CL604 HUD/EVS nears FAA approval

 - October 19, 2009, 2:57 PM

Elbit Systems of America (Booth No. 3193) said yesterday that the installation of the first head-up display (HUD) and Kollsman enhanced-vision system (EVS) combination for the Challenger 604 is on track for certification early next year.

Priced at about $1 million including the cost of installation, the Challenger HUD/EVS upgrade STC is being performed by Jetcraft (Booth No. 4289) in Raleigh, N.C. The technology will bring to the Challenger 604 the same vision capability and landing credits now afforded other high-end business jets. Elbit Systems subsidiary Kollsman has delivered 500 EVS installations to Gulfstream, which offers HUD/EVS as a standard fit or option in every model it sells.

Elbit Systems and Jetcraft plan to focus on additional models based on customer demand once the initial STC for the Challenger is in hand. A Falcon 2000 customer is said to be close to committing to such a project and other airplanes, including the Boeing Business Jet, are potential targets for the retrofit.

Airplanes equipped with HUD/EVS can descend below published approach minimums to 100 feet above touchdown, if the pilot can see the runway environment using the technology. The FAA plans to amend that rule by next summer to allow descent all the way to touchdown using HUD/EVS if the horizontal visibility is at least 1,000 feet RVR.

Elbit Systems also announced here at NBAA’09 that its lower-priced GAViS general aviation vision system has been certified for installation in the Sikorsky S-76. Developed by Kollsman for smaller business airplanes, GAViS uses an uncooled EVS camera. The system has been installed in the Cessna Citation II, and Elbit Systems is exploring additional STCs for various Learjet models through a program with Stevens Aviation.

The New Hampshire-based company hopes to reach a significant milestone next year by certifying what it says will be aviation’s smallest and lightest HUD. The AT-HUD will measure 14 inches long and weigh 18 pounds versus the 40 pounds that is typical of HUDs in large business jets. The product is designed to fit in smaller business jets yet still provide 256 shades of green for display of EVS imagery, as well as synthetic-vision presentations.

Roy Gentry, Elbit Systems of America vice president, said the company has delivered 464 of the original Kollsman EVS I products to Gulfstream operators, plus another 36 EVS II units for large-cabin airplanes.

Kollsman was the first company to certify EVS in a business jet when it concluded a development program with Gulfstream. Since then, FedEx has committed to installing the Kollsman EVS in its entire fleet. The HUD/EVS II combination in a new large-cabin Gulfstream is priced at about $1.3 million.