Gulfstream last month took a big step toward obtaining approval for the synthetic-vision primary flight display (SV-PFD) and upgraded enhanced-vision system (EVS II) in its top models by concluding several months of flight testing and handing over to the FAA reams of certification documentation.
At press time, certification of both systems was said to be imminent, assuming the FAA does not raise questions that need to be addressed by the engineers. Gulfstream plans to incorporate SV-PFD and EVS II into the production line this spring, offering the technologies in the G350, G450, G500 and G550. SVS and EVS together represent a new level of crew situational awareness, Gulfstream said.
“The combination of EVS and SV-PFD brings a whole new level of safety to the flight deck,” said Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. “The effect of using both systems simultaneously provides an unmatched magnitude of pilot situational awareness and a flight path that is always visible regardless of the conditions outside the cockpit window.”
The two systems were evaluated together for the first time in September when Gulfstream experimental test pilots Tom Horne and Rick Gowthorp, along with Honeywell test pilot Jary Engels, flew a G450 a total of 18.5 hours during an intensive three-day trial period. The test flight began at Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Ga., on September 5 with the pilots heading west in search of mountains and low visibility.
They performed approaches
at airports in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Washington on the first day, and then were up early the following day for another 10 approaches at airports in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado. On the final day, September 7, they concentrated their approaches in Colorado and New Mexico, flying approaches to challenging high-elevation airports. In the more than 20 approaches flown, the EVS II and SV-PFD images performed extremely well, the pilots reported.
According to Henne, EVS II confirmed the validity of the terrain and airport images projected on the SV-PFD. Synthetic vision displays three-dimensional images derived from data stored in the Honeywell enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). EVS provides actual, real-time images detected by an infrared camera mounted in the nose of the aircraft and viewed by the pilot on the head-up display (HUD). Pilots can use HUD-based EVS to fly to lower approach minimums.
EVS II consists of a cooled one- to five-micron infrared camera with a 30-degree horizontal field of view. Like the original Gulfstream EVS, first certified in September 2001, EVS II incorporates a specially designed FLIR camera that projects its image onto the HUD. On even the darkest of nights, pilots can clearly see mountain ranges, runways or aircraft and vehicles on taxiways. EVS can also be used to see through haze and other low-visibility conditions, but it cannot penetrate solid clouds.
The SV-PFD system developed by Honeywell for the PlaneView avionics system in the large Gulfstreams will represent the first application of synthetic-vision technology for new business jets. Universal Avionics offers the Vision 1 SVS for Part 25 and 23 retrofit installations, and Chelton Flight Systems markets an SVS EFIS for Part 23 aircraft up to the size of King Airs and the Cessna Citation 501. Rockwell Collins and Bombardier have committed to bringing SVS to the Global Express and Global 5000 line, but certification is still a few years away.