Have you ever walked through a forest at night? Even when you know the path and with the proper preparations and helpful tools (e.g., flashlight, rain jacket, map and walking stick), the walking, orienting and navigation tasks can present a great challenge and be filled with obstacles and hazards. There is a chance you might stumble on a loose rock or root and twist an ankle or scrape a knee. Sometimes, you may take a wrong turn or even have the misfortune of encountering a skunk, wild pig or bear! Imagine how even more difficult your nighttime trek becomes in the presence of inclement weather like rain or a blinding snowstorm.
In general, though, a walk in the forest during the daytime is a pretty safe and easy operation. The workload associated with the tasks are much easier -- thanks in large part to your enhanced visibility. Your efficiency, i.e., how quick you are able to make decisions and make it to your destination and your performance, i.e., how many correct or wrong decisions, and your safety, i.e., how many stumbles along the way, are all greatly improved during daylight as compared to nighttime.
Now think about flying. If you are a pilot, and even if you are not, you can assume that flying during the day is typically much easier than flying at night. Likewise, flying during clear weather, is typically much easier than flying in the clouds. Flying an aircraft at times can be like that walk in the forest. There are certain challenges present to the flight operation that exist during degraded visibility that do not represent a challenge when visibility is unlimited. As humans, we rely heavily upon our vision and brain to help us orient ourselves in our three dimensional world.
The human brain and its visual cortex have evolved to help us perceive and instinctively react to object and motion cues. We use vision to help orient ourselves naturally, and predict what is going to happen next. When flying during the day, the pilot looks outside the window and uses visual cues to modify her flight control strategy to provide a good, efficient and safe travel experience. If those natural vision cues are not present, the pilot learns, through a great deal of training, to compensate for lack of visual references, by interpretation of needles and schematic maps.
Pilots are highly trained and highly skilled, and aircraft are equipped with mandated safety systems to overcome obstacles inherent to a flight operation in degraded visibility. Nevertheless, if the pilot can see outside the window and detect cues using natural vision, the flying operation can be much easier and safer. We challenged ourselves to recreate that same look and feel of seeing out the window on a bright sunny day with a flight deck avionic display. Synthetic vision is its name; at Honeywell, we call it SmartView.
SmartView Synthetic Vision
Honeywell has an unparalleled legacy in terrain and obstacle databases with our Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System product. With the advancements of large format displays and computer graphics, we have a unique opportunity and position in the industry to provide a (virtual) day visibility display that will support the pilot’s orientation, just as if she had unlimited visibility out the window no matter the time of day or weather condition. Our SmartView™ synthetic vision display is a natural and easy to use flight safety display – just like looking outside on a nice sunny day. It will improve flight efficiency, performance and safety. It is also an enjoyable and rewarding display to use from a pilot’s perspective.
Business Jet Display Without SmartView
Business Jet Display With SmartView
SmartView provides the pilot with all condition visibility with a natural visual primary flight display. It provides a 3-D view of the surrounding terrain, obstacles, airports and runways. Because of its integration with the aircraft’s other systems including navigation, it can provide an even better view than looking outside the window. Along with a big cyan-colored box outlining the destination runway, it includes an extended runway centerline that makes it very easy for the pilot to identify the correct runway, and line up perfectly for the final approach.
Additional symbol features like range rings make it very easy for the pilot to discern where the aircraft is now and where it is going to be next. In one quick glance, with the SmartView display, the pilot can easily discover if the aircraft is too high on approach or low, left or right, fast or slow. Previously, pilots would have to scan, integrate and interpret this information from multiple instruments and gauges, but SmartView provides all this information in a natural format on the pilots primary flight display and it makes the flying task easier.
SmartView helps the pilot perform the flying task with more efficiency, performance and safety. It is currently available on Honeywell Primus Epic 2.0 business and Primus Apex general aviation aircraft and soon it will become available on select regional aircraft. As a frequent flyer, I am eager for greater penetration of this potentially life-saving technology in aircraft both large and small. I prefer my pilots to fly with a display that helps them see through the weather and darkness, bringing the light of day into the walk in the woods!
Transport Aircraft Display Without SmartView
Transport Aircraft Display With SmartView