What Does an Expert Test Pilot Think About Honeywell Anthem
What Does an Expert Test Pilot Think About Honeywell Anthem
After more than 35 years as a flight test pilot, airline captain and performance-based navigation pioneer Steve Fulton knows cockpit innovation when he sees it.
“Honeywell Anthem is unique in that it lets you do complex things very easily,” Fulton said. “It’s got a simplified, object-oriented graphic interface that reminds me of a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and an always-on cockpit browser that connects the flight deck securely to the outside world. This lets the pilot bring in videos showing the airport they’re going to or a mountain pass they’re traversing in Alaska—just seeing what that real-time picture looks like is of tremendous value.”
The founder and president of Fulton Aviation recently spent a day at the Honeywell Anthem Lab in Phoenix, where he put Honeywell’s latest flight deck through its paces and shared his thoughts.
Security is Fundamental with Honeywell Anthem
Always-on connectivity means Honeywell Anthem can deliver the right information to the pilot at precisely the right time to aid in decision making. With a powerful electronic flight bag viewed on cockpit displays, pilots can access flight plans, web-cameras, OEM or third-party web applications—and much more. The window is seamlessly integrated and viewable alongside the primary and multi-function flight displays.
“I initially had a question about security,” Fulton said. “But what I saw at Honeywell was a way to effectively partition the cockpit functions from the things you want to access from the internet. It’s really well protected with a security mode around it so you can confidently bring in outside applications without worrying about malicious actors or viruses.
“This is a very exciting development, because everything we have today is connected—the phones in our pockets, our tablets and laptops, the computers on our desks—even our TVs, cars and household appliances,” he added.
“The airplane may be the most disconnected thing on the planet right now. So, the ability to bring in real-time videos of an airport or access third-party applications like ForeFlight creates tremendous value for the pilot. Honeywell Anthem makes all that real and I am looking forward to it.”
Flying Made Easy the Honeywell Anthem Way
Easy access to ForeFlight is a major plus for Honeywell Anthem, Fulton continued. “I’m a big fan of ForeFlight,” he said. “Pilots are always working on the flight plan—at the breakfast table or in a taxi riding to the airport. Being able to pull the flight plan down, verify it and load it onto the airplane remotely is a real benefit and a time saver. You can just import changes into Honeywell Anthem and have them all accepted automatically, which is really very helpful.
“You can do everything before you get to the airplane using your phone or tablet that exactly replicates Honeywell Anthem on your airplane. Having charts presented and then being able to manipulate them—those are all great things,” Fulton added.
Fulton is impressed with the sophisticated technology behind Honeywell Anthem. “Obviously, Honeywell Anthem has a lot to offer for operators of more complex and expensive aircraft, like high-end business jets,” he said.
“But what I saw today—and this was really impressive—is the cockpit’s ability to go to the other end of the spectrum, which will benefit basic visual flight rules (VFR) pilots, including those who are just learning to fly,” Fulton noted. “Honeywell Anthem is very intuitive and easy to fly. Just seeing what the real-time picture looks like through a portal in the cockpit is a tremendous advantage that someone at the most basic end of the spectrum could enjoy.”
Technology on Display with Honeywell Anthem
Honeywell Anthem delivers unprecedented levels of flexibility by letting pilots essentially configure their own cockpit based on mission and phase of flight. “I can do a lot of different things with that flexibility,” Fulton said. “When it comes to displays, I appreciated the 3D presentation I saw in Honeywell Anthem, because it’s conformal to the real world. The correlation is exact and that makes the display that much more useful and intuitive.
“Vertical situation displays have been built into a lot of cockpits,” he added. “But there are some shortcomings that make conventional VSDs really frustrating. For example, with the conventional VSDs, if I’m flying an arrival with lots of track changes on the way down, only the waypoint constraints directly along my present track are included on the display. Downrange constraints that are outside of the present aircraft track are hidden from the pilot, which is a significant missed opportunity. Honeywell Anthem avoids that pitfall, all downrange waypoint constraints are visible on the VSD, even though they may be 90 degrees or 180 degrees from my current track—it’s the first cockpit to get the vertical situation display right.”
Safety is always the top priority for pilots at all experience levels and Fulton recognizes that Honeywell Anthem improves pilot situational awareness. “You’ve got a safety net with the 3D graphical presentation that brings traffic and hazard information into the cockpit in a way that is informative, but not burdensome,” he said. “Checklists are integrated into the workflow in a graphical way to provide you with reminders of what’s next. I can say that’s a big help, whether you’re a single pilot or part of a multi-pilot flight crew.”
Honeywell Anthem has much to offer an experienced pilot like Fulton, but he noted that it also will benefit less-seasoned flyers. “You want low-time pilots to learn some basic flying skills, but Honeywell Anthem is well-suited for use in general aviation,” he said. “A high-level takeaway would be that it's a platform for the future, but it also serves the present with all of its legacy requirements.”