Kollsman touts low-cost HUD and glass cockpit

 - October 30, 2006, 10:49 AM

Kollsman, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems of Israel, has introduced a low-cost head-up display and integrated glass cockpit concept that the company said could give thousands of general aviation pilots a new way of looking at their world. The products the Merrimack, N.H. company has in mind could be certified and in production within two years.

Kollsman executive vice president and general manager Randy Moore unveiled the Micro-ViS HUD at a press briefing last month at the NBAA Convention, saying it allows HUDs “to be installed where they couldn’t before–into all cockpits, in even the smallest aircraft.”

New optical technology, developed in partnership with Kollsman sister company El-Op Electro-Optics Industries of Israel, eliminates the need for the overhead projection unit of a conventional HUD, Moore said, a setup that means a smaller–and less expensive–overall unit than a traditional HUD. Target price for the complete system is around $50,000.

The Micro-ViS HUD is part of a vision-based cockpit (VBC) design, with elements that Kollsman hopes to bring to market between late next year and 2008. The HUD could include an enhanced synthetic vision system that combines imagery from a cryogenically cooled infrared sensor and a database-generated synthetic view of terrain on a head-down electronic display.

As described, Kollsman’s integrated cockpit would consist of a number of flat-panel displays portraying flight-relevant information on pilot and copilot primary screens, and moving maps, terrain and weather information on one or two multifunction displays in the middle of the cockpit.

Best known as the maker of the enhanced-vision system for Gulfstreams, Kollsman is targeting the avionics it unveiled last month at manufacturers of very light jets. The company said the technology could move up into light jets and even some midsize business airplanes. Kollsman also said it does not intend to enter the glass cockpit market as a competitor to Garmin or Avidyne, but as a potential developer of technology for cockpits such as these.

VBC elements were on display at the Kollsman booth at NBAA 2005 and in the company’s Cessna 340 flight-test aircraft, which was parked on the NBAA static display line at Orlando Executive Airport during the show.