Flying the Vision Flight Deck in Bombardier’s Global 6000

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Vision flight deck in Bombardier Global 6000
Vision flight deck in Bombardier Global 6000
July 5, 2012, 2:55 PM

The last Bombardier Global Express XRS was delivered in the first quarter, and so was the first of the Canadian manufacturer’s latest-generation long-range large-cabin jets, the Global 6000. The 6000 replaces the XRS, and the 5000 is a shorter version of the original Global Express with many improvements that were also incorporated on the Global 6000.

The Globals are now established in an easy-to-understand series, ranging from the Global 5000 and 6000 (currently in production) to the Global 7000 and 8000, which are in development. The new Global nomenclatures signal the differences between the models in terms of range: Global 5000 (5,200 nm), 6000 (6,000 nm), 7000 (7,300 nm), 8000 (7,900 nm). As of May 31, there were three Vision-equipped Global 5000s and three 6000s in operation, and the in-service Global fleet consisted of 428 jets. The Global 7000 and 8000 enter service in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

All the new Globals share a common cockpit, the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion-based Vision flight deck (not to be confused with the Garmin G5000-based Vision flight deck in the Learjet 70/75 and 85). The Pro Line Fusion/Vision system is the first avionics suite with synthetic vision on a head-up display (HUD).

AIN had an opportunity to fly the Global 6000 in May and try out the new Vision flight deck. The older Globals (and some early 5000 Classics) are equipped with Honeywell Primus 2000 avionics, which served the airplane well with an older-style layout of six eight- by seven-inch CRT displays. Now with the thoroughly modern Vision flight deck, the new Globals take full advantage of the latest technologies, brought to life on four large 15.1-inch LCD panels that make the cockpit look clean and uncluttered and deliver an amazing amount of information.

The Global 6000 price is $58.5 million, up $1 million from the Global XRS. With eight passengers and four crew, the Global 6000 achieves its 6,000-nm NBAA IFR range at Mach 0.85 and then can land in 2,236 feet, with a Vref of 110 knots.

One major difference between the Global 5000/6000 and 7000/8000 is a move away from the conventional yoke and controls. The 7000/8000 will have fly-by-wire flight controls actuated by a sidestick, so the big cockpit will look even roomier on those jets.

Interior Features

This Global 6000 is equipped with a shower, rated for one person (a limitation due to the availability of emergency oxygen; the shower in the Airbus A380 is rated for two people). Enough water is available for 40 minutes’ worth of shower time at .9 gallons per minute. Adding the shower requires installation of another water tank, holding 17.5 gallons; the standard tank holds 28 gallons. Access to the rear baggage area is through the shower, which takes up part of the lavatory space in the rear of the cabin but still leaves plenty of room for the toilet and sink and two windows.

Up front there is a separate lavatory for the crew and an enclosable crew rest area just aft of the cabin entry door. The forward galley is aft of the enclosed forward lavatory, which is just behind the cockpit opposite the main door. The Globals have always been about large cabins, and the 6000’s is 6.25 feet high, 6.92 feet wide at floor level and 8.17 feet wide in the center. From the start of the forward crew area to the end of the pressurized compartment, the cabin measures 48.35 feet long.

The Globals can fly at a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet, pressurized for a 4,500-foot cabin at 45,000 feet and nearly 5,700 feet at FL510. Noise levels in the Global 6000 cabin range from lower than 50 dB SIL in the aft cabin to about 51.6 in the forward cabin. The Global 6000 also features a new “fully” high-definition cabin management system as standard, with two Blu-ray players, iPad docking stations that can stream video to any monitor in the cabin and all-HD monitors.

New Cockpit

Not all the changes in the cockpit are as apparent as the new avionics. The cockpit was redesigned with smooth lines all over and extra storage space, although that will no longer be needed for bulky paper charts. Bombardier designed the cursor-control device (CCD), which uses a trackball for cursor movement, and added leather to the yoke and brushed-aluminum trim on the flap, slat and parking-brake levers. Designers tried the brushed aluminum on the CCD, but switched to a rubbery material to help pilots maintain a grip on the device.

According to Bombardier, the new cockpit is all about vision, and this is embodied in the Rockwell Collins Head-Up Guidance HUD, which delivers the first certified display of synthetic vision on the HUD. This capability is made possible by the HUD’s use of LCD projection, which allows replication of the detailed graphics needed for synthetic vision system (SVS) rendering. The SVS on the HUD is monochrome, using the same green as the normal HUD images, while on the PFD SVS is rendered in full color.

More avionics manufacturers are putting HUD symbology on the PFD, and the Vision cockpit faithfully replicates the HUD flight path vector (FPV) and other elements on the PFD. This is helpful because the FPV shows exactly where the aircraft is going–say, into those towering cumulus clouds visible through the HUD or, using the SVS on the PFD, into that red mountaintop up ahead. Both the PFD and HUD use the same input from the inertial reference system, and they are thus well matched. The harmonious replication of HUD symbology on the PFD is also an aid to the pilot because there is much more of a natural transition when moving between the HUD view and looking down at the PFD. The standard Vision cockpit comes with one HUD on the left side, but dual HUDs are an option.

Interestingly, there’s one element of the HUD that isn’t replicated on the PFD: when the airplane nears a destination airport, that airport is identified on the SVS view in the HUD by a white dome, which grows increasingly translucent the closer the airplane gets to the airport. This makes spotting the airport quick and easy. The dome symbol, however, isn’t used on the PFD because it was felt this might cause too much clutter. I find that the dome is a great tool, although it could usefully become less translucent closer to the airport.

The other key part of the Vision cockpit for the Globals is the enhanced vision system (EVS), fed by a new Esterline CMC CMA-2700 SureSight EVS infrared camera with five times better resolution than the previous system and a new algorithm that improves the image contrast. Alas, I could not see the EVS in action because it was awaiting final certification. Once it is certified, pilots will be able to view the EVS image both on the instrument panel displays and on the HUD. The image isn’t fused or combined with SVS (that will probably come in the future), but the pilot will be able to switch among the normal HUD, SVS and EVS view through the HUD using a button on the yoke.

Bombardier is waiting for software upgrades that will remove a flight-manual restriction against using EVS. The EVS system will also be usable for operators to obtain credit to fly 100 feet below decision height during instrument approaches, per FAR 91.175. “The EVS is functional,” said Yann Lemasson, Bombardier chief pilot, flight operations; “it’s just the approval that has not been granted yet to use it.”

Weather and Radar

The Rockwell Collins Multi-Scan weather radar fills in what pilots normally can’t see–a view of the rain embedded inside clouds. But Multi-Scan also uses the terrain database combined with multiple views of different slices of the sky to eliminate ground clutter automatically. And if the airplane is turning to get around a cell, Multi-Scan remembers the forward view and keeps that cell displayed in the correct relative position to the side, even if the radar antenna can’t see the cell anymore. This Global 6000 also includes XM weather capability.

Full Fans 1/A and CPDLC capability is built into the Vision cockpit and FMS, but operators will have to get a letter of authorization to use that feature.

The new Globals come with an Apple iPad for each pilot. The Vision cockpit includes two L-3 electronic flight bags, which Lemasson said they mostly use for cabin control functions, as a backup to the galley control panel and individual seat controls. Charts can be displayed on the Vision displays as well as on the iPads. Lemasson said that his crew doesn’t install charts onto the EFBs, although that could be done. Charts on the Vision display are approved to show own-ship position both during approaches and on airport surface charts. The iPads include Bombardier’s new document management app, which stores and maintains all the manuals needed for that specific airplane. Pilots can pull up manuals on the Vision displays as well, another reason not to have to carry paper on board.

A new feature, not yet implemented, will allow pilots to build a flight plan away from the airplane then plug it into the FMS using a USB flash drive.

Training

Lemasson said that it took him and his colleagues four sessions in the simulator to get used to the Vision cockpit. The official training to upgrade to the Global Vision cockpit takes four days, including two days of ground school and four simulator sessions, but the system is intuitive enough that it shouldn’t take most pilots much time to become comfortable. Conventions such as cursor clicking on a waypoint to bring up a menu of options are becoming common in modern business jet cockpits anyway, so that won’t be new for many pilots.

Pilots making the transition from the Primus 2000-equipped Global to the Vision cockpit can replicate some of the old look and feel by splitting the screens on the Vision displays into a Primus-like layout. Lemasson’s preferred setup is to use the screens in front of the pilots as full landscape PFDs, with navigation on the center display and system synoptics on the lower center display.

Each display can be split, so the copilot’s PFD, for example, could show the ADI on the right (with or without SVS) and an approach chart on the left, but all on the same display. Pilots can change these views at any time, but Lemasson prefers to use the system’s memory keys, which allow up to eight different layout choices to be stored and quickly recalled. He keeps a list of the memory keys’ content in the airplane’s standard operating procedures.

The Global 6000 has autothrottles and automatic fuel balance and transfer to optimize cg for best cruise efficiency. This is done by a preprogrammed fuel-burn sequence, which starts consuming fuel from the main wing tanks, then from the center tank, then back to the main tanks, the aft fuselage tank then finishing with the mains. The sequence optimizes the load at the 33-percent cg line.

“One thing that’s really cool on this aircraft is in the information management,” Lemasson said. “This is what really struck me. What they are giving me is a lot of possibilities yet they don’t clutter my displays. If you have too much information in front of you, you get distracted. You can add or remove what you want. In some cases it’s auto-declutter–it knows if you have too much stuff. If you have too many airports selected, if you zoom in, it declutters. At school they teach you one way [to do things]. We sat in the airplane and discovered two or three ways. Rockwell Collins did a fantastic job.”

SVS Credit

Lemasson also appreciates the SVS on the HUD, and is looking forward to eventual approval of lower minimums using SVS. “On an approach in Puerto Rico,” he said, “we were in cloud and I could see everything. And I had to move my head sideways [away from] the HUD to see I’m still IMC. You see the mountains, the rivers, the towers, the buildings, you see the runway; it’s all there. So if you have 200 feet ILS Category I minimums or a Waas LPV approach and you cannot land the aircraft, it’s because it’s really, really bad.

“You almost have to think, no, the runway’s beyond that fog layer or that cloud, but I see it, and I’m ready to call minimums, or I call the runway, and no I don’t. We tested it in the sim, to minimums–200 and a half–and the visual representation in the HUD, the situational awareness is such that you can’t legally go down but it’s all there. The credit is what would make it official.”

The next step for the Vision cockpit is gaining approval for lower minimums credit using SVS. Last year, the RTCA released DO-315B performance standards for using SVS for lower minimums on an ILS to 150 feet. “We flight tested a HUD SVS prototype system on our Challenger with the regulatory authorities earlier this year,” said a Rockwell Collins spokesman. “As is the case for any new navigational system, the FAA requires a formal proof-of-concept study. We are engaging the FAA in a [POC study] to examine the new technologies and operational concepts. Following the study, as well as certifying the actual hardware/software, the FAA will stipulate the operational requirements for going to lower minimums. For example, special conditions for the operation (for example, special authorization CAT I), crew training and qualifications and so on.”

Flying the Vision

I flew the Global 6000 from the left seat, with Bombardier demo pilot Bruce Duggan in the right seat and Lemasson in the jump seat. There isn’t much new with the automatic starting of the Fadec-controlled, 14,750-pound thrust Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR710A2-20 engines.

Duggan did our weight-and-balance calculations on the Vision display, which shows a chart that makes it easy to adjust the load to keep the cg within the envelope. The results can be printed on a cockpit printer behind the captain’s seat.

When using the CCD, there is only one place on the display that the cursor can’t go, and that is in the window that shows Eicas (engine indication and crew alert system) messages. Each pilot has his own cursor; the captain’s is cross-shaped and the copilot’s X-shaped. If one pilot needs to move the cursor to a window occupied by the other pilot’s cursor, he can bump out the other pilot’s cursor. The graphical interface using the cursor is just one way to make changes; there are FMS buttons as well as quick-access keys programmed for common operations. But for pilots who have grown up using computers, positioning the cursor over a waypoint, then clicking and bringing up the menu of options for that waypoint will be a familiar move.

We took off from Runway 33 at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Conn., where the Bombardier demo team is based. Our fuel load was about 15,000 pounds and takeoff weight about 68,000 pounds, well below the 99,500-pound mtow.

Steering the big Global on the ground is easy with the tiller, although nosewheel steering is quite sensitive, as are the brakes. The mainwheels are 42 feet behind the cockpit, and Duggan recommended waiting to turn until the yellow centerline on the taxiway was adjacent to our shoulders.

The Global 6000’s autothrottles take over and advance the thrust once the levers are pushed through about two-thirds travel. Duggan called V1 then Vr and it took just gentle back pressure to lift the nose off the ground. I wanted to practice flying with the HUD, so I followed the guidance cue, what Duggan called the “donut,” and kept it inside the FPV during the departure as we climbed to 28,000 feet.

We flew almost one hour, from Bradley to near Plattsburgh, N.Y., then back to Bradley for the ILS 6 approach. As we climbed and returned, we tried the graphical interface on the Vision displays, viewed XM weather and traffic and compared the monochrome SVS on the HUD to the colorful SVS on the PFD.

I hand flew the ILS approach to see how the HUD worked in the Vision cockpit. As expected, the dome over Bradley Airport came into view on the HUD SVS as we descended; this is a great aid to situational awareness. We had the ILS 6 approach plate displayed on the right side of the center MFD; the left side showed engine gauges and system synoptics. And as a backup for situational awareness, the approach plate showed our own-ship position, our airplane rendered as a little purple jet crawling from the upper right corner of the chart toward the ILS approach.

A high broken cloud layer demonstrated the benefit of having SVS on the HUD; we could “see” the ground through the clouds using the HUD, while viewing the clouds and not having to look down at the PFD and back up through the windshield. This is a neat capability that becomes comfortable and normal in little time.

Flying the ILS using the HUD produced a smooth and accurate approach. I found it so easy to keep the guidance cue donut inside the FPV that I almost didn’t look at the other data on the HUD such as the airspeed and altitude readouts or the glideslope needle. Of course, Duggan was monitoring everything carefully, but the SVS on the HUD showed me the hills near Bradley Airport and exactly where the runway was and the FPV positioned over the touchdown point. As we neared the runway, the runway on the HUD was clearly outlined. Having flown both a Challenger 601 and the Global 6000 with HUD, I can easily see why pilots used to flying with HUD are called “HUD cripples” because they use the system so much.

Our reference speed on final approach was 116 knots. Duggan said that even though the HUD gives flare guidance starting at 50 feet, he recommends looking beyond the HUD to pick up outside visual cues. I could have stowed the HUD but preferred to keep it in view during the approach and landing.

As we neared the runway, aural cues sang out our altitude, at 50, 30, 20, then 10 feet. The autothrottles retarded thrust to idle at 50 feet, then at 30 feet, as instructed by Duggan, I pitched up slightly to stop our sink rate, and the Global 6000 plopped smoothly onto the runway. The spoilers deployed automatically, then I lifted the finger switches on the thrust levers, the engines went into reverse idle and when the reverser buckets were fully deployed I was able to pull the thrust levers back to full reverse.

Having flown the Vision cockpit for two months before our flight, Duggan appreciates the improvements over both the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 and Honeywell Primus 2000 systems. “There are so many different ways to configure the cockpit,” he said. “We can set it up to what we’re used to, which helps us manage the information that’s being presented. It’s in its infancy. The growth potential is whatever you can imagine, because it’s software-related. It’s not like you have to change a bunch of boxes.”

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