Avionics Update: Cessna hungry for low-cost HUD option in Citations

 - July 14, 2008, 7:36 AM

For years Cessna has been searching for a head-up display (HUD) that would fit both the Citation’s cockpit and its owner’s budget. Unfortunately, available hardware has always been too bulky and expensive for the Citation family. With recent advances in HUD technology, however, the Wichita business jet maker thinks its vision could now be quite close to reality. “Cessna has been looking at HUD for a long time,” said Allen Bergfield, manager of customer service, adding that the company wants more than simply a “nice gadget” for the Citation cockpit, but rather a HUD that expands the utility of the airplane by providing lower weather minimums for properly trained crews.

Bergfield said Cessna is following closely the development of the UH-5000, a low-cost HUD under development by Flight Visions and Universal Avionics that is being designed to allow Cat II approach minimums. The HUD will interface with Universal’s flight management systems as well as those from other manufacturers to provide flight-path vector guidance with enhanced symbology during approach. The HUD itself will consist of an overhead holographic combiner, but Flight Visions claims the UH-5000 is not a derivative of any of its existing or previous HUDs, but an entirely new product. Weight is expected to be in the 20-lb range and price should be about 30- to 40 percent less than that of current civil HUDs on the market. A spokesman for Universal in Tucson, Ariz., said prototype hardware for the UH-5000 would begin initial flight trials aboard a Challenger 604 owned by company founder Hubert Naimer next year.