Farnborough Air Show

Synthetic vision for Primus

 - November 16, 2006, 11:26 AM

Honeywell is close to releasing a synthetic vision system (SVS) upgrade for its Primus Epic business jet cockpit. Having addressed the three most common causes of accidents through its enhanced ground proximity warning (EGPWS), traffic alert and collision avoidance (TCAS) and runway awareness and advisory (RAAS) systems, the company believes SVS will be the next major safety advance.

According to Ed Wheeler, vice president of engineering and technology, it has taken seven years and 600 hours of flight testing to arrive at the current stage of development. Like the RAAS, the SVS relies on the digital database, which was developed originally for the EGPWS and is updated regularly. On top of the digital terrain image it shows the same primary flight display (PFD) symbology used on the company’s head-up displays. The result, Wheeler said, is that “the pilot sees looking down at night what he would see looking ahead in daylight.”

In addition, the SVS display uses the familiar EGPWS color-coding to enhance situational awareness, so that if the airplane’s trajectory is approaching terrain, the terrain above the flight path will turn yellow then red to alert then warn the crew. SVS will complement rather than replace the EGPWS, Wheeler stressed the terrain warning system will remain as a stand-alone safety device.

If the airplane is in an unusual attitude, the terrain fades to the standard blue over brown of the PFD, Wheeler added. “It’s critical with high-density information that you don’t distract the pilots,” he explained. “We don’t want them to be transfixed by the view of the terrain, so that goes away so they can focus on the attitude.”

Honeywell is talking to all the OEMs about its SVS. Initially it will be available as a line or retrofit software upgrade for the Primus Epic cockpit used by Dassault, Gulfstream and other manufacturers.