Honeywell unveils SmartView LM
Improved SVS enables lower minimums for instrument approaches.
In addition to the flightpath vector display, the new SVLM system software includes several innovations. These include an altitude monitor, runway data integrity monitor and the big key—what Honeywell calls the delta position monitor.
These monitors integrate systems on the aircraft that are independent of the flight guidance being flown—namely, the IRS.
With inertial systems in the old days, you would patiently align your wizzbang system—and after a few minutes "it" and you would know your location in terms of latitude and longitude within a mile or so—which is good enough to go the Moon! However, the drift in IRS over time reduces the accuracy of your position.
In the past, remedies for this included all sorts of means to update the IRS, like the use of radar, visual updates, and even terrain databases—schemes not typical for commercial aviation.
When GPS came along, it was a natural fit between the 2 systems to connect them in a way that you could get the accuracy of GPS inserted in the IRS. Honeywell went further in 2007 and certified for Airbus the High Step II Laseref VI to use the updated IRS with GPS to provide flight guidance for short periods when GPS satellites were blocked by terrain.
With this technology as a baseline, Honeywell SmartView Lower Minimums has created the coupling of GPS and IRS for exceptional accuracy updates that can now be used for monitoring during short coasting on final approach.
Lower-than-standard Cat I ops
Sandy Wyatt, Honeywell test pilot and prolific designer, checks SmartView's runway system location accuracy during early development flights.
The standard approach for an ILS Cat I typically includes a 200-ft minimums and 2400-ft visibility requirement.
At some point in our recent past, the required visibility for landing on a Cat I approach was lowered to 1800 ft. But FAA, recognizing that Cat II/III ground infrastructure would be expensive, developed what is called lower-than-standard Cat I operations.
The first such effort was the creation of Flight Standards Order 8400.13, which permits operations down to 150 ft and visibility to 1400 ft on select runways. These operations are currently based on HUD technology, but FAA recognizes that aircraft and flightdecks come in all forms.
As part of NextGen, FAA is developing with industry a roadmap for lower-than-standard Cat I ops that will permit the use of advanced technology such as Honeywell's SVLM. Efforts are under way to support the transitioning of emerging systems that provide alternative solutions to traditional aircraft components or ground infrastructure.
In fact, the Honeywell SVLM program is a pioneer in this effort—the first proof of concept in a process with FAA in what is considered an excellent model for advanced flightdeck system development.
Another aspect of the SVLM program is leveraging the performance of the new generation of FPV PFD-type display. FAA-sponsored NASA testing of FPV-based PFDs is finding that pilots tend to stay head-down longer and transition at the center of the runway ready to land with improved accuracy.
OEMs and future flightdecks
Of the several OEMs engaged in moving advanced flight guidance and vision technology, Gulfstream stands out. The company is well known for the first certification of enhanced flight vision, PlaneView, and other leading-edge developments to improve airport accessibility, capacity and safety.
Gulfstream is also a key player in the RTCA Special Committee 213 for EFVS/SVS, and has been vocal about building standards for future flightdecks that remove weather and low visibility as an impediment to reaching your destination.
Gulfstream Chief Test Pilot John O'Meara, whose personal handprints are on many of the facets of PlaneView, has been helping to mold the industry's move of flightdecks to simplified but powerful devices.
O'Meara's view is that, "With greater emphasis on safety of operations, even better tools for the flightdeck must be developed that leverage today's investments in flightdeck [technology].
The hardware we have today was chosen for its ability to grow, and programs like SmartView Lower Minimums are the kinds of expansion and improved capability we had envisioned."
The commitment to pushing both performance and safety by Gulfstream and Honeywell bore out in the recent FAA/NASA-sponsored flight tests. Using a G450 with EFVS and SVS, Honeywell and Gulfstream examined operations for lower-than-standard Cat I weather in actual weather as low as 1000-ft RVR.
A total of 108 approaches were flown with 6 different pilots from industry and FAA, and will be used to establish the benchmark for standards in the near future.