Honeywell unveils SmartView LM
Improved SVS enables lower minimums for instrument approaches.
Training and SVLM
The flightpath vector PFD of Honeywell's new system is designed for access to thousands of runways and potentially lower operating minima. Testing shows that the SmartView Lower Minimums display (top R) and the actual runway (photo, R) are perfectly aligned.
Instrument flight training is all about scanning. The pilot learns to integrate a collection of information from the flightdeck to develop a mental picture and maintain the proper—and precise—flightpath.
Some people just say, "Keep the shiny side pointed up," but however you tell it, the outcome is sometimes tragic for low-time pilots or tired high-time pilots. The root cause is either training or muscle memory—or both—because what is happening in the operation is not crystal clear.
With SVLM, training is conducted on every approach—VMC or IMC. The new design includes an RAI which shows you where the runway really is—not just an icon painted on the PFD. The location and data for the runway is defined by FAA and other surveys, and this information is used to place the runway. The runway database is then crosschecked with Honeywell's EGPWS to see if it's valid.
The RAI has 2 functions. As you fly the approach with the primary guidance, you can monitor where the guidance is taking you, and as you approach the visual transition you center up the aircraft with both the flight guidance and the runway (using the RAI).
Popping out and looking up, you'll find yourself always centered up and tracking to the touchdown point rather than trying to scan in and out of the cockpit. Operation of the flightpath vector PFD, the flight director and the new RAI takes you to the centerline of the runway every time.
One of the significant side benefits Honeywell sees with SVLM is the effect on quality of training and the transition to practical flight operations. Low-time instrument pilots or those making a transition to a new platform will find it easier to manage the aircraft with this design.
With the runway and supporting monitors providing both visual and limit cues to the pilot, a stabilized approach—with fewer excursions and a more precise path to touchdown—will be consistent from the start. Crew coordination is now aided with an instrument scan that includes the runway—not just flight guidance to "somewhere out there."
Market growth and SVLM
New flightdeck technology can lose its appeal when a buyer hears that a cockpit renovation is need to get a system upgrade. According to Rob Wilson, transition to SVLM is mostly software upgrades depending on the IRS configuration of the aircraft. Wilson expects an 80–85% acceptance rate by current Epic customers based on previous program experience.
Another aspect of SVLM upgrades is that, according to Honeywell, they are affordable for single operators or for fleet size upgrades.
For worldwide coverage, accurate databases of runways have been a challenge in certain countries, eg, China.
According to Wilson, Honeywell is reaching very high levels of cooperation with China on airport databases. The effort is seen as mutually beneficial, especially with more local demand for accuracy to reach the real potential for systems like SmartView.
In other market areas, the company expects that users of large transport aircraft will also see a significant value to moving to SmartView technology for operational value, impact on training costs and safety.
So there you have it—innovation! Honeywell, a company whose legacy begins with Elmer Sperry and the original blind flying cockpit flown by Jimmy Doolittle, has introduced a system where flying blind will be a story we may all tell our kids about some day.
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.