Infrared enhanced-vision systems (EVS) optimized to provide greater situational awareness for business aircraft are finding an increasing number of applications as evidenced by the activity reported by EVS suppliers exhibiting at NBAA’08.
Until about a year ago, infrared enhanced vision systems (EVS) were exclusively the bailiwick of operators of large aircraft, in which they were installed as upgrades to the standard head-up display. Primarily, the aircraft were the Gulfstream IV/IV-SP/G300/G400, GV/ G500/G550 and Bombardier Global Express, and their EVS add-ons– built by Kollsman of Merrimack, N.Y.
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.
New from Saab Avitronics is the RIGS head-up display, which the company is developing to provide a cost-effective multipurpose display to aid pilots of both helicopters and light aircraft. RIGS was launched at last October’s National Business Aviation Association Convention, and made its debut in the defense world at Eurosatory last month.
Bombardier is developing an enhanced vision system with partners Thales Avioincs of France and CMC Electronics for its Global Express business jet, the Canadian airframer announced at an NBAA press conference yesterday. Flight testing of the system is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, with customer availability expected in the first quarter of 2005. Texas Instrument’s flight department is the launch customer.
Flight testing of Gulfstream’s GV-SP is back on pace following a schedule interruption caused by last month’s terrorist attacks. The latest ultra-long-range business jet from Gulfstream Aerospace, the GV-SP made its first flight on August 31, four weeks ahead of schedule and well on the way to an expected certification date late next year.
With the ink still fresh on the paperwork certifying the installation of the $500,000 enhanced vision system (EVS) from Gulfstream and Kollsman, rival avionics manufacturers are accelerating their development programs to bring competing products to market quickly.
The enhanced vision system (EVS)–a tiny infrared camera that marries an image of the world outside the airplane to the head-up display–could easily be listed as one of the most important aviation safety innovations of the last 20 years.
After many years of diligent, and what must often have been discouraging, marketing efforts by their manufacturers, sales of head-up displays (HUD) have now taken off and are climbing rapidly. The main impetus behind this is the recognition by the airlines that HUD confers unique operational and cost benefits that are simply not available in the standard flight deck.
Boeing continues to add utility to its BBJ series corporate jets, and the latest effort is the addition of enhanced vision system (EVS) capability to the BBJ’s head-up display (HUD). To add safety to BBJ operations, however, Boeing is also working on delivering the EVS display on one of the Honeywell LCDs on the instrument panel, so the first officer can see the same EVS picture that the pilot sees on the HUD.