Gulfstream Aerospace is demonstrating its second-generation enhanced-vision system (EVS II) on its G150 experimental flight-test aircraft here at the NBAA Convention.
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.
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.
Flight Visions of Sugar Grove, Ill., has started building a mockup of a head-up display overhead projector for evaluations in a Cessna Citation X cockpit. Cessna asked the HUD maker to design the mockup to determine whether the projector fits well enough in the relatively small space available in the Citation X.
MaxVis Inc., a new company established in Portland, Ore., has thrown its hat into the enhanced vision system (EVS) ring, where competition is heating up. EVS units are add-ons to head-up displays (HUD) and use infrared sensors to “see” through cloud and fog to provide an almost photographic quality image on the HUD of the situation ahead, far beyond the pilot’s visual range.