With so much new technology emerging in the avionics industry, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. But synthetic vision isn’t one that’s going to fly under the proverbial radar. Particularly for owners and pilots of business aircraft.
That’s because business aircraft mostly operate at small and medium airports. In degraded weather conditions such as fog and snow, they’re often unable to land because the airports aren’t equipped with costly ground installations enabling CAT2 or CAT3 operations.
Enter synthetic vision. With this new technology, pilots can land as if it were a beautiful day, even in bad weather, and even at poorly equipped airports. Whereas enhanced vision system (EVS) systems have been around for years (enhancing natural vision only), Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS) are now witnessing some significant momentum. SVS enables pilots to gain an accurate idea of their surroundings, whether visibility outside the aircraft is good or not, through the ‘synthetization’ of key flight information.
It works by combining a database of topographical maps, the global positioning system (GPS) location of the aircraft and data from satellites. Honeywell’s SmartView SVS, for instance, provides pilots with a natural and easy-to-understand depiction of terrain using 3D images and flight symbology on the primary flight display, ensuring it is right where the pilot needs it.
It also provides useful features such as information about the airport and runway environment,including an extended course centreline and color-coding for absolute altitude terrain. All this means increased situational awareness for pilots, and improved safety for pilots and passengers alike.
In the Business Aviation space, SVS is becoming increasingly popular as the demand continues to grow – and this is something that is being matched through the inclusion of the systems in new avionics and the ability to retrofit.