FLIGHTDECK TECHNOLOGY

Dassault and Honeywell team on EASy open architecture

Design permits changes to existing system as developments take place.

By Glenn Connor
Pres, Discover Technology Intl ATP, Cessna 425


Dassault’s unique flightdeck has now added EASy 2 with SVS, WAAS, ADS-B Out, a subset of Honeywell SmartRunway (aural RAAS), XM Graphical Weather, FANS 1A and paperless charts. Shown are Dassault Falcon Pilots Woody Saland (L) and Ken Dromgold in the Falcon 900EX EASy.

Corporate flightdecks have had many kinds of designer—some inclined by inspiration and some more focused on basic function, but few have had both. Equally passionate about both its aircraft and flightdeck, Dassault’s design philosophy is unique in the industry.

Emergence of Dassault’s new flightdeck philosophy began a little over 10 years ago, when the company departed from the traditional cockpit to one developed to cope with automation and information overload.

The Dassault pilots and engineers centered on one point—a dramatic improvement in crew resource management (CRM). Common to the problem of flightdeck and systems designs in the early 1990s was the rapidly growing issue of too many options and only small CRTs.

Instead of flying the airplane and making good pilot decisions, managing the systems was becoming the primary demand of a bizjet flightcrew. The old phrase “Where are we?” became “What’s it doing know?”—and “it” was the FMS and autopilot which possessed many new capabilities—and, many thought, a mind of its own.

Glass cockpits were seen by designers in the early 1980s as a means to expand the visible surface of what a pilot could see in a single glance. The only problem is these same designers tried to tell you the whole story at once on multiple small CRT displays.

Safety concerns about glass cockpits and automation continued to grow in the early 90s about CFIT, systems and navigation. So Dassault decided to wrestle the information and automation monster back to the future.

Traditional cockpit designs stem from historical airplane instrument placement rules which declare the need for a basic T for instrument ar­rangement.

FAA documents tell you where to put attitude, heading, airspeed and altitude following the layout of the letter “T” for arrangement and a better pilot scan. Dassault took this idea further than ever before, implementing the idea of the “T” across the entire cockpit.

A new philosophy

This design philosophy is based on the idea that the pilot should be able to see all the required instruments for flight—including engine instruments and aircraft configuration—in a single glance. Each pilot in an Enhanced Avionics System (EASy)-equipped aircraft has a primary display unit (PDU), which provides all tactical information essential to piloting the aircraft.

It contains traditional flight display information but also includes display of engine parameters, aircraft configuration and red and amber failure messages from the crew alerting system (CAS). Essentially, each pilot has an instantaneous view to the most critical flight information.

The new Dassault flightdeck philosophy and EASy uses the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics system. EASy also has 2 inboard multifunction display units (MDUs) stacked vertically in the center of the instrument panel where they are visible and accessible to both pilots.

The MDUs are configurable to display pilot-selectable strategic information. Typically, the upper MDU is used to control and display navigation functions, while the lower MDU handles FMS, systems pages, checklists, etc.

The purpose of these decisions was to ensure each pilot was working off of the same set of information. The goal of EASy was a new intuitive pilot interface for the next generation of aircraft with measurable improved situational awareness and reduced pilot workload. The most significant change by Dassault designers was to take on basic instrument operation as well.

Pitch, power, trim are the traditional mantras of early flying. With the new flightdeck design, EASy also harmonized all aspects of HUD with head-down displays. Using a single design concept, specifically flying flightpath vector (FPV) on both displays, the pilot does not need to accommodate convention changes of fixed pitch reference and back again to FPV—it’s all the same.

In commercial aircraft, FPV and path-based flight director were first used in HUDs—a precise tool for flying—and the question of where the plane is going is eliminated. So without much fanfare, Dassault pilots changed flightdecks with the use of FPV and path-based flight director rather than the traditional fixed pitch symbol.

EASy 2 SVS features

Synthetic vision (SV) for EASy provides a complete picture of the terrain, obstacles and airport icons viewed with transparent flight instruments. In fact it is really like looking through a HUD on a clear day, scene in the background and flight instruments overlay the world.

The use of FPV and flight director along with runway symbols accurately located is just brilliant. The extended runway centerline and depicted runway centerline laying on the SVS terrain really gives you a great way to move along on the approach with little error, and almost as little an effort.

Alain Boucher of Dassault Navigational and Flight Guidance Systems is coordinating the company’s solutions for EFVS and SVS with Intl RTCA/EUROCAE Committee 213.

Operating SVS with EASy’s FPV allows you to monitor your flight as the path goes to the runway touchdown area depicted on the runway symbol. For a better understanding of these new tools in flightdecks, you need to go back to an icon of flight displays—Gilbert Klopfstein, a flight test engineer in France.

Klopfstein’s work in the early days of HUDs included the use of angle of attack and FPV as the primary means of aircraft control over the standard pitch ladder. In fact this early HUD concept even included a synthetic runway symbol and energy management cue, all to provide an instant picture of what a pilot must do to fly the aircraft.

Most of Klopfstein’s concepts are the basis of today’s HUDs. In EASy, on each pilot’s ADI you get a pitch. path ladder, and the use of the flightpath symbol, path-based flight director, horizon line and an energy management cue called the thrust director.

The boxed selected speed is the reference for the thrust director, and allows you to manage speed to the knot. The results are for the average pilot, a higher degree of ease and accuracy flying the aircraft than ever before. EASy 2 also includes an option for RNP guidance of 0.1 (60 ft guidance tolerance) with GPS WAAS, but RNP 0.3 with no GPS WAAS is standard.

Dassault sees of highest importance the transition of Falcon flightdecks for NextGen and SESAR airspace. The demands of a more compact airspace operation at major cities that are best equipped will mean preferred routing for aircraft that have RNP of 0.1.

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