargo, paracargo, and firefighters. The Sherpa has a rear door that can open while in flight for paracargo and jumpers. The aircraft is a twin-engine transport, similar to the C-23A, but with cabin windows, stronger landing-gear, inward-opening paratroop doors at the rear of the fuselage and an air-operable two-section cargo ramp.
About Field Aerospace
Field Aerospace is an SBA-qualified small business operating in the U.S. (Field Aerospace) and Canada (Field Aviation). For more than 70 years, Field has been making ordinary aircraft extraordinary for commercial and military customers all over the world. Field is recognized as an industry leader in the design, integration, manufacture, installation, flight test, and certification of interior and exterior aircraft modifications and avionics upgrade programs. An award-winning avionics equipment dealer and authorized service center, Field offers aviation-related contractor logistics support and program management office support to the U.S. military; Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) modifications for special mission and maritime applications; and aerospace parts manufacturing and subassembly services.