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.

What FalconEye is and what it does

Dassault Aviation Head of Navigation and Flight Guidance Systems Alain Boucher is among the OEM leaders of the now famous RTCA Special Committee 213. Boucher, along with Olivier Baudson, Arnoud Turpin, pioneering test pilot Philippe Rebourg and others, have created a new flightdeck standard.

Dubbed the FalconEye, this combined EFVS and SVS display on dual HUDs enables both the pilot and copilot to taxi, depart, fly to and land at a destination with a continuous visual display of the environment. The SVS elements enable the crew to always have terrain references and obstacles displayed.

Dassault's provisions for the CVS display utilize the full field of view of the dual HUDs, using SVS as a framework for the EFVS so pilots can see and identify the visual references needed to continue the approach in low visibility. The CVS components are based on Elbit Systems' multispectral EVS and wide field of view HUD, and the CVS software specifications were defined by Dassault's engineering team.

In many cases, when flying using EFVS alone, pilots typically only see the lights or a limited part of the runway in the center of the HUD with an infrared (IR) sensor even though the video output is available for the complete field of view of the HUD. The technical reason is the limitation of an IR EFVS sensor to penetrate dense fog or clouds at long ranges.

FalconEye is designed to improve runway light detection – coming from both incandescent bulbs and LEDs – using the multispectral EVS. It provides a continuous blended view of the terrain by incorporating SVS as well as the real-time visual references provided by the EFVS sensors.

The practicality of integrating EFVS and SVS into a single flight display has been debated for years, mostly because the technology just didn't exist. This is because the blending of different videos in the cockpit, whether for a HUD or a head down display, was limited by the intense requirements of graphic-rendering technology. The next issue was how to add and thoughtfully display standard flight instrument symbology along with the combined imagery.

Operating the FalconEye CVS

FalconEye configuration installed on the Falcon 900LX. This system is equipped with 6 Elbit-made external forward looking infrared and low light detectors fitted into 1 camera.

Operation of the FalconEye CVS begins with the selection of the combined vision mode with the CVS "ON" indication shown on the HUD in conjunction with other flight mode information. The CVS symbol is located on the lower left corner of the HUD to verify that you are operating in CVS mode. The image displayed on the HUD, depending upon altitude and approach configuration, will display SVS terrain above the horizon line and, during the approach, around the EFVS imagery in the middle of the HUD.

During normal cruise flight, the CVS displays the terrain above the HUD horizon line using SVS with fully integrated images from the EFVS sensors that show the airport and terrain below the horizon. During the instrument approach segment, both pilots will see a more complete story with SVS and EFVS features fully blended, but with SVS data surrounding the EFVS image.

Here's what dual FalconEye CVS HUDs buy for low viz flight ops

Dassault FalconEye dual HUD installations provide the operator a flightdeck design that unifies the displays and guidance for both the PIC and copilot. The 2 front seats in the cockpit see exactly the same information. Debates have raged in the management and accounting departments on the value that the extra HUD provides.

They are missing the fact that modern aircraft designed to be piloted by a crew of 2 have 2 of everything, or should have 2 of everything, including the primary flight instrumentation. Dual HUDs provide safety in the operation of the aircraft, and for the future, both pilots will need to operate with the new EFVS and CVS technology to achieve the ultimate goal of zero-zero anywhere. Bottom line: The whole company benefits from an aircraft equipped with dual HUDs.

FAA and EASA have agreed that a copilot monitor is required for landings where the viz is as low as 1000 ft RVR. Dassault realized from the beginning that a dual HUD configuration was the best answer. So, knowing the system safety equation ends with a better rating with dual EFVS CVS HUDs, the manufacturer put that configuration into play with FalconEye. The logic is sound: a single HUD means a single point of failure, making it the weakest link in a tight low visibility approach. For standard EFVS operations to 100 ft visual transition procedures, the crew has to go around like they had lost required visual cues.

So when a single HUD failure occurs during authorized low visibility landings, redundancy enables aircraft equipped with dual HUDs to mitigate such failure – provided everything else is working and all the vital information is available in the 2nd HUD. With dual HUDs both pilots are in the loop with the same information, from energy management and flight guidance to the EFVS and CVS imagery.

FalconEye HUD symbology is also designed to provide all of the needed critical cues without legacy instrument clutter that would mask the vision system. The HUD is designed to be transparent, and the experienced designers of Dassault have avoided the trap of replicating and presenting every object that can be seen on normal cockpit instruments. The result is a clear uncluttered design.

The 1st CVS

On October 11, 2016, Dassault announced that its "revolutionary combined vision system – dubbed FalconEye – has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Agency for use on the Falcon 2000S and LXS twinjet aircraft." The system is described as the 1st HUD to blend SVS and sensor images into a single view to provide an unprecedented level of situational awareness to flightcrews in all conditions of operation, day and night.

As noted by Dassault, the purchase take rate is more than 90% for FalconEye. You must really wonder what the remaining potential buyers are thinking. In a recent announcement, Dassault points to the future of FalconEye stating that, "The system's modular architecture will make it easy to add on future capabilities, like improved EVS landings."

Historically speaking, it should be noted that flightdeck innovation and leadership is not new to Dassault; this leadership is part of their culture. A company that has experience building both fighter aircraft and bizjets has always considered the HUD a central element of a cockpit. For example, the Dassault Mercure, a 150-passenger aircraft from the 1970s, came equipped with HUD, as did the Falcon 2000 in 1993 for Cat III capability. The EASy flightdeck with SVS became another standard for Dassault in the design for their corporate aircrafts.

"It's in our very DNA to innovate in ways that bring added value to our customers," says Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. "With the advent of our CVS, operators will benefit from a superior HUD design that affords vastly improved situational awareness and safety regardless of the time of day or weather conditions."

What's next?

Dassault's FalconEye team formed by Program Director Eric Monsel, Engineers Alain Boucher and Olivier Baudson, and pioneering test pilots Philippe Rebourg and Arnaud Turpin, along with many others, has created a new flightdeck standard. In the early stages of the CVS program, Dassault had to contend with some reluctant regulators who at the time only considered the technical realities of sensors of that day, but who are now looking forward to what is emerging. So it's been through persistence that this Dassault team has been able to navigate the process to achieve the 1st certification of a CVS for commercial aviation.

Their recent win of the Single European Sky "Innovation and Technology Award for Augmented Approaches to Land" in Europe is full recognition of the significance of Dassault's new capability. This is now the benchmark in commercial aviation, but is most likely only the beginning. As one of the RTCA 213 OEM leaders, Dassault's mainstay Falcon team leader Alain Boucher asserted that they are moving ahead in flightdeck technology on a global scale. To borrow an old marketing phrase, when Alain talks, everyone listens. At at recent RTCA 213 meeting it was noted by many that Alain said, "FalconEye is the 1st, and there's more to come." And he said it twice.

Glenn Connor is president of Discover Technology Intl. He is a pilot and a researcher specializing in the development of enhanced vision systems and advanced avionics.


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