In the next few days Dassault expects to receive final operational U.S. FAA certification for its enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) on the Falcon 7X large-cabin business jet. EASA certification for the system was completed in July and the first aircraft has been delivered, while the FAA airworthiness certification has already been received. The system significantly enhances situational awareness in bad weather and at night.
Dassault already has an EFVS on its Falcon 900 and 2000 aircraft, based on a CMC Electronics sensor and a Rockwell Collins head-up guidance system (HGS). While that system is a significant aid to flight, it does not allow for reduction of approach minima. However, the system developed for the Falcon 7X employs a new head-up display (HUD) and sensors and gives imagery good enough to allow approaches to extend beyond Category I approach minimums in certain conditions.
The EFVS for the 7X employs a CMC Electronics SureSight I-series infrared sensor and the latest Rockwell Collins Model 5860 HGS, the 7X being the first business jet to be certified with this high-resolution LCD display. EFVS certification allows the pilot to continue some Category I and certain non-precision approaches from the standard published minimums (typically 200 feet) to a 100-foot decision height, equivalent to Category II minimums. The proviso is that the pilot must see something in the HGS at the published minimums, even if the full ground picture is not yet discernible. EASA certification allows an approach to be initiated with a one-third reduction in runway visual range.
In the Falcon 7X the EFVS sensor is mounted forward of the windscreen, and can display imagery on both the HGS and head-down screens. At very short ranges there is some noticeable parallax discrepancy between HGS image and the real world, but it is designed for zero parallax at 200 feet and at longer ranges discrepancies are not an issue.
New features on the EFVS include two pre-determined settings controlled by a single switch, although the pilots retain full control over the system's settings so that they can adapt it to conditions if they wish. The normal preset provides general situational awareness at night by maximizing sensitivity to give the best possible view of terrain. The approach setting processes the infrared imagery to eliminate the blooming effect of lights at night, and to focus on detecting lights in bad weather, as these are the primary indicators for go/no-go decisions. The system also has separate enunciators and audio warnings for EFVS minimums in the primary flight display, in addition to those for published IFR minimums. EFVS imagery in the HGS can be switched on and off, or faded, via a simple switch on the Falcon 7X's sidestick controller.
Training on the new system for pilots using the EFVS with operational benefits consists of a one-day course that comprises four hours of ground instruction and two hours in the simulator, during which at least six approaches are undertaken in various conditions.
Testing the EFVS