FLIGHTDECK TECHNOLOGY

Rockwell Collins HGS

Smaller components lead to wider applications, enhanced capabilities.


(L-R) Rockwell Collins Dir Marketing HGS John Wilson, Principal Mgr Corp HUD/HGS Programs Tom Geiger, Dir Engineering HGS Commercial Systems Robert Wood and Senior Dir HGS Commercial Systems David Austin at Rockwell Collins Portland HGS facility.

Flight Dynamics' initial HUD application allowed manually-flown low-vis Cat III approaches for Alaska Airlines Boeing 727s. Two years later a system was certified on the Bombardier CRJ100. Next, it was developed for de Havilland Canada Dash 8-100s operated by Seattle WA-based Horizon Airlines.

Early HGS1000 systems allowed Alaska to land 727s at often fogbound SEA (Seattle-Tacoma WA) and PDX (Intl, Portland OR). Dash 8-100s with HGS certified for 300-ft runway visual range (RVR) takeoff allowed Horizon to depart when others could not.

"When SEA was fogged in, and taxiways were clogged, HGS-equipped Horizon Dash 8s were often given permission to taxi down the active runway, do a U-turn and takeoff," recalls Wood. "While new Boeing 777s were waiting for fog to lift Horizon was taking off with HGS!"

Rockwell Collins claims that HUD can eliminate more than 60% of low-vis disruptions on takeoff. In the early days economic advantages of HUD helped sell the technology to airlines but, over time, safety and situational awareness advantages of this technology helped find it an important place aboard corporate aircraft.

Original HGS1000s were bulky with a big, heavy, functional-looking combiner lens that some prospective airline customers argued looked "like it was designed by the Russians in the 1950s." HGS2000 was developed, as a clean sheet design, with a new generation processor and more computer horsepower.

HGS2000 featured the first internally folding lens, designed to preserve head clearance, and it became more conducive to smaller flightdecks. "A folded optical path through the lens allows for shorter projection units," says Wood.

"We now use folding lens technology in all our smaller HUD applications." A new and improved HGS3000 was certified on the Lockheed C130J as first dual HUD installation approved as PFDs.

Rockwell Collins HGS continued to evolve with the highly successful HGS4000 adding much more capability and functionality including primary flight reference, altitude and speed tapes and a smaller, more aesthetically pleasing combiner lens.

HGS4000 was certified for the Boeing 737 "classic" and Next Generation series, including BBJ, as well as for the CRJ700 and Dash 8-Q400, and represented a major upgrade to the product line.

HGS5000 started life in 2002 as an all-digital HUD, with LED illumination and a new graphics processor, for the Falcon 7X and, in 2005, was certified as the industry's first LCD-based digital HUD boasting a 36 degrees field of vision.

Today, EVS-capable HGS5000 has been certified for the Boeing 787, Embraer 170/190 and Falcon 7X. Both HGS4000 and 5000 series systems accommodate growth to incorporate emerging sensor technologies such as SVS and EFVS.

A recent competition for Gulfstream Aerospace business propelled Rockwell Collins into its second-generation digital HGS6000 series. Over a period of 18 months HGS6000 was fine-tuned with a 42 degrees wide and 30 degrees vertical field of vision, compared to a 30 degrees wide and 24 degrees vertical on early systems, with a projector unit 7 inches shorter than the HGS5000.

HGS6000 offers added head-up real estate to optimize EFVS and SVS information projection on the combiner lens. A wider field of view is also beneficial in crosswind landing conditions.

First HGS6000 application, with certification anticipated early 2009, will be the Gulfstream G450/550 followed by certification on the Global Express Global Vision program in 2011. Says Geiger, "Everything is going in the right direction-we're reducing size, weight and power consumption while improving capabilities, field of view and improving reliability.

Testbench for Gulfstream G550 HGS6250. Offering full EVS capability, and ready to handle SVS, HGS6250 offers the widest field of view ever at 42 degrees horizontal by 30 degrees vertical.

We're looking at ways to produce lower-cost, smaller systems as both OEM options and aftermarket equipment, for corporate aircraft in the midsize and smaller categories."

Each HGS system Rockwell Collins builds is customized for particular OEM applications so that it's software compliant and matches symbology on head-down displays.

HGS for the Citation Columbus, the first HUD installed on a Cessna aircraft (expected to debut in 2014), and Falcon 7X, differ only in software and symbology projection perspectives while offering similar capabilities and full EFVS/SVS support.

Gulfstream HUD pushes flight information up higher on the combiner to free space for EFVS projection below. Field of vision on the combiner lens varies somewhat-from 42 degrees horizontal by 30 degrees vertical on the G450/550 to 30 degrees horizontal by 24 degrees vertical within the more confined flightdeck of the G150.

New all-digital displays allow the pilot to see integrated display of flight information, and infrared imagery from Gulfstream's EFVS, in virtually all weather conditions.

SA benefits

"Over time we continue to address ways in which we can provide economic, safety and situational awareness benefits to operators," says Dir Marketing HGS John Wilson.

"Initial capability to reduce landing and takeoff minimums were significant HGS benefits but the market, and particularly the corporate world, perceives a great deal of value in the range of situational awareness benefits our technology provides."

HGS detects unusual attitude situations and initiates a recovery display mode which reverts to the original display seconds after recovery from an unusual attitude situation. Current HGS technology determines potential for tail strike on takeoff and during approach and displays warning messages with limit information.

Support for required navigation performance (RNP) guidance for HGS4000/5000/6000 is under development. Both TCAS and windshear detection capability were integrated with Rockwell Collins HGS years ago and are important safety benefits of this technology.

"We developed windshear algorithms within our HGS1000 product so that operators did not have to add a separate windshear detection system on their aircraft," says Wood.

 

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