HUD gains favor in Asia Pacific
For low approaches down to minimums, operators in China, Australia and South Korea are sold on head-up displays.
Alaska Airlines Certificate Management Office presentation on HUD impact on operating minima.
China recently approved CAN (Guangzhou), CTU (Chengdu), PEK (Beijing), PVG (Pudong, Shanghai), TAO (Qingdao), TNA (Jinan) and XIY (Xi'an) for similar lower-than-standard ops with HUDs for these standard Cat I airports. An additional 58 airports are scheduled to be approved for special Cat I operation in the next 2 years.
Last June, CAAC, CAAC North China Regional Administration and Capital Airlines successfully completed the verification pilot program of EFVS using a Gulfstream G550 at XIL (Xilinhot) in Inner Mongolia.
CAAC regulations now establish a path for approval of HUDs and EVS. Following the ICAO developments, the CAAC roadmap also expands the window of technologies.
The CAAC plan also makes note of ICAO Annex 6, which provides an international basis for standards and operations. For advanced flightdeck technology, many other countries are moving in the same direction.
Australia, for example, recently published an NPRM for enhanced vision and low-visibility ops, while in Sweden advanced guidelines for HUDs, enhanced vision and other advanced displays are being integrated into their operations.
QANTAS has been using the HGS4000 on its Boeing 737NGs for ILS, GLS and RNP ops for nearly a decade and is looking forward to using them for low-vis ops.
Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is currently implementing SA Cat I and SA Cat II operations as well as standard low-visibility Cat II and Cat III operations.
Former FAA Deputy Dir Flight Standards Policy Oversight (AFS2P) John McGraw evaluates the Elbit/Kollsman HUD certified recently for the bizjet market.
South Korea and Japan are among the other Asia Pacific countries that have implemented HUD operational approvals.
Considering the total number and different types of aircraft, this will mean that OEMs and suppliers will have to integrate the HUD and what CAAC calls "vision technology" into the aircraft now.
For OEMs there is also a challenge to look at the total picture of what is coming. Recently, the RTCA committee that is developing EFVS, CVS and SVS standards defined the system architecture for landing aircraft where no natural vision is required. This configuration includes dual HUDs and PFDs that also display enhanced vision.
Several manufacturers are already developing systems that include new vision sensors as part of the PFD. Advanced PFDs that are FPV-based with vision sensors are going to be part of any future story.
The art of HUD training
With its growing demand for any form of air transport and a need for pilots, China has a definite focus on things that enable pilots to rapidly advance to professional performance. A HUD makes even a novice pilot a proficient airman early on, with their head up and eyes looking where they're going. In fact, for new pilots a HUD helps engage muscle memory and develop stick-and-rudder skills.
HUD training tools are also making significant progress. At NBAA 2012 Rockwell Collins unveiled an iPad familiarization app that includes SVS and teaches the basic principles of the FPV and flight director. To add some competitiveness to the process, it even scores your ability.
And X-Plane, a popular PC flight simulator, is being used as the main platform for an app called FlyRealHUDs that is said to be a full fidelity HUD for a bizjet, commercial airline and even helicopter models. X-Plane simulator software is used by many developers and OEMs, and the simulator technology has a large following.
Several airlines have implemented a fully flyable FTD with a HUD simulation to train their pilots to near line proficiency before ever entering the full flight simulator to begin their flight training. Southwest, JetBlue and Boeing all use advanced FTD simulation to reduce training costs, increase pilot proficiency and advance pilot training. Whatever tool is used, it is clear that learning to fly a HUD is rapidly becoming a necessity for advanced pilots.
As we all know, aviation is both machines and people. The Rockwell HUD group and Dean Schwab have been like a quiet and steady wind, politely pushing airlines and regulators into the light of a HUD and the modern century. Aviation and technology must have a soul and passion to be successful, and these guys have both. Look and see the light—those who don't may get stuck in the overcast.
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.