NASA considers windowless flightdecks
Designers plan external vision systems for supersonic cockpits.
A look at the supersonic airplane concepts proposed by Boeing (L) and Lockheed Martin (R) for NASA's N+3 program, which sought concepts for designs for future commercial airplanes that offer improvements in operational and environmental performance.
But for FAA, POC is performed during an operational demonstration of a certification program, to help define the final operational and certification requirements. The 6 programs that FAA has in the works are:
Looking for lower minima
>150 ft DH/1400 ft RVR
• HDD (head-down PFD)/SVS
• HUD/LPV(flight tech error POC)
• LPV/ILS hybrid
Looking for lower minima SMGCS ops
• EFVS/EVS HDD for low-viz taxi
• Dual aII-HUD ops for 400 ft RVR
FAA's contribution to the new flightdecks is not just a regulating function but true support for advances in NextGen airspace. The foundation of NextGen stresses accessibility, capacity improvement and safety.
FAA's Flight Standards AFS 400 Division has taken a stand in ushering in these new operations both nationally and abroad, forming partnerships with Europe and ICAO.
As a note, EASA developed an enhanced vision rule (EU Subpart E 1.43) several years ago. Dassault and its Falcon 7X were first to take advantage of the rule, and are active in further programs for lower landing credit. Bombardier also has new programs in the works in Europe for Global Vision based flight ops in parallel with FAA and Transport Canada certification efforts.
ICAO is also now developing its latest version of the All Weather Operations Manual and has assembled a world group of expertise in vision system operations.
To whom it may concern
I recently came across some aviation affidavits addressed "to whom it may concern" related to blind landings with autopilot. One document states the first zero-zero blind autoland was completed by First Lt Coman Rothrock Jr in a B17G in the mid-1940s at Pine Castle Army Field in Florida.
The document, signed by Test & Devt Officer Capt Edward Neff, stated that 159 suitability tests had been completed including the first zero-zero ILS autopilot coupled landing. The wires, vacuum tubes and radios with giant knobs were most likely closer to Buck Rogers than—well, Buck Rogers.
And without the XVS program and the folks at NASA Langley, supersonic cockpits would have been just a version of the stuff First Lt Rothrock flew.
Glenn Connor is the president of Discover Technology Intl and is a researcher and pilot specializing in the development of enhanced vision systems and advanced avionics.