FLIGHTPATH TO ZERO-ZERO

FalconEye CVS gives both pilots SVS and EFVS displays

Dassault has introduced the 1st operational bizjet flightdeck with dual HUDs to provide clear and uncluttered combined vision system.

Glenn Connor
President
Discover Technology Intl
ATP. Cessna 425


FalconEye blends symbology, synthetic vision and enhanced flight vision sensor images into a single view on the head up display. The Dassault CVS system just certified on a Falcon2000LXS shows the SVS above the horizon line and EFVS below.

Dassault Aviation has designed, tested and certified the 1st combined vision system (CVS) for commercial aviation, a historical event noted by every record keeping group in aviation. It's called FalconEye.

To be 1st in the development of any technology of course requires some edge on the science, but most importantly, it requires the will to press ahead through all of the challenges to succeed. The goal for Dassault's FalconEye Team was to become the 1st to innovate by certifying a CVS with dual head up displays (HUDs) for corporate aviation and to create a real competitive advantage.

The development of Dassault's dual HUDs with CVS has been built on already substantial accomplishments. These include the 1st bizjet with Cat III HUD certification, the EASy II cockpit with a synthetic vision system (SVS) – the 1st with fly-by-wire (FBW) and sidestick controls – and enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) programs for the Falcon 900, 2000, 7X and now the 5x and 8X aircraft. HUDs have been central to Dassault designs and a key ingredient to the use and safety of EFVS and CVS. The move to dual HUDs is just another step on Dassault's flightpath to remake and advance a modern flightdeck.

To reach the CVS goal, Dassault had to pick through the complicated technical issues of sensor technology in order to determine the art of the possible and separate marketing from reality. They also had to conquer the engineering challenge of combining EFVS and SVS into a single display. Elbit Systems was selected as the EFVS and HUD supplier.

Dassault's development effort and certification process were equal to the technical challenge. Fortunately, France has a very supportive civil aviation authority (Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile – DGAC) interested in backing advances in safety and efficiency. Support from EASA for CVS and new EFVS technology has also been key in the development of standards and certification.

The most unique part of this Dassault story is the small group of engineers and pilots who comprised a team of futurists fixated on the possibilities of where aviation could be in the very near future. Their vision: flying with technology based in sensor vision and displays to achieve equivalent visual operations (EVO). This is the ability to achieve the safety and tempo of VFR operations regardless of the weather or visibility.

RTCA Special Committee

One of Dassault's supporting initiatives in the development and certification of the FalconEye was to leverage the company's work in the now internationally known Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Special Committee 213. This group was organized for the development of industry standards for EFVS, SVS and CVS, and typically convenes to vigorously debate new advanced concepts under the public disguise of creating airworthiness standards.

Through trial and error they build, test and share (more often than not) with industry members. This behavior is not the norm in the highly competitive world of aviation, especially for a group composed of leading aircraft and avionics manufacturers and suppliers. Names include Airbus, Bombardier, Dassault, Elbit Systems, Gulfstream, Thales, FedEx, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell and Universal Avionics, as well as leaders from NASA, FAA and EASA.

The success of RTCA 213 in the development of prototypes, flight test of new concepts and certification of new flightdeck technology earned them the coveted Aviation Week Laurette Award in 2013 for Technology Development.

A veritable "Skunk Works" in terms of rapid prototyping and completed programs, RTCA 213 captured the Aviation Week award over a new UAV aircraft and engine development. It is remarkable for a committee to do this, but well deserved if you consider this is the largest, most successful, advanced avionics development group in commercial aviation.

Some of the extraordinary innovations produced by this group include Gulfstream's EVS II and III programs, Bombardier's certification of the 1st SVS on HUD, Garmin's SVS, Honeywell's SmartView and CVS Primary Flight Display, Universal's InSight SVS, and Rockwell's Bizjet Compact HUD and EVS 3600, among others. Along the way, the FedEx team certified 5 wide-body aircraft with HUD EFVS, received the 1st-ever exemption for Part 121 operations in 2014, and the ability to dispatch, approach and land in 1000 ft RVR. This is an outstanding legacy for a committee.

The road to zero-zero

The Falcon 8X cockpit, along with the 5X, is one of several new Dassault flightdecks with dual CVS HUDs offering low visibility solutions to both pilots. These aircraft will have the Honeywell-based EASy III avionics suite, EFVS and SVS integrated into a single CVS image seen by both pilots on the HUDs.

As these developments of enhanced flight vision technologies have progressed, the goal of zero-zero has always been the predominant objective. The operational, economic and safety features of eliminating the problem of seeing through clouds, fog and other visual obscurants to create EVO has been embraced by both industry and aviation agencies alike.

Integrating EFVS and SVS to create the 1st ever CVS was Dassault's next logical move after the certification of the Honeywell EASy II flightdeck and a series of EFVS programs on the Falcon 7X, Falcon 900 and 2000 aircraft.

However, the flightpath to zero-zero requires both technology and agreed upon standards that incorporate the common sense redundancy of a dual HUD cockpit with integrated sensors and SVS. So in 2015, Dassault announced that it was moving ahead with dual HUDs coupled with EFVS and CVS for the new 5X and 8X aircraft. The company has the goal of providing integrated EVO in these aircraft to insure the safety of both flightcrew and passengers over undulating terrain in all instrument conditions. These CVS innovations serve as a platform for future programs so customers will have global, all-weather capability, posing key economic and competitive advantages for Dassault.

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