Enhanced and synthetic vision standards for US and Europe

MITRE Corp hosted RTCA Special Committee 213 at its McLean VA headquarters in mid-July. The committee is made up of FAA, NASA, EU regulators, OEMs and avionics developers.

Trials of SVS on HUD are being conducted by NASA as a potential option in future systems. RTCA 213 is considering use of SVS on HUD to augment EFVS. Business aviation has been at the forefront of enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) development and operations.

Now a joint FAA, industry and EU effort is looking to further the operations and standards for future EFVS and synthetic vision system (SVS) designs for all commercial aviation under the tasking of RTCA Special Committee 213.

A meeting hosted by MITRE in McLean VA from Jul 14–16 was supported by FAA, NASA, EU regulators and OEMs and suppliers from the US and Europe. RTCA is a not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based recommendations used by FAA for developing policy and regulatory decisions in areas such as communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management issues.

FAA recently tasked RTCA with developing new system and equipment standards for vision system technology for all-weather ops. The goal of RTCA Special Committee 213 is to define requirements for landing in zero visibility, landing in visibility as low as 700 RVR to 1/4 mile, and using SVS for operational credit.

Also to be evaluated by RTCA 213 are low-visibility takeoff, landing rollout, and taxi and surface ops in very low visibility. RTCA 213 consists of FAA, NASA, US and EU industry and EASA.

Participants include OEMs Boeing, Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault and Gulfstream, along with EADS, Garmin, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, Thales and Universal Avionics, who are leading the effort to develop the new system requirements.

Also involved in these efforts are EFVS sensor manufacturers CMC, Kollsman and Max-Viz. The committee’s activity has also attracted support from several companies, such as BAE Systems, Elbit and SNC Corp, which appear ready to commercialize new technology.

Trials of SVS on HUD are being conducted by NASA as a potential option in future systems. RTCA 213 is considering use of SVS on HUD to augment EFVS.

NASA Langley Research Center, chairing one element of the committee, is providing results of ongoing work in development of combined vision systems—future combinations of EFVS and SVS. FAA considers that “emerging enhanced and synthetic vision technology continues to result in ever more sophisticated systems.”

NextGen implementation calls for equivalent visual operations (EVO) or a VFR-like tempo in low visibility. The agency sees the growth of vision system technology as a means to improve safety for all aircraft and provide more capability for airport capacity.

The new term “advanced vision system” is also being discussed as part of this effort to describe a system regardless of source or technology, providing continuous visual-like information.

Application of SVS for approach credits for OEMs and avionics suppliers has also been a major focus point of RTCA 213. This is seen as a way to improve flight safety for the Part 23 GA community as well as business aviation.

Aftermarket interest in EFVS and SVS has also begun by major players such as Jetcraft Corp, which has established itself as the first bizjet solution in aftermarket capture of advanced vision technology such as HUDs and EFVS sensors.

RTCA is developing a document in collaboration with European regulators and EUROCAE. FAA has directed that the document not contradict or conflict with existing FAA certification criteria for SVS and EFVS product approvals.

However, FAA expects to build on the committee’s efforts with additional industry guidance, such as by issuing advisory circulars. Initial results of the first RTCA 213 committee were published in Jan 2009 as DO 315—Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS) for En­hanced Vision Systems, Synthetic Vision Systems and Enhanced Flight Vision Systems.

The new effort will result in more than additional detail of currently envisioned system architectures for operational applications, such as approach and landing, surface operations and takeoff.

FAA’s guidance states, “This vision system shall, together with other subsystems used for the same purpose, achieve levels of reliability, availability and integrity appropriate to intended function and phase of flight when considered in the context of these other supporting systems used for the same intended function and phase of flight (eg, ILS, autoland systems and navigation systems).”

New minimum standards for vision systems will identify system architectures for future operational applications and are scheduled for completion in Jul 2010. —Glenn Connor


Embraer, which was founded in 1969, will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Aug 19. The company is also commemorating its 30-year presence in the US. On Jul 22 Embraer Pres & CEO Frederico Curado visited Washington DC to provide a company and market review. He confirmed that Embraer still intends to deliver 110 Phenom 100s this year—including 35–40 aircraft during the current quarter—despite the turbulent global economy. Curado anticipates a generally flat 2010. “We don’t see growth before 2011,” he said. “It’s a serious issue.” Mean­while, the Phenom 300 program remains on track for certification and first customer deliveries later this year. Above (L–R) Embraer Specialist Corp Communications North America Elisa Donel, Dir External Relations and Foreign Trade Policy José Serrador Neto, Embraer Aircraft Holding Pres Gary Spulak, Embraer Pres & CEO Frederico Curado and Dir Corp Com­mun­ications North America Christine Manna. —Phil Rose

Raisbeck donates $4m to Aviation High School

Raisbeck Engineering CEO James Raisbeck (arrow), his wife Sherry and their foundation have pledged $4 million to create what will become the Raisbeck Aviation High School. The donation will allow the existing Aviation High School to relocate to expanded facilities alongside the Museum of Flight at BFI (Boeing Field, Seattle WA). When the facility opens in Jan 2012 it is expected to accommodate a student population of between 400 and 600. As Raisbeck notes, “Our industry is starving for kids who have chosen this type of discipline in life. By con­centrating on areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Aviation High School is accomplishing what others can only dream of.” Says Museum of Flight Pres & CEO Bonnie Dunbar, “Education is central to the vision and mission of the museum. Our mission is well aligned with that of Aviation High School—to help address a state and national crisis in STEM education.”


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