The idea for synthetic vision has been around since the 1950s, but until recently, implementing it had not been technologically possible until recent new developments in displays, processors, and graphics. Synthetic vision details the terrain, obstacles, the approach path, and runways in a reality-oriented display that looks something like a video game.
Synthetic vision’s promise lies in its ability to fuse 3-D data into intuitive displays that can provide life-saving awareness to flight crews. Synthetic vision’s database-driven symbols have the potential to greatly improve flight safety and mission effectiveness. The U.S. Air Force is applying synthetic vision concepts to unmanned vehicle control stations; in the civil sector, the concept has expanded to general aviation as certification issues are being resolved.
EVS stands for enhanced vision system, a forward-seeing imaging system that consists of an exterior-mounted forward-facing infrared (IR) sensor; signal processor; and a means of producing a cockpit display. During poor visibility conditions, such as fog, haze, smoke, precipitation, and darkness, EVS provides the pilot with actual monochrome pictorial images of terrain, runways, taxiways, aircraft, and other potential obstacles including animals. This is accomplished by observing temperature differentials.
For years, military aircraft have used infrared sensors for nighttime missions. Recent advances in technology and miniaturization have finally made EVS feasible for general aviation applications.
As airports and airways become more congested and as more flights venture into less sophisticated airports of the world, aviation is demanding what EVS promises — improved flight crew situational awareness to reduce runway incursions during take-off and landing, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), approach and landing accidents along with unwanted encounters with wildlife.
Employing a unique space-based platform of geostationary satellites positioned to provide continuous data link coverage across the continental United States (and parts of Canada), XM WX Satellite Weather is a recent addition with the ability to heighten in-flight safety and pilot situational awareness. In any aircraft, at any altitude, XM WX provides the weather data pilots need for better flight planning and in-flight decision-making.
Viewable on a wide variety of portable and panel-mount cockpit displays, satellite weather provides aviators an accurate and real-time view of the meteorological conditions ahead.
XM weather data flight deck display is enabled by WxWorx, (a leading provider of weather analysis for the broadcast television industry). More than 20 different types of graphical aviation weather data including detailed NEXRAD and METARs data, as well as current reports on precipitation, lightning, winds aloft, echo tops, freezing levels, turbulence, TFRs, and more can be overlaid onto a flight deck display such as MFD or even an electronic flight bag (EFB). The reliability and popularity of the XM WX data link solution is evidenced by the fact that many of today’s airframe manufacturers have adopted this technology as an available feature on their aircraft.
The same XM Satellite technology that delivers weather data to the cockpit can also be used to provide the ultimate in digital audio entertainment. One XM antenna can support both XM weather and XM radio data links. So, with an additional XM subscription and a sound-enabled receiver, passengers can relax and enjoy more than 170 channels of continuous music, news, talk and sports programming while flying anywhere in the continental United States.
The enhancements of today will soon become the standards of tomorrow and although newer digital technology might claim to provide improved reliability it does become the responsibility of technicians to learn the principles and concepts as a whole new set of challenges will be ours to overcome.
Jim Sparks has been in aviation for 30 years and is a licensed A&P. His career began in general aviation as a mechanic, electrician, and avionics technician. In addition to extensive hands on, Jim created and delivered educational programs for several training organizations and served as a technical representative for a manufacturer of business jets. Currently when not writing for AMT, he is the manager of aviation maintenance for a private company with a fleet including light single engine aircraft, helicopters, and several types of business jets.
Avionics suite retrofit is available for most King Air 200/B200 aircraft.
It has selected the G1000H all-glass, integrated flight deck for its 480B helicopter model. The new 480B flight deck was introduced at Heli-Expo in Las Vegas.
The new 480B flight deck was introduced at the HAI Heli-Expo in Las Vegas, NV.
All information -- from aircraft attitude and air data to engine instrumentation, real-time weather data link, traffic and terrain -- is integrated and digitally depicted on the 12-inch primary flight...