Honeywell unveils SmartView LM
Improved SVS enables lower minimums for instrument approaches.
By Glenn Connor
President, Discover Technology Intl
ATP, Cessna 425
Honeywell Pres Business and General Aviation Rob Wilson with the company's new SmartView Lower Minimums technology—an innovation that will provide a means for improving performance and safety for low-visibility instrument approaches.
Innovation is something Honeywell does. And Rob Wilson, Honeywell's president for business and GA, is unveiling for this year's NBAA convention what he considers the future of flightdeck technology—SmartView Lower Minimums.
This technology will provide a new instrument approach capability, and the concepts of this design and new-found performance will most likely spread quickly from bizav to commercial air transport. Larisa Parks, Honeywell vp for crew interface products marketing and product management, has zeroed in on the headline of SmartView Lower Minimums (SVLM)—it's going to save operators money.
Parks states that with SVLM expanding the number of airports you can fly to with a Cat I aircraft and a Cat I crew, the return on investment (ROI) for any operator is instant.
SmartView Lower Minimums began in 2010, birthed from a unique clan of Honeywell engineers, mad scientists and pilots who are the essence of the company's leading edge advantage.
This team, led by Engineering Fellow Thea Feyereisen, Test Pilot Sandy Wyatt, Engineer Gang He and others, focused on 2 significant issues of instrument operations—low-visibility approach performance and a design that (while counterintuitive to most) simplifies training and use.
SVLM is designed to permit instrument approaches as low as 150 ft DA in visibility as low as 1400 ft on a Cat I ILS or LPV approach. SmartView's key technology—advanced position monitors and inertial coasting with the inertial reference system (IRS)—is designed to provide independent verification of the primary navigation source, such as ILS or LPV.
The heart of the monitoring system includes the Honeywell Laseref IRS, position and altitude monitors and modified PFD with a runway approach indicator (RAI). During the final segment of the instrument approach, the highly accurate IRS operates in a coasting mode, not connected to any other navigation input.
The IRS then provides data that is used to monitor the ILS or LPV approach, and also relates the aircraft's position and flight precisely with the actual runway location. These components work to monitor your progress and let you know if you have somehow wandered off the path.
What Honeywell has done, basically, is to provide on the aircraft the redundancy typically found on the ground at more sophisticated runways equipped with Cat II or III guidance monitors.
The Honeywell SVLM system was specifically designed for this economic case—permitting operations to more airports in low visibility with a Cat I aircraft and Cat I crew. The end result? This new technology essentially increases the aircraft's performance potential, providing it with the operational footprint to more facilities and improving the value of the aircraft and service.
Operations and economics
In SmartView Lower Minimums, the flight director (magenta dot) is driven by ILS or LPV flight guidance. The runway location is designed to show the pilot where the runway is really located with the IRS during the final phase of the approach.
The standard Cat I instrument approach has a typical minimum of 200 ft for ILS and visibility of 2400 down to 1800 ft.
For some LPV (SBAS) approaches there are now about 600 in the US with DAs as low as 200 ft.
Going lower on the approach requires more elaborate infrastructure to monitor the guidance—and then there is crew training and additional aircraft systems, all of which are barriers to most of corporate aviation.
Also, the old model of an ILS-based network of approach systems has been surpassed in numbers (in the US) by WAAS or space-based GPS. Now there are more than 3000 LPVs, compared to only 1600 ILS approaches, and use of GPS-based approach systems is expanding worldwide. In simple terms, accessibility is the value play of Honeywell's SVLM for any corporate flight department.
Training for low-visibility operations like Cat II is another dilemma for FAA and industry. Today, FAA regulations for Cat II require special crew training and recurrent training every 6 months. In many cases, the cost to ROI is not there, mainly because the places bizav goes to are not typically supported with a Cat II capability.
The SVLM design, with the use of a flightpath vector (FPV)-based PFD, new RAI and altitude monitors, brings both training and operation into the same circle—they're really one and the same.
As an FPV-based flight instrument, SVLM operation is the same as a HUD. The pilot flies the aircraft using the FPV, not the traditional fixed pitch reference symbol. The FPV provides an instant indication of the true flightpath of the aircraft, independent of pitch or power.
When used in conjunction with a flight director cue, this improves a pilot's precision of control and can actually reduce flight technical error. Recent FAA flight test and NASA research studies compared the traditional blue-over-brown "fixed pitch" based flight instrument with the PFD-based FPV, and demonstrated a significant increase in pilot performance.
In further research, comparison of the new-style PFDs and HUDs showed that, for the instrument segment of the approach, the resultant flight performance was nearly identical, and most of the industry is moving its PFD designs to this new standard.