First UPS A300 receives cockpit upgrade

The jet gained increased capabilities and flexibility through a comprehensive flight deck modernisation programme

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has redelivered it first A300 to US cargo carrier UPS Airlines after completing a cockpit upgrade programme. 

The widebody, N173UP (c/n 868) was first handed over to the operator in June 2006 and was withdrawn from use and leased to the airframer in March 2019 when it was reregistered as F-WWSX.  

Airbus produced the A300 between 1971 and 2007. Airbus

On February 3, the twinjet was redelivered to the Louisville firm and was transferred onto the US register under its previous identifier. 

The enhancements transform the flight deck of the A300-600 and bring it close to current generation aircraft. Key to achieving this is the advanced new integrated avionics suite supplied by Honeywell. 

The four large 25x20cm LCD main displays and the new colour multi-function control and display unit (MCDU), which replace several analogue instruments, are the most immediately visible changes to grace the A300-600’s upgraded instrument panel.  

The avionic suite has been manufactuered by Honeywell Aerospace. Airbus

Other new ‘under the hood’ items include a new flight management system (FMS), support for a worldwide navigation database, a new multi-mode receiver (MMR) incorporating the latest GPS-based satellite navigation systems, a digital datalink for communications with air traffic control (ATC), a central maintenance computer and a digital weather radar system with turbulence detection and windshear prediction. 

Ed Walton, managing director of engineering at UPS Airlines said on the day of the handover: “The A300 design has the perfect capacity for the US domestic ‘express’ market, it’s a great airplane in terms of how it fits into our network. In terms of the overall strategy, the Airbus cockpit upgrade with the Honeywell avionics really allows us to continue using an asset and unlocking the most efficient operational capability.” 

The most noticeable additions to the flight deck are the four large LCD displays. Airbus

Olivier Criou, VP head of the A300/A310 programme, and chief engineer, commented in Mobile: “I am proud that after 50 years since the launch of the A300 programme, the aircraft undergoes a fantastic refresh and reaches state-of-the-art functionality for UPS’ operation. Nevertheless, 50 years in aviation still makes us a relatively young company, and that pioneering spirit still inhabits the A300/A310 team and Airbus as a whole.” 

This is the first time such a complex upgrade has been performed on the A300. UPS expects to have its entire 51-strong fleet of Airbus widebodies converted by peak season of 2022.