Existing displays and guidance systems combined with synthetic vision systems reduce aircraft approach minimums

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 20 May 2009. Engineers at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are combining the avionics capabilities from traditional head-up cockpit displays and head-up guidance systems with next generation technology such as surveillance, enhanced, and synthetic vision systems to improve navigation performance.

May 21st, 2009

By John McHale

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, 20 May 2009. Engineers at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, are combining the avionics capabilities from traditional head-up cockpit displays and head-up guidance systems with next generation technology such as surveillance, enhanced, and synthetic vision systems to improve navigation performance.

Dean Schwab, Senior Manager, HGS Flight Operations and Technical, Rockwell Collins Head-Up Guidance Systems gave presentation on this topic titled presentation titled "Required Navigation Performance (RNP), Enhanced Vision Systems, Synthetic Vision Systems and Head-Up Displays (HUD) and Head-Up Guidance Systems (HGS)" at the Avionics 2009 conference and exhibition held last month in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The new technologies and systems will make flying safer and more efficient and are "more effective when presented head-up, in the pilot's forward field of view," Schwab said.

This combination of tools can improve operational efficiencies and safely reduce approach minimums. "Initial analysis suggests a quarter mile visibility credit can be applied to existing RNP SAAAR approach minimums when flown with the HGS, down to a minimum of quarter mile," he noted.

Schwab said he HGS/HUD capabilities facilitate performance based navigation (PBN) in areas such as increased operational awareness by providing full-time monitoring of the airplane as well as "superior situational awareness through continuous realization of the state of the airplane."

Schwab explained that the core premise of HUD flown PBN operations is control, whether it is control of the flight path, best possible control of energy state and airspeed awareness, or controlling the accuracy of vertical, lateral, longitudinal runway alignment.

Other advantages include a conformal flight path and intertia display, tail strike protection for takeoff and landing, take off and landing roll-out guidance, approach and landing guidance runway remaining display, brake deceleration rate index, and others, he said. Enhanced vision capability will lower the PBN minima and synthetic vision technology has the potential for even lower PBN minima, Schwab added.

HGS technology can also monitor auto-pilot controls in PBN operations, he noted. Schwab added that there is a potential for lower PBN capability for turboprop aircraft that do not have efficient autopilot systems.

These tools can help a pilot attack new approaches and transitions such as reducing runway separation and airplane separation as well as improving traffic separation on arrivals, Schwab said.

Other unique benefits of HGS/HUD include outside views with a greater deviation scale and resolution discernment – especially beneficial in manual flight situations, he said.

Further research will be required, and so far at least one operator is willing to support this effort, Schwab said.

Schwab will present more information on this topic at the Avionics USA conference and exhibition on June 1 and 2 in San Diego at the San Diego Convention Center.

For all information on Avionics USA, visit www.avionics-usa.com.

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