From the CONTRAF to SIVAM Project
The flight inspection in Brazil was originated from a solicitation of the Ministry of Aeronautics to the Ambassador of United States of America, in July l954. The Minister consulted the possibility of obtaining American assistance for the supply of aids to air navigation, possibility of technical support in the installation and training.
Aiming to determine the expansion and the type of the project, the regional group of support to the aviation, of the Federal Aviation Administration of United States (FAA), headquartered in Panama, carried out a study and presented a report, whose foundations were based on the support to its planning and development. The final terms of the agreement between the Ministry of the Aeronautics and the Director of the Mission of United States Operations, in Brazil, were signed in June l955 and reviewed in l956, being so called Project of General Adjustment and Technical Cooperation.
The terms of this agreement stipulated to be responsibility of the North American Mission of Economics and Technical Cooperation to provide: Aids to the air navigation, including the electronic equipments, special services, and training in The United States. An American flight inspection aircraft was used in the beginning and later substitute by a C-47, acquired by Brazil, which began its operations on October 31st, 1958.
With the purpose to carry out, all the responsibilities for the new task, The Brazilian Government created the CONTRAF Project, inside of the Directorate of Air Routes, and inserted in it, was created the Flight Inspection Group. On January 20, 1962, was commissioned one of the first RADAR in Latin America.
Actually, flight inspection is a quite old practice, when, during the 2nd World war, it raised the need of irradiating information with certain precision, to guide the aircraft to came back to its bases. This activity in Brazil began in 1956, when the Project CONTRAF was implanted.
The FAA aircraft used in Brazil by a period of six months was a Beechcraft C-185, N-74 manned by members of CAA, it carrier out the first flight inspection in Brazil on December 19, 1956, when it executed the site evaluation of Caxias VOR. It was also Caxias VOR the first navaid to be commissioned in Brazil.
The first flight inspection accomplished in Brazil with our own aircraft and Brazilian crew has happened from Dec 03, l958 to Jan 05, l959, on the Site evaluation of Itaipuaçu VOR (Current Maricá VOR).
Due to the complexity of the procedures, analysis of results obtained in flight and the lack of experience of our crew’s components, FAA has sent to Brazil, on July 10, 1959, George W. Kinsley, a CAA technician, in order to give support to our crew and also the assistance to our technician in the installation of a calibration shop, nowadays, SAAE, part of our Special Flight Inspection Group (GEIV).
In l960 with an agreement between Brazilian Ministry of Aeronauts and the Agency for the International Development, was sent to attend a flight Inspection course at the Oklahoma Academy in Oklahoma City-USA, the Brazilian Air Force Sergeant Marden Lucio Matos.
The documents adopted by Brazil, that governed the procedures and tolerances for flight inspections, were OAP 8200.1 (United States Standard Flight Inspection Manual), the same adopted by FAA, and the 8071 (two volumes), of OACI (Manual on Testing of Radio Navigation Aids).
The chronology of Site Evaluation accomplished is the following:
- Caxias – December 1956;
- Itaipuaçu (Maricá) – February 21, 1959;
- São Paulo – February 15, 1960;
- Campinas – February 1960;
- Curitiba – April 1962; and
- Brasília – August 1962.
ILS ("GLIDE SLOPE")
- Porto Alegre – January 1958;
- Galeão – February 1958; and
- Brasília – February 15, 1962.
The first ILS was commissioned in Brazil in November 1962.
The ALS installations followed this sequence:
- Porto Alegre;
- São Paulo;
- Galeão P/14
Through a special agreement called “PAM”, Brazil has received from American Air Force (USAF), a flight inspection aircraft (Douglas C47-2088), which arrived in the beginning of 1964 and followed by a second (Douglas C47-2089) in the middle of 1965. Therefore, the Flight Inspection Advisory (AIV), from this moment, would use those three aircraft for the flight inspection tasks. No longer after, AIV has received three light jets Paris (French made), special for flight inspecting “Jets IFR procedures”. In October 1965, was accomplished the first flight inspection abroad using a Brazilian flight inspection aircraft and crew (site evaluation of Asuncion VOR).
Remarkably event happened on April 20, 1970, with the arrival in Brazil of the first jet, specifically prepared for flight inspection. It was the HS-125 2125, acquired and equipped in England. It was the most modern and sophisticated in the world, being constitute in the more advance flight inspection aircraft at that time.
The flight protection activities were reorganized in May of 1972, with the creation of Electronic and Flight Protection Administration (DEPV). With the new DEPV organization, it was spitted into parts, with the normative, planning and analyses tasks in charge of a division (Flight Inspection Division – D-INV) and the tasks of flight inspecting the NAVAIDs, in charge of the Special Flight Inspection Group (GEIV).
With the great number of flight inspections missions, the saturation of the responsibilities of the calibration shop and the operation of the EU-93 2125, with more sophisticated equipment it was becoming impossible to maintain and calibrate the systems in Brazil. Besides, another jet aircraft increased the flight inspection fleet in 1974. One of the new HS-125, the EU-93 2119, bought by the Brazilian Air Force, flew to Dallas, Texas to be modified at Collins for flight inspection mission. The main features of the 2119 were new integrated signal processing circuits, Inertial Navigation and Radio Theodolite based ILS inspection.
After agreements with FAA authorities, the calibration of the new systems 2125 and 2119 was performed at the FAA Base in Atlanta, Georgia, USA while DEPV/GEIV built and set up a state of the art electronic laboratory and aircraft maintenance shops in Rio de Janeiro.
The flight inspection has technology developed so much in Brazil that its recognition surpassed our borders. The first Brazilian flight inspection system developed in CTA, known by the acronym PEA, was installed in an aircraft EMB-110 (Bandeirantes), in 1976. In order to keep up with the development observed abroad, the GEIV Commander sent an explanation to the Ministry of Aeronautic requiring the necessity of updating and maintaining the communication link of ours flight inspections specialists (pilot, technicians, etc) with those of FAA, regarding to the activation in near future of the pilots and airborne electronics technician flight inspection courses in Brazil.
The good results concerning to this first course in Brazil, caused several others countries being interested in attending this training in order to prepare their flight inspection personnel, and sure enough, they have been doing it until now. Another improvement was the installation of a new FIS, developed by Collins, in the Bandeirante EMB-110 2191. The system integration and test happened in 1980 in Dallas, TX. Due to the good performance of the systems GEIV decided to deploy similar kind of FIS in the others squadron’s EMB-110 and one in HS-125 2121, but those systems were to be build and installed by Brazilian companies, four (4) were made at VARIG in Porto Alegre, and two (2) at INFRANAV in Rio de Janeiro.
Since, aviation and flight inspection need to keep up with new emerging technologies, GEIV felt it was time to update the FIS regarding the application of computerized and intelligent systems. After long time spent in the analysis of the FIS available at the time, late 80’s, SIERRA was chosen to provide two (2) Semi-Automatic Flight Inspection Systems – SAFIS. The new features and capabilities, some never installed before in other FIS were: Digital Radio Theodolite, Automatic Flight Inspection Profile Analysis, Real Time Graphics Display and Avionics Auto Calibration.
South American countries have always been partners on the Brazilian flight inspection activities growth, so, under the coordination of OACI/PNUD, it was held in Sao Jose dos Campos (IPV), the first Flight Inspection Seminary, from October 24 to November 5, 1988, with the followings attendants; Guatemala, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba e Equator.
The next step towards excellence happened in 2000 along with Project SIVAM. In the beginning of the 21st century, GEIV was equipped with four (4) aircraft Hawker 800-XP, named EU-93A 6050, 6051, 6052 and 6053. These aircraft carries the most versatile SIERRA Automatic Flight Inspection System – AFIS ever. Capable of fully automatic inspection of NAVAIDS, Visual Aids, Radar (SRE, SSR, PAR) and Communication, thanks to blended application of Inertial and GPS sensors, accurate Barometric and Laser Altimeters, and Line Scan camera. Besides the “full” automatic mode, the EU-93A AFIS can also operate automatically based on GPS Only for Non-Precision and on DGPS Ground Station Mode to inspect Precision Approaches Facilities. Last but not least, the System still relies, as a backup, on the deployment of Digital Radio Theodolite in locations not yet surveyed for automatic flight inspection.
As the number of passengers flying in private and commercial planes increases, newer and bigger airports are built and as much our skies become crowded, Flight Inspection Aircraft Group – GEIV keeps fighting to follow up and fulfill more stringent requirements. As a matter of fact, the New Millennium is just beginning.